Cali Bee Music Inc.
Brad Wilson is a California blues rocker with a California surfer hairdo and big guitar style. While he has an amped up style he can also play with reserve and show a softer side to his musical approach. Based on the promo material and CD liner notes I was expected this to be heavy, no air between he notes gun slinging guitar and it was not. There is ample air between the notes and Wilson does a really good job on his solos and vocals. I was impressed with this CD. Joining him are Brian Beal on bass, Amhrik Sandhu on drums, Kirk Nelson on keys and Tumbleweed Mooney on harp.
Wilson begins with a rock ballad “Is It Any Wonder,” immediately showing his “softer side.” The echoing guitar resonates and he plays ethereally with effect. “Change It Up” does just what the title says and picks the pace up a bit. A mid to higher tempo-ed rocker, Wilson shows off some stinging guitar here as the keys stay with him, filling in around the ax work. “Blue Shadows” is a slow blues that Wilson sings with a soft, crooning style a la Tony Bennett. Beautiful piano and guitar layer on the emotion and mood that Wilson sets. There is a beautiful guitar solo in this one. The harp appears on the next cut and ads a nice, greasy element to this blues cut. Guitar and harp solos play it up well here. The title cut follows, a rocking cut where the guitar gets fully unleashed. “Let’s Go Barefootin’ It”is blues and rock meeting the hand jive. The harp brings in the blues, the beat is a pure hand jive and it’s quite interesting. The tempo is a bit slow, making it a blues jive of sorts.
Wilson gives us his spiritual side with “My Faith Has Been Broken.” A breathy vocal and makes this slower rocker interesting, too, and Wilson obviously likes to accentuate these sort of cuts with his guitar. “Cool Runnin’” is a mid tempo rocker with nice reserved guitar style that adds a lot to the cut; never over the top and just paced and presented well. Brad gives us some acoustic stuff in “Home,” a bit os a musical waterfall of folky blues. He did another nice job, showing range and variety in his presentation and work. He builds things up as he goes along but the restraint he showed is perfect. “Black Coffee at Sunrise” is a fun boogy woogie about Wilson’s “brand new used Cadillac” and how he had fun with it until he drank black coffee at sunrise. “Sugar Sweet” is another sort of breathy rocking blues. He breaks out a bit half way through on the guitar solo but the song stays true to his purpose and thumps to conclusion a slow but driving beat. Wilson ends with “Never Again,” another mid tempo rocker with a blues and country edge. Here we get the monster guitar solo, but it is tasteful and somewhat reserved.
I really expected a shredder sort of CD from what I saw before I played it. Brad Wilson has a tasteful approach to his guitar work, sings well and his band is up to the task. The guitar is big and bold but never so much in your face that it becomes oppressive. Wilson delivers a dozen very good to excellent original songs to enjoy and shows us why TV and the movies have picked up some of his past work to feature n the small and big screens. This is worth a spin if you enjoy blues rock!