Lightnin’ Malcolm – Foot Soldier | Album Review

lightninmalcomcdLightnin’ Malcolm – Foot Soldier

Shake Down Records

11 tracks

Hill country blues remain alive and well due to artists like Lightnin’ Malcolm.  He plays guitar, drums and sings all at the same time as he began his career.  He’s a superb one man band.  His first release was in 2005’s Juke Joint Dance Party but what got him noticed was his work in 2006  when he and Cedric Burnside collaborated for Two Man Wrecking Crew.  In 2009 he released Renegade, winning a BMA award for best debut artist.  His album Rough Out There garnered more attention in 2013.  Whether he’s performing solo or with what he calls “a power duo” when he works with Cedric or another drummer, Malcolm delivers a high energy and room filling sound that wins over audiences.  He strives to do that with the first song of every performance; he believes that you have to because, “You ain’t gonna get another try.”

Here we have 11 original cuts featuring the big sound we’ve grown to love from Malcolm.  “Done Wrong” comes out and grabs you by the throat on the opening note and does not let go.  The driving beat and hill country guitar won’t let you go. “Tree” slows things down a bit to give the listener a bit of a rest with it’s tribal beat and steady groove.  “Hero” features some fancy finger picking as Malcolm offers up a sweet instrumental.  He returns to the big sound with “Don’t Bitch,” a rhythmic cut that once again grabs you and won’t let go. Malcolm breaks out the slide for “Waves,” a hefty five and a half minute instrumental that makes sure you keep listening.

“Gates of Hell” opens to some big distorted guitar sounds that might come from the likes of Ozzie Osborne, but Malcom reigns them in and starts the thump of his beat, transforming the distortion into another interesting power instrumental.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  He uses the distortion as a punctuation mark to his delivery.  In “Getting’ Dark” Malcolm gives us a somewhat of a lament as he winds through this dirty down tempo cut.  “Treat That Women Right” cleans things up as the kick drum’s cymbals crash in support of the echo-filled vocals.  “Best Friends Wife” is a cool slow blues about dreaming about sleeping with his best friends wife.  “Good Boy” has Malcolm testifying to his virtue and wanting to do that woman right. He closes to “Big Jack,” a more up tempo instrumental that gets your toes tapping and your feet wanting to move.

As I noted, hill country blues may not be for the faint of heart, but if you get into the driving, throbbing primal beat with big guitar and vocals that range from clean to completely guttural and raw, then you’ll love this one!  I’ve been a fan since I saw him live in 2006 and I think he’s got another winner here!

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