Self-Release – 2015
13 tracks; 48 minutes
Californian A.C. Myles has paid his dues on the Californian scene, including a stint with Elvin Bishop amongst others. On his second studio release he has certainly hit his stride with a stunning collection of mostly original material which ranges across blues, soul, rock and country. As with his debut release, this is yet another from the Kid Andersen production line at Greaseland Studios in San José. Kid plays bass, organ and guitar, alongside the exciting showman that is Derrick ‘DMar’ Martin on drums and Sid Morris on piano; A.C. plays guitar and sings in a very clear, pleasant and versatile voice.
The album opens in terrific style with “Open Road”, a hymn to the life of the travelling musician with A.C.’s raging yet lyrical slide, a song which probably takes something from Albert Collins’ “Travelling South” but still has its own life. Switching effortlessly to soul blues A.C. gives us the lilting ballad “One Of These Days” which tells the sad tale of Bobbie and Johnny, for whom “one of these days (and it’s gonna be soon) your ways will catch up on you”. A.C.’s vocal here is superb and the warm organ and guitar work very effectively – another highlight. The band rocks it up on “Over Before It Started”, the twin guitars of A.C. and Kid locked into some mesmerising duetting leading to a stunning solo from A.C.. The slight touch of country in the guitar refrain gives way to some more overt country influences in “Closin’ ‘em Down Every Night” which recounts the problems of a heavy drinker who spends more time in late night bars than is good for his relationships. A.C. pays tribute to the great Bobby Bland with a cover of “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)” which works brilliantly, from Kid’s bubbling bass lines and DMar’s great drum work to the rhythm guitar that propels the tune so well. A.C.’s vocal is outstanding with even a hint of the famous Bobby Bland growl. The pace drops back for the country-flavoured “Think Of Him And Cry” on which A.C. finds some suitable guitar stylings before the first instrumental, the title track “Rush To Red”. No idea what the title implies but what is clear is that this is a lovely tune with lush guitar work and an arrangement with a touch of jazz rock about it, another highlight tune.
“Move On” is a mix of rockabilly and blues shuffle and “Tomorrow’s Really Yesterday (TRY)” takes another diversion into Led Zeppelin styled acoustic instrumental mixed with some bird noises from the guitars, an interesting and very different track. Equally diverse in style is “Peace”, which is exactly that, a plea for better understanding: “We the people must overcome”, says the chorus. Played to a gentle rhythm with a reggae feel, nice bass and percussion work, A.C. shows that he can make a falsetto vocal if required and follows that with some almost psychedelic guitar stylings. A short instrumental entitled “Madison” takes us to “Every Day And Night”, a catchy shuffle with plenty of Sid’s piano on display. A.C.’s vocal is again spot on for the style and demonstrates a mastery of economical blues playing with touches of BB King and Albert Collins in his short solo. The final track is a very different approach to Bo Diddley’s classic “Can’t Judge A Book (By Looking At The Cover)”, the band taking it down to a slow funk approach with Kid’s heavy fuzz bass and some tough guitar playing from A.C.
This is an excellent album. I did not get the chance to hear the previous one (“Reconsider Me”) but this is an accomplished demonstration of a versatile talent that deserves to be very successful. Recommended!