Bill Durst – Hard and Heavy | Album review

billdurstcd2Bill Durst – Hard and Heavy


Ten songs – 39:29

If you are a “boomer” this recording will take you back to a time when psychedelic music was everywhere. While there may be some obvious comparisons to other power trios such as ZZ Top, etc. make no mistake Bill Durst has his own sound which is kick ass. From the opening track, “Devil And The Deep” to the last the infectious grooves, rollicking riffs, booming bass, driving drums, and go for the throat guitar work are some of the best blues rock this reviewer has ever experienced. This is serious road music, party music, or just turn up the volume and lose yourself in the sound music. While on a recent 1,000 mile bike ride to Greeley, CO this recording provided this reviewer with the energy needed to make the journey.

If you don’t like blues rock you won’t like this album, however if you are into Rory Gallagher, ZZ Top, Gov’t Mule, etc. you will find much to love here. Durst (with that powerful rhythm section) takes us on a blues rock psychedelic journey that sticks with you and begs for repeated listening. Durst sings with a conviction (and tremendous range) that makes you believe that he is putting himself out there with all he has. On “Heartless Man” Durst declares, “A heartless man gonna reap what he sow.” Then he tells us, “I killed him dead and put him in his grave”, reminiscent of great murder songs such as “Hey Joe”, “Down By The River”, etc. As the song continues you begin to wonder if this is a song of self reflection but whatever the message Durst is trying to convey you believe he killed that “…heartless man…”

While this recording may be considered “heavy” to some listeners tunes such as track 6, “Sally At The Door” reminds us that this guy is a rocker. While the next track, “Gimme That Something” would be at home on such classic recordings such as Deep Purple’s Machine Head. Track 10, “Fly Away Home”, the album’s closer takes us back to a simpler time, to someplace like Haight Ashbury, where peace and love were more than a concept. “Don’t you worry my friend, I will stand by you, be your shelter come what may and it’s always gonna be that way!”

To say I dug this album would be a great understatement as this recording is testament to Bill Durst’s guitar prowess, inspired song writing, and a vocal range that few vocalists can match. While this is Durst’s 4th CD under his moniker, his web site shows that he also played with a band called Thundermug. Hard and Heavy was produced by Darren Morrison with Bill Durst providing guitar and lead vocals, Joe DeAngelis on bass and providing backing vocals, (on the web site DeAngelis is also listed as a co-writer) and Sandesh John Fernandez on drums except for track 3 where Corey Thompson provides percussion. According to Durst’s bio on his web site he has had “…seven national radio chart hits.” (Presumably in Canada) He is also a member of the Jack Richardson Hall Of Fame 2006, Blues/R&B Artist of the Year 2012 London Music Awards (fan-voted), Blues/R&B Artist Of The Year 2013 London Music Awards (fan-voted), and Nominee Maple Blues Awards for Electric Act Of The Year 2014. And of course he has opened for or shared the stage with bands such as John Mayall, Savoy Brown, Bobby Rush, Little Feat, George Thorogood, Edgar Winter Group, Jeff Healey, Johnny Winter, and Rick Derringer to name a few.

For many blues lovers when they find a new artist that “speaks to them” (like this recording does to me) it can be the start of an amazing journey, a journey that usually finds the listener digging up earlier recordings. Such will be the case here as Hard and Heavy has spoken to me and sparked a flame that can only be doused with more grooves and riffs from this master of his craft. If you want to see Durst live anytime soon (and I do) you will have to go north of the USA border into Canada. I feel a serious motorcycle ride comin’ on!

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