Cliff Stevens – Nobody But You
Cliff Stevens career as a musician has spanned over three and a half decades as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and noted Eric Clapton impersonator. This Canadian musician fell in love with Cream at a concert on 1988 (and then Johnny Winter) and began on the road to covering their music. He’s done many Clapton tributes and uncannily looks and sounds like Clapton. He struggled with alcohol abuse and finally seems to have licked the demons that possessed him and has been alcohol free now for over 22 years, He dabbled in jazz and got a degree in music but blues rock seems to be both his passion and forte.
This is his fourth solo CD and it’s an interesting set of original music. Nobody But You features songs all written by Stevens. Joining him are Dominic Romanelli on bass (except for tracks 4 and 5 where Stevens plays bass), Eric Sauve on keys, Harrison on drums and Kim Feeney who joins Cliff on backing vocals on all but the first cut.
“How Long” opens the album, a jumping blues rocker with a driving beat. The piano support is really nice and the driving beat grabs the listener. Stevens guitar rings as he solidly strolls through the cut both vocally and on guitar. “Say What You Mean” follows featuring more slick guitar and some fine organ work. The guitar solo is solid, tasteful and not overdone. Next up is the title cut which takes the tempo down as Cliff sings with emotion about not being able to start a new relationship because, as the title says, there is “Nobody But You.” Another well done solo on guitar and more nice organ make this another solid cut. The tempo remains down as we move into “Little By Little” as Stevens sings about trying to hold on and retain something as he tries to carry on after a breakup. The organ sets a sad tone and Stevens sings with a dark cloud over him. Well done! “Morning Rain” features some acoustic and electric guitar and continues in the theme of downtempo somberness. There’s an ethereal feel to the music and the electric guitar solos adds to that a bit. The beat picks up on “Cry Baby” as Stevens funks things up a bit on this instrumental blues rocker with great organ and guitar work and a driving beat.
“World Of Worry” features mot acoustic and electric guitar; it;s a ballad of sorts built in perhaps a Blind Faith sort of feeling as if Clapton was singing instead of Winwood. It’s a cool cut with great guitar and more down trodden lyrics and vocals. The beat certainly gets amped up with “Come Back” as Stevens pleads for his baby to come back home. The guitar is forthright and he slides about nicely. “Bad Luck” follows as Stevens sings to us about his bad luck when it comes to life and bemoans bad luck following him around. Another slick guitar solo is offered up and more organ support make this another good number. “Keep My Love Alive” follows as Stevens gives us a ballad where he decries the state of the world’s affairs but he knows keeping his love alive will make things better for him. We go with a driving cut entitled “Truth Don’t Lie” with a bouncing beat and honky-tonk piano along with more solid lead guitar.
This is a well crafted album of original songs. Stevens shows us he can write really good songs and deliver them with passion. The CD contains more downtempo than uptempo stuff which is just the nature of what he’s feeling. The songs show his emotions and his ability to express them. The guitar sound and playing is outstanding and the keyboard and backing vocal support adds dimension to the songs. This one is well worth a listen.