Robin Trower: Where You Are Going To

Catford guitar king shines in reflective latter-day offering.

Robin Trower: Where You Are Going To album artwork

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Back when he was the six-string hotshot bringing his sizzling tones and textures to Procol Harum, Robin Trower’s lead vocals were compared unfavourably to Gary Brooker’s. As a solo artist, meanwhile, his fretboard fluency and compositional drama has often shone brightest in the songs he’s written for other singers.

This album’s 2015 companion piece, Something’s About To Change, signalled that, after a lifetime listening, learning and playing, he was ready to go it alone.

The 2014 loss to cancer of his wife Andrea must surely be ingrained in these self-written songs. Certainly, the heightened air of mortality that emerged on Seven Moons (Trower’s thrilling 2008 collaboration with the also-recently passed Jack Bruce) is once again apparent. Opener Ain’t No Use To Worry here introduces a wise, wounded mood. It’s a simple but ineluctable blues; a wizened voice warns against brooding, and sets off the soul-flailing Strat scream and ache he’s long since patented. The compacted compositional craft of Jigsaw gives full vent to both lyrical and musical curiosity, in a slow-burning, pared-to-the-bone meditation.

Modern-day immigrant lament When Will The Next Blow Fall underscores how empathy is just as integral to Trower’s art as self-expression. The graceful longing of We Will Be Together ties both qualities together, raw production foregrounding the heady atmosphere created by Trower’s restless but plangent lead lines.

As befits a lifelong James Brown fan, Trower’s determination to advance is dynamically charged. With life lessons, impassioned eloquence and funky profundity as guides, his blues still travel deep.

Robin Trower: From Pale Rider To Blues Brother

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.