Brad Absher & Swamp Royale
Montrose Records 2015
Review by David Bowling
For the past 20 years Brad Absher has travelled the highways and by-ways of the Southern Delta and American Southwest playing his brand of soulful and gospel infused blues. He recently stopped at Montrose Records Studio in Houston to record his latest album Lucky Dog.
Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, but now calling Houston his home, he produces music that is immersed in the culture of the region. Accompanied by a basic band of bassist Larry Fulcher, keyboardist Barry Seelen, and drummer Mike Patton with saxophonists Anthony Terri, Andy Saad, Kyle Turner and vocalist Nicoya Polar in support, he runs through a program of originals and covers.
His own compositions, “Woman Who Loves Me,” “Wanna Be Your Man,” and “Memphis On The Way” as well as covers of Allen Toussaint’s “Lipstick Traces” and Bill Withers’ “Same Love” all have a soulful side to their presentation due to his vocals, while his trusty Stratocaster keeps the songs connected to the blues. His take on Leon Russell’s “I’d Rather Go Blind” is pure New Orleans gumbo.
Through it all, his expertise on the guitar is apparent. His tone and clarity are among the best on the music scene today.
Lucky Dog is a fine album from a veteran of the southern music scene. It is blues that deserves a listen.