Alastair Greene – Dream Train
A baker’s dozen of rocking cuts grace Alastair Greene’s latest studio album that will make your blood flow faster and get you on your feet and dancing! I first came upon Greene with his 2014 release Trouble at Your Door and went back to sample his earlier stuff. The guy plays some wicked guitar and sings with confidence and a solid presence. All originals except for one track here.
This CD leans heavily towards his rock influences. Starting with the title cut we get an explosion of vibrant, rocking sounds. Next is “Big Bad Wolf” has a ZZ Top sort of groove going and it continues the rocking onslaught. “Nome Zayne” offers a driving, mid-tempo beat and a a gutsy set of vocals as he grits out “Know I’m Saying” and grinds out more vibrant guitar on this Billy Gibbons track. Walter Trout joins Green for “Another Lie” and we get some greasy, bluesy licks to get the ball rolling. It’s a slow cut where Greene sings a sort of ballad and the dual guitar licks reach the stratosphere- pretty cool stuff.
Up next is “Song For Rufus,” a pretty acoustic instrumental with lots of charm and finger picking elegance. “I’m The Talker” follows, and things pick up the pace quickly here. Another driving, rocking cut with angst and anger. Greene shreds a bit here as things proceed along in rapid fashion. It reminded me of a 70’s later English invasion rocker in many ways. Harp master Dennis Gruenling appears on “Daredevil” and lets his presence be know early. Greene lays out some big licks to match as he and Gruenling offer up their talents. Big time harp here along with some nice work on the Hammond organ.
“Grateful Swagger” features Debbie Davies joining in on guitar. It’s an instrumental guitar duet and it’s not for the faint of heart. Mixing some classic Chicago blues guitars grooves and a rocking sound, the mayhem that ensues is quite enjoyable. “Rain Stomp” is Greene in an R.L Burnside mode sliding along and making for a fun ride. The hill country update is exciting and titillating. “Demons Down” follows, a slow to mid tempo rocker that’s a little dark. Things brighten up with “Iowa,” a dreamy guitar and drum cut where the band eventually joins in. It might be “Iowa” but I get a nice, big Southern rock vibe here. Tastefully done! The last of the cuts with a guest is “Down to Memphis” where Mike Zito joins the fray. A rousing guitar piece, the boys rock it out together, another rocking good cut. Things conclude with “Lucky 13,” a jump blues rocker with Greene jiving it up and offers a couple of final guitar solos, the last of which closes things out.
Joining Greene along with the guests are Mike Finnigan on organ for 4 tracks) and his band of Jim Rankin on bass and other accompaniments and Austin Beede on drums. They are a tight trio and the guests meld in as if they are regulars with the band.
Ok, there’s not really a lot of traditional blues here but it’s a rocking good time. Greene’s vocals are clear and strident, perhaps too clean at times which makes the sound stray away from blues and more into the rock world. Don’t get me wrong- they are well done, but it’s just not delivered with a greasy and down home style. If you are a fan of Greene’s this will be in your wheelhouse as it will for all who like their blues heavily leaning towards rock. Purists will find some bluesy cuts here, too, but it’s more heavily rock than blues.
Greene is a great performer and musician whose exuberance embraces his music and makes it genuine sounding. If you want a good rocker CD with blues influences, go get this CD!