Born Healer – Herbs, Roots, Barks, Etc.
Spiral Sun Records SPIRALSCD2
10 songs – 46 minutes
Founded in southwest London in 2015 and led by a vocalist and guitarist who’ve both been British Blues Awards nominees, Born Healer are a groove-heavy blues-rock quartet who a blistering mix of rock, a taste of soul and plenty of sass on their latest CD, a release that’s been six years in the making.
A popular draw on both the club and festival scene since debuting with the album ‘Til the Dawn in 2016, the group’s fronted by longtime musical partners Helen Turner and Iain Black, a duo whose careers together began in Glasgow, Scotland, and includes membership in several ensembles, including Bare Bones Boogie Band, whose eponymous 2012 album was honored by Classic Rock: The Blues magazine as one of the top releases of the year.
They’re joined by co-founder Marek Funkas, a London-based, Polish-born bassist who tours internationally with his own group, Laba, and drummer Steve Weaver, a new addition who splits his time with his own AC/DC tribute band.
Recorded and mixed by Gabor Miko at The Sonic Bunker, most of the six originals and four covers on this one come at you predominantly from the harder-edge side of blues-rock, and songwriting credits are absent from the minimal packaging.
The driving, uptempo “Forgot to Forget” opens the action with Turner looking for love after a breakup but is grateful that she’s back in the arms of her ex again. It’s built atop a catchy six-string hook that yields for a mid-tune solo before carrying the song to its end. “Grievin’” opens softly before Helen announces sweetly that her bags are already packed and “I sure ain’t lookin’ back.” The tension steadily builds and the intensity of the music follows suit.
Turner bemoans her previous suffering and looks forward to another start in the slow-paced rocker, “New Moon Rising” then gives Black gets space to display his talent “One of These Days,” another numbered delivered from the inside of a romance that’s quickly going south, before Helen’s vocal gymnastics dominate “Old Father Time” and the rocker, “Share of Trouble” – about another difficult love affair — which follows.
If you’re looking for something azure on this disc, you’ll find it in the ballad “These Blues,” which – you guessed it – continues the message of heartache before “Wherever You May Be” serves up a little hope. But all of that fades as Turner looks for a route out of the relationship in “Heavy Rumble” prior to “River ‘22” bringing the set to a close.
While the band is top notch, it’s gonna take herbs, roots, barks and and a good magic spell to turn this music into something that approaches true blues. That said, if you’re a rocker, you just might love it.