Tom Killner – Live | Album Review

Tom Killner – Live

Cleopatra Records

CD: 12 Songs, 60:10 Minutes

Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Rock Covers, Blues Covers, Live Album

What are some of the main differences between a live and a studio album? Why do some fans prefer one type over the other? Yours truly has often pondered this question, and come up with a few theories. Consider British blues guitar phenom Tom Killner and his latest Live release, which came out on June 2nd of this year. On the plus side, our shredder sensation is free to jam for as long as he wants on each of his twelve concert tracks. That’s why several of them are over five minutes long. On the minus side, if he doesn’t play covers the crowd knows like the back of their hand (“Whipping Post”, “Foxy Lady”, “Cocaine Blues”, “With a Little Help from my Friends”), he might lose them. So many artists walk this kind of tightrope when they play live, maintaining a delicate balance between new and classic material. This reviewer wishes Killner would have included even one of the former, because his original debut, Hard Road, was a hit. As for this CD? Live takes off like a bullet train and doesn’t let up on its relentless energy. It’s the musical equivalent of a superhero movie: super-flashy, super-loud, and super-familiar. Although Tom is from Great Britain, not a trace of his accent reveals itself when he sings.

Blues historian Dave Thompson has written Killner’s bio, available to read on his webpage:

“‘I was originally drawn to the blues because nothing else really grabbed me,’ Tom says. ‘My friends all listened to metal and pop, but I’ve never been one for following trends in music. The blues I love because of the raw power, and because of what it could make me feel. No other music did that for me.’

“Tom’s south Yorkshire hometown of Rotherham is scarcely renowned as a hotbed of music, either, although the late Joe Cocker hailed from just down the road in Sheffield, and it’s not so far to the Black Country either, where the British blues were smelted in the fiery forge of the island’s industrial heartland.

“‘I try to add as much energy to the live show as I can each night,” explains Tom. ‘No two shows are the same, and no song is played the same.  Every night, I try and mix as many influences in as possible – Blues, Soul, Southern Rock, Funk…and it seems to be keeping everyone happy!’”

Alongside lead guitarist and vocalist Killner are Jack Allen on guitar and backing vocal; Oliver Tallent [that’s not a typo] on bass; Jake Ashton on drums, and Wesley Brook on keyboards.

The following cover stands out not only because it’s pure traditional blues, but also because it’s one of three songs that doesn’t blast one’s ears.

Track 04: “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” – Written by Billy Myles and popularized by Freddie King and Eric Clapton, this would’ve been the perfect anthem for Lancelot and Guinevere had the blues been invented in the Middle Ages. “Well, have you ever loved a girl…so much that it’s a shame and a sin?  Well…don’t you know she belongs to my best friend.” Wesley Brook is absolutely fab on his keyboard introduction.

Check out Tom Killner Live if you love guitar monster blues!

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