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| 6 March 2013 | Reply

Label:  Ruf Records
Released: April 2012
Reviewed By Shane Pinnegar

Oli Brown Here I Am CD

For an easy-on-the-eye 22 year old (when this album was released) young buck, Oli Brown has a pretty good handle on the blues, though he’s been playing since his early teens and released his debut album Open Road in 2008 at the age of 17.  Since then he’s explored funky soul roots, and on Here I Am infuses his confident blues with some classic rock influences, whilst always keeping one foot solidly in the blues.

Australian fans might also pick up a few similarities in his picking style and vocal phrasing to that of our own John Butler, though Brown’s songs have more personality and body to them than our resident ex-dreadlock wearing cause-championer.

Title track Here I Am is a confident declaration of intent – ‘Ain’t trying to be no Jimi or Stevie/ I want to be my God damned self’ he insists.  There are definite traces of Hendrix and Vaughan throughout his playing though, and there’s no point in denying it, but there’s more than enough of Brown in there to keep it real and original, or at least as original as the blues has ever been.

At times (The rock n’ soul of All We Had To Give, a shuffling Devil In Me, a wonderful version of Al Kooper’s Blood Sweat & Tears track I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know, and the grooving Remedy) Brown sounds considerably more mature than his years, and with a mantelpiece full of awards already, there’s every indication that as his style crystallises and his voice deepens and warms with age, that he could end up wearing the soulful blues rock crown.

Brown’s lead playing is impressive throughout as he hops through blues, soul, rock and the righteously funky Like A Feather (with guest vocalist Dani Wilde), and he plays off Paul Jones’ raucous harmonica to great effect on album closer Solid Ground.

Here he is – getchu some.



Category: CD Reviews

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