Album Review and Photos by Leslii Stevens
Getting into this album wasn’t very hard at all. From the first moment I walked into the Wilbur and heard Hamish Anderson open for Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on The Rides tour back in May, I was hooked. His songs seem to just linger way after you have left the album. People that have come walking into my house while I have been playing this album have all stopped to listen, wanting more. With Jeff Buckley, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Jonny Lang vibes, the root of this album are pure blues. You can feel some real old school rock and roll in there too. This is one hell of an amazing debut. It left me wanting more. I can’t wait to hear more of these dreamy vibes and gritty tones.
On October 21th Trouble, Hamish Anderson’s debut full-album will be released ( Kobalt/AWAL). Growing up in Melbourne Australia. He picked up a guitar at the young age of 12. “I think with the blues and rock music it was the honesty of the music and – especially the blues – the relatability of it; everyone experiences the blues.” he says.
Hamish relocated to LA to record his first full length album. Working with award winning Jim Scott (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Wilco, Grace Potter) and recording predominantly live. giving it that “real true raw feeling.” Anderson was backed by some pretty freaking incredible musicians (what a team of super heroes to work with on your debut album, holy crap!) with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos on baritone sax; drummers Frederik Bokkenheuser (Ryan Adams), Aaron Sterling (John Mayer) and Johnny Radelat (Gary Clark Jr.); bassists Chris Bruce (Doyle Bramhall II, Meshell Ndegeocello) and Rob Calder (Angus & Julia Stone); and Chris Joyner (Ryan Bingham, Heart) and Jason Borger aka Jerry Borgé (Jonathan Wilson) on keys. Mastered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys) at Master Garden Mastering. How could you go wrong?
Over the past two years Hamish has been racking up quite an impressive array of accomplishments, including a prestigious 2015 Independent Music Award for Best Song—Blues (for “Burn,” from his sophomore EP); profiles in The Huffington Postand U.K.’s The Blues Magazine’s 2015 “Future of Blues Music” issue; opening slots for B.B. King, Robert Cray, Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Wynona Judd and Blues Traveler and a 12-city run with The Rides (Stephen Stills, Shepherd, and Barry Goldberg).
For a debut album it’s pretty much WOW! Hamish took a very raw approach in the recording studio on this album. You can honestly feel the grit in this album. Old school is what I felt and what I heard, drawing me into this very real emotional album.
“We wanted to do the majority with very few overdubs,” says Hamish about the recording process. “Get a really great band together and have it be about the songs, not about spending so much time on how the bass drum sounds, it was capturing, warts and all, the live thing. Rock and blues music shouldn’t be perfect, and I’m really proud that there’s no auto-tune on it, that nothing was done to a click track.”
Trouble: this single has been climbing its way up the Billboard charts. And I totally understand why! With its slow seductive pull in, just enough old school rock and roll to get a very groovy vibe where you find yourself grooving right along. Before you know it those cool lyrics start finding their way into you and where they will stay. You will be singing this song all day long. With its toe tapping drum beat this piece stays with ya. Trouble always stays with you, right?
Fire: his guitar playing draws you into this fiery story, hearing the flames snap and pop as the smoky ashes surround and cling to you. With a love story that haunts the background. Ghosts live in this heart. Another beat that has your body moving.
18 Days: You can feel the deep blues roots in this song. Hamish’s smoky sweet smooth voice has you hanging on every word combined with the sexy sounds he pulls off his guitar. Hope in a heart falling to pieces. Losing control in both mind and heart. Feeling the sorrow in his voice and melody haunts this sad broken soul.
Holding On: This song has you wanting to hold tight to your heart. His dreamy broken voice has you feeling the pain in this love story. Trying to find still and peace along a broken path. The pain in both the guitar and his voice trying to hold onto something that is not meant to be…
Working Blues: True gritty blues burns through this entire hot-ass song. Some pretty amazing guitar playing shows just how the blues is burned into this kid’s soul. His voice digs right into the earthy feeling of the blues. You can feel yourself lose your mind in the fiery guitar playing.
Never See You Again: I’m digging the guitar licks throughout. This song rumbles through you with the scars of a very broken heart. A painful end to a deep love. This song goes deep into your veins, pulling at your heart strings. I could listen to Hamish’s guitar playing all dang day.
Hold On Me: This catchy fast track gets a hold of ya for sure. It brings the blues to rock and roll, grabbing you and making you want to dance.
Good Man: The blues vibe is very much in this heartbreaker. The guitar crys out in a way that shows just how broken a heart can get. A man in love with the wrong women. A man searching for answers. We are all fools at some point…
My Love: a hauntingly spooky lullaby. You can feel the pain in his voice leading you through the heart break in this story. At times the guitar crys out, but so much of the feeling comes from the voice.
Don’t’ Look Back: I find myself slowly melting into this song. His voice makes you feel like you’re just drifting endlessly down a river of sorrow. Not the river where you thought you’d find yourself, but there you are just the same, floating past all the memories of a life.
U: I love this song. It’s very easy swing that has you floating on every word. This song rocks you to your soul. When a love like this hits you so hard you know it’s gonna hurt deep and for all time when it comes crashing to pieces. The blues and rock wil have you falling in love with this beautiful piece.
My Sweetheart, You: This one makes me feel like I am floating along on a bed of soft grey clouds with a broken heart. A spooky guitar wraps around you, drawing the clouds close. Hamish’s voice is simply perfect dripping in his cool sexy tones has your heart melting and feeling the pain he cries out. You can feel the heart ache pouring out with every stroke of the strings from his guitar. This is a storm of heartbreak, beautifully played out.
This album will be forever with me. It moved me. I felt the pain, I felt the sorrow, I felt the loss, but mostly I felt the stories. Anderson’s songs are an amazing array of some pretty kick ass blues and old school rock and roll with a little bit of contemporary alternative rock tossed in. It’s the blues that hits you were you live in this album. Do yourself a favor and get into Trouble. It’s well worth falling into.