Guitarist, singer and song-writer Grant Pritchard together with long-term cohort, bass-man Simon Reynolds and drummer Matt Pledger have released their first EP CD, Burning With A Blue Flame, recorded live (and all in one session) at The Smash Rooms Studio. Mixed and mastered by Steven Eastment and Kevin Bartlett, and produced by the songwriter, Grant, this debut EP contains five toe-tapping bar-room blues tracks.
The genre, currently undergoing a resurgence in popularity, (the Rainbreakers, Tom Sawyer Band and the Hardchargers from Northern Ireland), electric blues is never far from our hearts and there are some tough acts to follow, consequently, in the modern era, it does need something a little "extra" if it's going to make an impact. Is it hot enough?
The opening track, "Caught Up In You", opens with some full on funky rhythm guitar work backed solidly by bassist, Simon and drummer, Matt. Immediately evident is Grant's no-nonsense approach to playing, not unlike Stevie Ray Vaughan. Whilst lyrically and vocally, Grant is competent, obviously comfortable and confident, it is his guitar playing that stands out and this is a great vehicle for him to demonstrate his skills.
Track two, "Ain't Playing Along", begins with a traditional blues style riff and, as with the opening track, is a backdrop for Grant's guitar work.
In conversation with Grant, "This EP was something that I just had to get out. No frills, no fuss. Hence in the studio, we kept it simple and recorded live with no overdubs nor studio trickery."
The following tracks, "Walkin' Right Back To You" and "Burning With A Blue Flame", as with the previous songs show a distinct similarity to historic greats, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Buchanan et al. Among such bright luminaries, these tracks hold up surprisingly well. Even on early Hendrix tracks instruments were overdubbed so that there was little or no drop in sonic sensation during solos. Grant's decision to record without overdubbing has left some space behind solos that I personally, would rather weren't there.
Grant, "We recorded the five songs in only a handful of hours and on this our debut CD I really wanted just that 3-piece sound. On future recordings I plan to have other things happening"
The final track, "The One For Me", is a slower number following a tried 'n' tested ballad formula which has been used since the late 1940's and has, in places, a distinct similarity to both the Platters and Radiohead. Again, a fine backing for Grant's great guitar playing. The rhythm section, Matt and Simon are tight and efficient and their playing sympathetic to the songs.
The EP was debuted at Albert's shed last Thursday 4th October and we were on hand to video the performance.
A live venue sound is not in any way comparable to a live studio recording, but The Grant Pritchard Trio produce a punchiness live that is over and above. Standing out was Drummer Matt's power behind the kit. His energetic playing is not so evident on the studio recording but this man can play a bit for sure. Simon on bass, as on the CD, is nothing short of rock solid. They performed a good set with only a minor technical difficulty that being the drum kit working its way forward on the stage, requiring a helping hand from audience members to shove it back at the end of each song.
This is a relatively new band but with obviously experienced musicians playing an ever popular style of music. The EP is excellently recorded and live, the songs and performances come across well. Are they sufficiently different or exceptional enough to make an impact? Only time will tell. I like these guys.
It's honest, down-to-earth guitar based electric blues.
The EP is available to download from CD Baby or to listen on Spotify.