Frankly, John Fairhurst shouldn’t be THIS good. When was the last time a great exponent of raw Blues hailed from Wigan? He is sponsored by National Resophonic guitars which gives a clue to his sound; furious acoustic slide, heavy on the vibrato and accompanied by gruff and dark vocals. This is superb music no matter what the genre, but he happens to be playing in a form that is getting huge interest at the moment and this is likely to be a massive seller if there is any justice.
From the furious slide and stomp of ‘Up On The Hill’ you get dragged into expressive and exciting vision with a massively powerful attack – James Breen’s drums carry you along like a rampaging beast – and a real lift in his slide guitar. ‘The Snow Lies Deep’ comes almost as a relief, simple guitar patterns over spoken vocals, but it is dark, Nick Cave dark and chills you to the bone. ‘Light My Way’ has the feel of a North Mississippi number, clever fingers working the guitar and brushes on the snare drum underpinning the sound. You gotta love the skittering lightness of ‘I Don’t Know’ and Fairhurst’s harmonica in the break and then you are into ‘Hungry Blues’ itself; a huge drumbeat announcing the vocals and building like a chant into a dark and desperately wintry number.
Considering the number of gigs he plays every year (over 200 this year so far) I am surprised to be coming across John Fairhurst almost by accident but a happy accident it is and I will be watching out for him in future – this is a superb release.