01 September 2018 (released)
08 September 2018
The music scene today has changed out of all recognition to what we would have seen twenty or even 10 years ago. Digitisation and streaming of music has created a commoditisation of music and much of the soul of the musician has been shredded along the way.
One of the areas where there is still soul and musicians worthy of the name is the independent Blues sector and this album epitomises the indie Blues musician writing songs that they believe in and creating music without the backing – or cautiousness - of massive PR budgets and management organisations.
Marcus Lazarus has been around the London scene for around 40 years but this is only his second solo album (two in two years) and really shows him to have a wide range of influences and skills.
Right from the off, the title track – originally by Curt Stigers and most familiar as the theme song from Sons Of Anarchy – has a dark and strong feel to it, rockier than the original and with some fine guitar work from Mr Lazarus. Showing his different moods and styles the next up is a riff laden road song ‘Driving All The Way To LA’ and this is followed by an Americana ballad with a lovely sitar-esque opening and refrain.
By this time I was quite getting into the album. Lazarus voice is capable of melody as well as a certain gruff rockiness and his guitar playing is excellent and he has brought some fine musicians in to support him, notably Le Herbert on drums, Alessandro Cristofori on keys, Jez Arden-Wright on guitar and Johnny Heywood and Guido Pietrella on bass.
‘Black Hand Over The Sun’ shows that he can carry a solo performance as well as he lays down a dusky vocal over acoustic guitars – very rootsy and right to the heart of classic Blues.
One of my favourites from the album is ‘Bullshit Blues’. Very much a diatribe against the modern day and the way everybody lies to gain political advantage and with a jazzy and funky feel to it – I can see this being a live monster number.
All through the album there are nods to various Beatles and some of the greats of pop music but Lazarus is deeply rooted in the Blues and the overarching feel of the album is just that – Blues with a great sense of melody and pop.