Album review – Gwyn Ashton – Sonic Blues Preachers By PERRY GRAYSON
If ever there was an heir to the tone thrones of Rory Gallagher, Billy Gibbons and Stevie Ray Vaughan in the 21st Century, that man is Aussie native Gwyn Ashton. Ashton has more than solidified his place alongside these masterful axemen with his ninth studio album, Sonic Blues Preachers. Gwyn is joined on this slab by drummer John Freeman of Fraternity fame. It’s definitely a treat to have Ashton backed by such a groovy, competent drummer!
Sonic Blues Preachers opens with a fuzzy freak-out, including distorted vocals, kicking into high gear with the straight-ahead rocker “She’s What I Like”. Next comes dirty ditty “Candy Store”, full of double entendre lyrics and slippery/slithery slide-guitar action, bringing to mind the rawness of ‘70s Aerosmith. “Fool in Your Life”, about midnight booty calls, serves up some Deep Purplish swagger. “Soul for Sale” is a more sombre, minor key number with memorable melodies that bring to mind the dark passages of Pink Floyd. “The Old Fool” follows with a traditional Mississippi Delta feel. “Take Yourself Away” throws in some cool vocal harmonies on its big chorus. “If I Don’t Feel It” is full of infectious call/answer blues licks. “She’s Lost Her Power” boasts some bass to back up the six-stringing. “Waiting Game” has an intro that ventures into exotic Indian-tinged territory, before vamping on more swampy Delta blues. Overall a killer bit of raw, bluesy (and often heavy) rock.