CD: 13 songs; 51:46 Minutes
Styles: Folk, Blues Rock, Mellow Blues
Question: Does the blues have to feature gravelly vocals, growling guitar, and indecipherable, words in order to be bona-fide?
Some would say yes, but not Zurich, Switzerland’s John Lyons. If his name doesn’t sound Swiss, that’s because he’s originally from South Haven, Michigan, and moved to his current country in 2001. Alongside him as fans beg “Sing Me Another Song” are Matthew Savnik on B3 organ/piano, drummer Simon Britschgi, Gabriel Spahni on bass and background vocals, and co-bassist Simon Winiger. Together they perform twelve original songs and a ‘ghost track’, written by Lyons alone or with Gabriel Spahni.
Even though John’s music might be characterized as folk and soul by genre aficionados, rather than blues, that’s not completely true. From listening to and reading his lyrics in the included booklet (an increasing rarity), it’s clear he’s put a ton of thought into his tunes. Also, he actually SINGS, with distinct variations in vocal tone and pitch, rather than primarily talking his way through each number. The three mentioned below are the most traditional on the album:
Track 05: “Sing Me Another Song” – According to his promotional materials, “Lyons writes about diverse themes drawn from his life experiences, as a musician playing the bar and clubs circuit and living the rock and roll lifestyle.” Hence the title track, a blues-rock description of two archetypal bar patrons: “As she looks in the mirror, puts on her makeup, smokes another cigarette, she says ‘I’ll have the usual.’ He sees her looking; he says ‘Let me pay for that…’” It’s “a game” that goes “on and on” because “the days of wine and roses and romantics are long gone.” Is this routine wearying? Perhaps, but that’s a slice of life for a touring blues artist.
Track 09: “Dear James” – This pure-blues beauty goes down as smoothly as a mai-tai in Hawaii. Lyon’s reflective electric guitar and Matthew Savnik’s pensive piano notes will fall on dancing couples’ ears like raindrops. “I’m not ready for these kind of blues,” John laments, and fans shall recognize the feeling. Sometimes heartbreak comes upon us via one fateful letter and one name.
Track 10: “The Blues Moved In” – As opposed to the previous song, performed in swaying 6/8 time, selection ten has a brisk, rueful tempo. It describes one of those days where one might ask oneself, ‘Ain’t that a kick in the head?’ More specifically, “It’s a rainy Sunday morning. I woke up all alone. Nobody by my side, no, no messages on my phone. Laying there thinking, ‘What the hell should I do?’ It happened all in a dream, but that’s now come true.” Listen closely for the funky bassline and chilling cymbal crashes.
With a suave electric guitar style reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan and vocals that recall 80’s rocker Jeff Healey, John Lyons will make one plead, “Sing Me Another Song”!