Thursday, September 01, 2011

Moreland and Arbuckle - Just a Dream (Telarc, 2011)

Guitarist Aaron Moreland and singer and harmonica player Dustin Arbuckle remain true to their blues roots while adding some roots rock energy to the proceedings on their latest recording. Rounded out by bass and drums, the duo has an appealing sound, rough and Earthy, like early Captain Beefheart or The Black Keys. The do a great job covering Tom Waits’ “Heartattack and Vine,” finding a kindred spirit in the warped story-song and it’s bluesy accompaniment. The unusual “Gypsy Violin” breaks the mold for a double spoken work experiment in the Beefheart/Velvet Underground mold, and doesn’t quite fit in, but the band quickly comes back to base with the slow building blues burner “Shadow Never Changes.” The early tracks of the album state their no-frills agenda nicely, with a solid backbeat, crunchy guitar adding to swooping harmonica and strong soulful vocals to work quite effectively on “The Brown Bomber” and “Just a Love.” “White Lightnin’” ends the album in a similar manner, blasting through a song by the legendary Steve Cooper at wicked speed to bring the album to a satisfying conclusion. Moreland and Arbuckle have spent considerable time on the road, and it has really tightened their music considerably. They have locked on to an accessible yet exciting blues/rock sounds that avoids bombast and remains rooted in the deep soil of American music. Fans of electric blues and rough ‘n’ ready roots much should find much to enjoy here. Just a Dream -

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