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| 22 May 2018 | Reply

Only Blues Music
April 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Australia’s premiere bluesman is back, and in fine style. In recent years he’s focussed on his incredible acoustic playing, but on Backroads he’s rocking out like the road dog he is.

From opener Kick Around, with its Hendrix-styled squealing soloing, to the N’Orleans jazz blues of Betcha Bottom Dollar, complete with muted trombone courtesy of Lisa Baird, it’s clear we’re in for a rare treat.

Backroads is full of tasteful blues – both electric and acoustic – from scorching slow-burners to hard-edged rockers, and it’s a delight.

Recorded sparsely – just Spiegel and drummer Tim Burnham, along with a few guests (including a couple more Spiegels) – the songs address Spiegel’s life with a confronting honesty and raw emotion.

That emotion is there in his playing – the first time we’ve heard Spiegel play electric guitar in many years, in fact. It’s as loose as it is precise, as individual as it is evocative of the greats.

I mentioned Hendrix before. The Price You Pay is all about the sacrifices of the life, while his playing on Man On Fire brings to mind Clapton before his hand got too slow. Closing track Emerald City Sky is a gorgeous instrumental soundscape, as moving as David Gilmour’s best work, evoking waves gently washing in and out at sunset. It’s a masterwork.

Backroads is Spiegel’s way of – after a storied career to get to the (current) top of his game – looking back at the roads he has travelled and the things he has done. In doing so, he’s reinvigorated his playing and opened up his future to a wealth of possibilities.

Category: CD Reviews

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