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Everyone gets the blues, says Skip McDonald, who should know. The legendary guitarist gets them - like, really gets them - more than most. The blues are a fact of life, he adds in a Dayton, Ohio twang undiminished by two decades of UK living. It doesn't matter where you are. The blues have no boundaries.
An old school bluesman in the tradition of everyone from Howling Wolf and Leadbelly to Blind Willie Johnson, McDonald channels the past into the future through his internationally regarded project, Little Axe. A project that is more than just a band: it's a collective of different people who, at certain periods, come together to create great work.
Founded in the early 1990s, with five acclaimed albums to their credit, Little Axe are redefining the blues for the current generation.
Their melting pot is large, and bubbling. Here are addictive rhythms. Soulful vocals. Pinches of dub and funk, reggae and gospel. Oh-so-subtle samples and innovative electronics. And underpinning it all, McDonald's shimmering blues guitar licks, conjuring a space where the dirt roads of the Deep South meet the shiny lanes of the information superhighway.
A host of musical heavyweights assembled in the Big Room at Real World for this rare and privileged session, with all but the London-based McDonald and his co-producer, British dub maestro Adrian Sherwood, flying in from across the USA. Titans such as soul singer Bernard Fowler, whose voice has graced sets from The Rolling Stones, Sly and Robbie to Ryuichi Sakamoto. McDonald says, Bernard's voice has got everything. It's emotional, changeable and incredibly powerful. We call blues singers like him 'elephants', cause they sure know how to trumpet.
Axe-man Skip scores some of his deepest, genre-defying cuts to date. Some, like Son House's bitter song of alienation, Grinning In Your Face, are dealt out crisp and moody; Hear Me Cry, conversely, is like Dr. John in dub, with a jazzy twist...Avid pigeonholers will throw in the towel come Hammerhead, a chain-gang blues once rebooted by industrial-strength Tackhead, and now taken back to a different dazzling future. --Mojo
American-born Brit-based guitarist Skip McDonald is reunited with such past collaborators as Bernard Fowler and Doug Wimbush as he negotiates a sure and certain path through trippy rock, deep blues and unsettling dub. Totally on the money. --mirror.co.uk
...a compelling reminder that McDonald is a master of the contemporary blues. --The Guardian
|1. Guide My Feet|
|2. Soul of a Man|
|4. Take a Stroll|
|5. Hands Off|
|6. Can't Sleep|
|8. Can't Stop Walking Yet|
|9. Hear Me Cry|
|10. Too Late|
|11. Another Friend Gone|
|12. Tell Me Why|
|14. When the Sun Goes Down|