Tom Killner Hard Road

Yorkshire guitarist’s promisingly diverse debut.

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The attention this Rotherham teenager has received thus far has focused on his formidable fret-frying guitar skills. But his debut album deserves to shine a spotlight on his promise as an all-round performer and songwriter too.

Killner sets out his stall with a southern (Yorkshire) rock reworking of Cage The Elephant’s alt-pop hit Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked, which showcases his talent for stamping his identity on thoughtfully chosen source material. When he later turns Johnny Cash’s Cocaine Blues from a country stomp into a brooding, minor-key lament, it’s truly captivating.

But his talent for writing blues of his own is equally arresting. On Taking Its Toll, the echoes of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man are pronounced but hardly unwelcome, and the title track is a similarly emotive platform for some fine solo excursions. Finally, Midnight Call’s infectious riff helps him rock as hard under his own songwriting steam as anyone else’s.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock