CD: 12 Songs, 56:01 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Hard Rock, Debut Album, All Original Songs
Some perennial conundrums: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” “Is Russia part of Europe or Asia?” “Does Jimi Hendrix qualify as a blues or a rock artist?” Granted, not everyone will puzzle over that last one, but the target audience of this e-zine sure will. Genre fans who say “yes” to the Hendrix dilemma are slated to go gaga over Oklahoma City’s BluezAura and their debut album, Everything but the Blues. Those who don’t – well, won’t. The latter group might say, “Hendrix’s and BluezAura’s tunes are based on the blues, but using traditional eight-and-twelve-bar rhythms in hard rock songs won’t transmogrify them into blues songs.” The former group might say, “Hey! It’s guitar monster/guitar hero blues, and that’s a legitimate category.” In this reviewer’s book, it is, and it’s one she uses quite often. No matter which way you slice it, BluezAura’s brand of music is high-energy and intense, perfectly fit for live outdoor concerts. Volume alert: On twelve original tracks, they bring the house down and blow the roof off.
Lead man Robby Swihart provides laid-back, breezy vocals, letting his flaming shredder do most of the talking. He also plays keyboards, while bassist Kenny Goodwin and drummer Vann Swihart provide background singing.
“Like most musicians do early in their careers,” reveals Kenny Goodwin in their promotional materials, “I worked with a few different cover bands, playing hard rock, blues and progressive-country music…[Later,] after a very long hiatus from the music industry, I decided to slowly ease back in and see if there was anything left in the ‘musical tank’…I began writing until I had several songs that I believed were demo-worthy. Now it was time to pull in some real talent and lay down a few of the tracks. The plan was simple: record a few songs for a demo and see what happens. However, after jamming with Robby and Vann, somehow we decided to record enough tracks for an album, and the next thing you know, here we are…Regardless of the circumstances, we recorded all twelve tracks in the span of two days. Afterwards, Robby overdubbed a few guitar tracks, one keyboard track and then replaced the scratch vocal tracks.”
The title track of BluezAura’s debut release demonstrates exactly what’s right, and/or what’s wrong, with including the likes of “The Wild Man of Borneo” in the ranks of blues legends.
Track 05: “Everything but the Blues” – “Although very embellished, this is based on my own personal experience with divorce.” So Goodwin says about number five, the most traditional-sounding of the band’s twelve selections. It’s raucous, down and dirty, taking no prisoners and mincing no words: “I should have known things aren’t always as they seem. But I never believed you’d be the one to crush our dream. She got it all; she got the kids, the home the car. She got it all; she got my clothes and even my shoes. She got everything, everything but the blues.”
Hendrix fans will love BluezAura, but others may think their debut album offers Everything but the Blues.