Sean Pinchin – Bad Things | Album Review

Sean Pinchin – Bad Things

Self-produced CD

8 songs – 28 minutes

Based out of Toronto, hard-hitting guitarist/vocalist Sean Pinchin earned a 2017 Juno Award nomination — the top blues honor in Canada, for album of the year — for Monkey Brain and follows it up with this long-awaited release.

Pinchin’s stylings on slide and resonator are deeply rooted in the Mississippi Hill Country, not the North Woods, and come across with a pleasingly gritty feel. A tireless performer, he’s played about 250 gigs annually, appearing at most of the major blues festivals North Of The Border.

An interesting songwriter, Sean penned five of the eight cuts here in concert with multi-instrumentalist Rob Szabo, who’s produced all three of Pinchin’s albums and contributes bass, second guitar, keys and percussion on this one. They’re assisted by Mary-Jane Luvite on percussion and a guest appearance by Jamie Grey who provides backing vocals on the title cut.

The common thread on all of the material is a steady driving rhythm that begins with the opening original, “If You’re Gonna Leave Me,” and remains consistent throughout. That tune is a real foot stomper. Featuring stellar slide runs, Pinchin is somewhat celebratory as he urges his lady to carry out her threat to depart.

The title cut, “Bad Things,” opens with a solo resonator run before the rhythm section joins the action and Pinchin recounts his mother telling him always to do the best he can in any situation and that things will work out in the end. “Lie To Me” — not to be confused with Jonny Lang’s tune of the same name – is a thoroughly modern electric blues complaint delivered from the standpoint of someone who always told the truth.

Up next, “Someone Like You” is built atop a rhythmic six-string hook. Pinchin’s vocal gymnastics come to the fore as he describes his attraction to a lady because of the way she moves and grooves. “Devil Got My Woman” finds Sean preferring to be the lord of the underworld rather than to be the lady’s man. An updated version of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is up next. You probably know the song as a Led Zeppelin hit, but Sean stylishly returns it to its country blues roots.

“Hands To Yourself” recounts a conversation with a friend following a relationship that crashed and burned. When Pinchin says he’s “looking for a woman to treat me the best she can,” the friend replies: “I’ve never met any woman truly happy with any man.” The disc concludes with “River,” a tune written by Canadian blues veteran Steve Strongman.

Available through Amazon, CDBaby and other retailers, Bad Things is powerful and entertaining throughout.

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