Paul Bridgewater is the voice of Slowburner, a little known outfit outside the Midlands that is always welcome on the juke box down here in the hole.
Slowburner's 'Down To The Bone' album from 2009 had a hell of a mix of blues and soul that left the listener wondering in what direction the next album would go. Well ol' Paul has hedged his bets and where Slowburner's new album 'Rockin' The Blues' does exactly that, his first solo album, 'The Other Side Of The Sun', takes another route being a far more contemplative soul affair.
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The first thing about this album is Paul's vocal. It's a feral mix of James Brown, Paul Rodgers and Frankie Miller. Bridgewater has the voice of a heart broken angel; the sort of deep felt anguish that leaves you in no doubt that if he says his heart is breaking, then it damn well is.
'The Other Side Of The Sun' is a collection of songs that are quite mellow. The sort of stuff Free, Humble Pie and Frankie Miller would pepper their albums with and Andy Fraser and Steve Marriott would shit on demand. Some of the guitar work has a Paul Kossoff less-is-more feel to it and the keyboards are straight out of the Faces/Humble Pie book. Occasionally the songs veer towards a country groove that's accented by some understated slide work.
Unlike Slowburner's new album, 'The Other Side Of The Sun' lacks a little punch. Whether this is deliberate or otherwise is arguable but the judicious use of a good horn section would have filled this album out brilliantly. As it is, it is a sparse, almost forlorn album that will not be to every rockers taste. Yet there's enough going on here, not least the vocal that warrants its inclusion here.
'The Other Side Of The Sun' is by no means a miserable album. Quite the contrary in fact. If you've just found yourself wide awake thinking about that first date with the person of your dreams that has put you in a tailspin and you don't know what to do. This is the album to have on whilst you sip on a coffee and work out what it is you've just done to yourself.