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Dopamine Machine and Acoustic Machine

Hadden Sayers

HSB-CD 2018

Review by David Bowling

Two album reviews for the price of one. Dopamine Machine and Acoustic Machine may be separate releases but they are connected musically as two albums can be.

Hadden Sayers is a veteran Texas singer, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and bluesman. He has now returned with his 9th album.

Dopamine Machine is his hardest rocking blues album to date, as it fuses elements from rock and blues into one explosive mix. His guitar work remains impeccable.

It is also a very personal album as it draws from his own thoughts and experiences. Inspired by topics such as love at first sight, cell phone addition, an article in Rolling Stone Magazine, and a Rhythm & Blues Cruise; he paints a personal portrait of his life with his stinging guitar and gritty vocals.

Dopamine Machine is the strongest album of his career; at least for a short time.

So what does an artist do when he has created an excellent album? The answer is, you re-record it as an acoustic album and so Acoustic Machine was born. He is accompanied only by vocalist Ruthie Foster on one song and a friend, Joe Ed Cobbs, who provides percussion on various objects.

Listening to this album after hearing Dopamine Machine, provides a far different experience. It may be the same songs but they now have different textures as they are stripped to basics. Each song takes on a new emotional intensity as it keeps the focus on the lyrics.

Hadden Sayers has released to excellent but very different albums. They are fine examples of how songs can be interpreted differently. They are well-worth a listen.

Ratings: ***1/2 and ****