Simon Kinny-Lewis Band – Bad Whiskey
Self-Release – 2018
11 tracks; 49 minutes
This Australian band gives us a predominantly rock CD with three covers and eight originals, six by guitarist/vocalist Simon Kinny-Lewis and two by bassist Rob Ewan. The rest of the band is Shannon Stitt on keys and Tony Boyd on drums and Brett Garsed adds slide guitar to two tracks. The band is clearly experienced as this is their sixth album, one a year since 2013, though this is the first that this reviewer has heard.
The album opens with the band’s version of Amos Milburn’s “Bad Bad Whiskey” which rocks along well with something of a ZZ Top feel. We then get two of Simon’s songs: “Prison Of Love” is a heavy rocker with Simon’s tough vocals and lots of brooding guitar which leads into a screaming solo; in contrast “Angel Like You” has a far lighter touch with the keys underpinning a catchy tune with an uplifting chorus and a good guitar solo. The band covers Robben Ford’s “Midnight Comes Too Soon” from his One Day In Nashville album and does a solid job with Simon’s vocals and guitar both excellent before “If You Go” which is a melodic tune with some very good guitar work in a plucked note style, adding a different feel.
Next up are Rob’s two songs and, perhaps not surprisingly, “Caged Up” starts with bubbling bass that is picked up by the rest of the band for a funky outing with Simon playing a solo that contains elements of jazz-rock; “Straight Talker” is a slower tune with plenty of slide and another strong chorus.
Simon’s “Beyond Missouri Skies” is a tribute to his late brother Derek, another slower tune with the keys providing warm backing for Simon’s heartfelt vocals. It is the longest track on the album and runs to over six minutes with a significant part of that taken over by Simon’s searing guitar work. The mood lightens with “New Orleans Woman”, a catchy tune with a little country twang, the guitar definitely bringing “Honky Tonk Women” to mind, before the final original, “Goodbye Baby”, which has rather more blues content with Simon’s anguished vocal and emotional guitar. The album closes with a very different interpretation of JB Lenoir’s “Down In Mississippi” which, to this reviewer’s ears, draws its inspiration from Robben Ford. Brett’s slide and Simon’s soaring guitar are both striking and the melodic reinterpretation of the song works well though I doubt that JB would recognize it!
Overall there is little here to interest diehard blues fans but plenty to interest guitar aficionados as Simon demonstrates a good range in his playing. One for fans of melodic rock to investigate.