Austin Walkin’ Cane – One Heart Walkin’ | Album Review

austinwalkincanecdAustin Walkin’ Cane – One Heart Walkin’

Lazy Eye Records 2014 

13 tracks; 61 minutes

This is Austin Walkin’ Cane’s fourth album and he is joined on some tracks by the Revolution Brass Band, bringing the sound of New Orleans to the record.  The RBB is Jacob ‘Weezy’ Wynne on trumpet and arrangements, Kris ‘Skinny K’ Morron on trombone, Davey ‘Gravy’ Kasper on saxes and Matt ‘Cutty’ Banner on sousaphone.  Austin plays guitars and sings, Chris Allen acoustic guitar and B/Vs, Don Dixon on bass, Dave Morrison on harp and Freddie Perez-Stable on drums.  The album was produced by Don Dixon and all the material bar one track is credited to Austin and Chris Allen, one track being by Austin and Washbottle Barry.

There is a fair variety of styles on offer here.  “Sweet Tea And Bourbon” is a shuffle with minimal lyrics sung in a deep and gruff voice by Austin; “Midnight Creep” is upbeat Delta style with trashcan drums and slide guitar; the title track is slower and more atmospheric with some nice harp and acoustic guitar; “Waiting For A Little Sunshine” is a country-tinged blues played well on acoustic guitar with minimal bass and drum accompaniment.  The main issue is Austin’s voice which is so deep and gruff as to make the lyrics tough to catch at times.  The review material included a lyric sheet but the actual CD does not have that, so the casual listener may struggle at times to grasp what Austin has to say.

Things look up considerably on the musical front when the RBB join in, as they do to good effect on “Doin’ The Lindy Hop”, a breezy little number with some nifty guitar in the intro and the RBB beefing things up with some nice choral blasts.  On “Who’s Gonna Love You?” a tuba adds to the rhythm section and the rest of the horns work well in conjunction with the percussion.  Sadly those are the only tracks on which the full RBB appears though trumpeter Jacob plays effectively on “Do As Your Momma Says”, adding a real touch of NO to a very 20’s sounding blues – a song you could imagine Bessie Smith singing.

A slow blues with some brooding harp and guitar, “Trouble Woman, Trouble Man” clocks in at just short of ten minutes which is far longer than is required by the repetitive lyrics.  “Wounded Dove” has a catchier rhythm but is also quite repetitive.  Some tracks have a decidedly lo-fi approach, such as “Living, Working, Dying” where the slide plays off some more trashcan drums and a simple bass line, making it one of the more accessible tracks on the album. The closer “Bowlegged Woman” is a short vocal chant with just Freddie’s percussion, credited as a ‘12” Lasko Fan’!

This album is likely to please those who are already fans of Austin’s music but may not win over many new fans.

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