HARRISON KENNEDY Soulscape
This is a small band of Blues brothers who make a dark and powerful sound in the old manner – so old that it sounds as fresh as tomorrow. Harrison Kennedy (aka Sweettaste) has a deep voice with a wonderfully mellow timbre and he sings with so much soul it hurts. He has the ring of truth in his music – this isn’t about beating his chest or making himself the big man so much as making the listener know the pain and the joy he feels – the very essence of the Blues ladies and gentlemen. Whether he is playing the banjo or mandolin or whether he is blowing the harp he takes your soul with him and his words are like prayers. Opening track, Voodoo, has a definite swamp music feel with a big bassline from Justin Dunlop and simple percussion from Kennedy and Alec Fraser but his harp howls like a banshee and the plodding rhythm has you zombie steppin’ along with the man. Cat And Mouse Thang continues the groove but Back Alley Moan is the track that takes you to a dark place, all dark sounds and portentous chords and THAT voice sucking the light out of the room – “If I ever get a friend I hope she don’t change her mind, get some lovin’ and give her all of mine”. Crap Shooter Blues comes as a relief but still the man is testifying over his spoons and banjo – there is nothing on this album that is throwaway. Lookin’ For Happy is almighty and gospelly with Keith Lindsay’s keyboards underpinning Kennedy’s brilliant vocal. Tight Grip has a real funk to it and a delicious sense of fun along with some easy banjo picking and mouth harp – when was the last time you heard Funk and banjo in the same sentence? There is even a track called Nappy’s Metaphysical Rag for the deep thinkers. There isn’t a weak track here, no filler or ‘easy’ numbers and he is good to listen to from the opening to the closer Tragedy.