Blues Round-up: May 2016

Henry Yates on the latest releases from Matt Woosey, Broken Witt Rebels, Ina Forsman, Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus and Stevie Nimmo

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Matt Woosey: Desiderata

Famously, inspiration can strike anywhere. Every time Matt Woosey took a leak in his parents’ downstairs loo, he scanned their framed copy of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, and now the didactic 1927 poem loosely informs the Malvern songwriter’s own treatise on living, loving and ageing. Woosey has been frustrated by his perception in recent times (‘Don’t you compare me to Seasick Steve,’ he spat on 2014’s Wildest Dreams), and Desiderata seems bent on burning off the duller end of his fanbase.

Turns out his talk of “pushing forward” isn’t just guff: these eight tracks are dazzlingly varied, dancing between the autumnal folk of Always Be The One, the trip-hop-inflected Lighthouse and the piano-led balladeering of Lovin’ Me Ain’t Easy. Mystified is an unaccompanied Spanish guitar étude, while You And Me provides the chorus hook that could take all of this overground. The best album ever conceived in a toilet? Almost certainly. But also one of the most ambitious and electrifying releases of the new year. (910)

Broken Witt Rebels: Georgia Pine

They might be all trucker caps and Brylcreem, but this Birmingham four-piece prove there’s substance to their style with Georgia Pine: a swaggering, spit’n’grit opening gambit that plants their flag fathoms deep. It’s always dangerous to start throwing plaudits around on the basis of a five-track EP, but if they’ve got a few more like Low in their locker, they could be in business. (710)

Ina Forsman: Ina Forsman

Featured in early years by acts like Guy Verlinde and Helge Tallqvist, this debut reveals that Ina Forsman is far more than a mouthpiece. That dynamite voice – half purr, half roar – takes on a mostly self-written tracklisting, and it’s joyous stuff. Bubbly Kisses evokes a Big Easy cathouse at last orders and the horn-bolstered Pretty Messed Up makes rock-bottom sound strangely appealing. (810)

Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus: Wayward Sons

On/off collaborators since 2013’s The Picnic Sessions, the Anglo-American duo rub along very nicely at this low-key 2014 show in Holland, with Siegal providing peerless slide guitar and piss-take, while Mathus wheels out some of his best songs, including In The Garden and Milltown. “You can tell we’re ragged,” admits Mathus – but that’s half the appeal. (810)

Stevie Nimmo: Sky Won’t Fall

The demands of The Nimmo Brothers have meant Stevie Nimmo has turned in just one previous solo album (2010’s The Wynds Of Life). Now, with brother Alan flogging King King, Stevie scratches his itch on a cracking record that touches on country (Walk The Thin Line) and soul (Lovin’ Might Do Us Good), amid the top-drawer blues-rock you’d expect (Chains Of Hope). More soon, please. (810)

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.