Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers | Album Review

Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers

VizzTone Label Group VT-LNB-01

12 songs – 41 minutes

A pair of the hottest talents on the Austin music scene today, Lindsay Beaver and Brad Stivers are dynamic band leaders in their own right, but team for the first time as headliners on this disc, a smoking set that consistently delivers high-quality blues, soul and roots while showing why they’ve become fan favorites wherever they’ve appeared in recent years.

Both in their early 30s, Lindsay and Brad come from diverse backgrounds, but fit together like hand and glove. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, she’s a soulful, classically trained vocalist, percussionist and guitarist with take-no-prisoners, punk-rock energy who moved from hip-hop and rock to the blues at age 19 when she saw Canadian blues icon Garrett Morris in action for the first time.

Influenced by Billie Holiday, Queens of the Stone Age and the Ramones, Lindsay’s a founding member of the acclaimed 24th Street Wailers, who produced five dynamic CDs between 2010 and 2015. She made her recording debut as a soloist with Tough as Love on Alligator in 2018, prompting label owner Bruce Iglauer to describe her as being “like the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard.” She’s also cut a single with Jimmy Vaughan.

Beaver relocated to Austin in 2018, three years after Stivers. A talented guitarist with an equally dynamic singing style that blends elements of soul, rock and blues, Brad was born into a music-loving military family and grew up in Arlington, Wash.

Influenced by B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jonny Lang, he’s been leading bands since 2010, when he entered college as a music major in Colorado. His group, Bad Brad & the Fat Cats were regional favorites who reached the finals in the International Blues Challenge in 2014. Brad’s been a recording artist since 2017, when he released Took You Long Enough on VizzTone and then followed it up with an EP, entitled Six, last year.

Laid down in Texas and Nova Scotia, this disc finds the couple in their regular power-trio format, anchored by Barry Cooke, who doubles on organ and bass. A collection of 11 originals and a solitary cover, the instrumentation also includes one-cut guest appearances by guitarists Kirk Fletcher, Zach Zunis and Mason as well as harp player Joe Murphy.

The set opens with “One Condition,” a loping, straight-ahead blues that feature the duo singing in harmony as Fletcher and Stivers provide tasty, driving, single-note fretwork. Beaver assumes the role Windy City blues belter for “I Know What to Do” – propelled by Murphy’s reeds and stinging chords from Brad – before he takes over for “Hesitate,” a stellar ballad that promises a lover unwavering love and support no matter what lies ahead.

The rootsy rocker, “See You Again,” deals with loneliness during a romantic separation and comes with a slight country feel as Mason joins the action. It flows into the jump blues, “Getting Gone,” which keeps the heat on high, before Lindsay delivers the ballad “Take It Slow,” which is perfect for grinding on the dance floor. Brad’s takes the baton for the unhurried shuffle, “Be Alright,” which preaches that time heals everything, before the duo adopt Hill Country feel for “You’ve Got No Right” aided by Zunis.

Four more pleasers — “It’s Love,” delivered in parallel vocal harmonies; “Somebody Else Will,” a stinging, guitar-driven ballad; “Slim Pickin’,” a light-and-airy instrumental; and the stripped-down “You’re So Fine,” an R&B number first recorded by The Falcons (Eddie Floyd and future Four Tops’ Joe Stubbs among them) in 1959 – bring the action to a close.

If you like modern blues anchored firmly in the past, you’ll love this one. Strongly recommended.


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