Terminal Station – Brotherhood
Hard Rain Records
CD: 12 Songs, 52 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
According to the proverb, what is the spice of life? The Vancouver blues band Terminal Station dispenses variety in spades on their raucous third album, Brotherhood. Channeling such artists as the Allman Brothers, Walter Trout, Jimi Hendrix and others, they mix and match various styles of blues in an energizing effort. There’s a lot going on in terms of instrumentation, and it sometimes overpowers the vocals of leading men Scott Smith and Jeremy Holmes. However, this is a minor flaw if you’re in a party mood or driving down the highway. If your favorite recipe for the blues adds a dash of saxophone spice, a heaping helping of organ and piano, and hearty bass guitar to ground the other elements, this CD will be your cup of tea. On twelve original tracks, Terminal Station proves they’ve got what it takes to be internationally renowned.
As another old saying goes, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. Scott Smith grew up an only child in Vancouver, and although he had some good friends in high school, he truly found his brothers and sisters when he started touring the world as a musician back in the 1990s. He first met Terminal Station bassist Jeremy Holmes in 1996, when they played together in the rockabilly band Bughouse Five. They both met drummer Liam McDonald shortly afterward, and the three musicians have been in dozens of bands together ever since. Keyboardist Darryl Havers already goes back ten years with Terminal Station, and guest harpist Victor Polyik had appeared on Terminal Station’s debut album, Burnout Blues, in 2007 before moving to Australia. Victor actually planned a family trip to Canada in 2019, just so he could play harmonica on this album. That’s how strong this Brotherhood truly is. Other special guests include John Sponarski on guitar, Dominic Conway on saxophone, and Christopher Woudstra and Colleen Rennison on vocals.
Starting things off is a speaker-destroying extravaganza with a name you might not expect: “Barrelhouse.” Its main feature isn’t barrelhouse organ but guitar, shamelessly tearing its way through two minutes and thirty-nine seconds of choreographed chaos. Upon first listen, you might dig your fingers into your ears afterwards to stop the ringing. On second listen, you might break those fingers playing air guitar. It’s an adrenaline shot.
Next comes “One More Bottle,” a beautiful homage to the Allman Brothers. The harmony vocals and robust atmosphere bring out the best of Southern rock. The ballad “Poor Lightnin’” hits you like a thunderbolt, and later on, “It’s Not the End of the World” presents a rollicking take on the ride before the apocalypse on “a rocket straight to hell.” The seamlessly-interwoven “Booker D” and “Voodoo Queen” close the CD out with brash appeal, the former perfect for a movie about gamblers.
Terminal Station’s Brotherhood demonstrates the unflinching power of a collaborative effort!