Kris Barras Band – Kris Barras Band

Blues guitar lessons and Bon Jovi vocals from south Devon

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Seasoned teacher, session artist, touring pro, lecturer, all-round knower of the guitar: Kris Barras can definitely play. And sing, as he proves on this self-penned record. With cool, 90s-style Bon Jovi raspiness – and a slick stock of chops to suit all moods – Barras makes a passionate stamp on his own terms.

The only trouble is, you can tell he’s spent more time teaching than writing. Much of the album plays like an instructional CD – a good one, but still, not the exercise in strong songwriting you’d hope for. I Don’t Want The Blues sounds like a rudimentary backing track you’d find on a good YouTube channel, while Rocky Road is textbook scale-traversing, modern blues box-ticking material (‘One thing I know, love is a rocky road,’ he croons, in blooze-by-numbers style).

There are quality ingredients here: just pay more attention to the tunes next time.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.