22 May 2022
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Darren Watson - Album Review: Getting Sober For The End of the World

30 Sep 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

Darren Watson originally became known in the Eighties as principal songwriter and frontman for rhythm and blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop, with whom he recorded two albums. Since going solo he has released six studio albums, with his last, 2018’s Too Many Millionaires being his most successful, reaching #3 on the official NZ Albums Chart. This put pressure on Darren for the follow-up, and he spent a great deal of time working on new material before deciding to record it in his own studio. Last November Steve Moodie (double bass), and Delia Shanly (drums/percussion) began recording basic tracks on evenings at Lamington Studios – which is Darren’s house in Ngaio, Wellington. Every single track on this record is Darren singing and playing a guitar of some kind live at the same time, and there are no lead vocal 'fixes' or guitar overdubs. More musicians were added here and there, but at the core were these three, and it is all about feel and emotion more than it is having everything perfectly correct at all times.

This is traditional country style blues, and of the nine songs on offer, seven of them are original. One, Love That I Had is by Matt Hay who has worked with Darren in the past and is a fellow Wellingtonian, while closer Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil) is the Robert Johnson classic and it fits perfectly alongside all his own material.

Ernie Abbott is about the infamous Trades Hall bombing in 1984, and Watson sounds in pain when he says, "Somebody’s got to know who took the life of this peaceful man". In many ways this is the embodiment of the whole album, as it is packed full of emotion, and the arrangements leave the vocals at the front. The accompaniment is just that, providing a background for a man to bear his soul and display his grief and sorrow for all to share. The picked guitar is delicate, with just a few notes delicately placed, and I found the more I listened to it the more I was reminded of the words of Harry Chapin’s Bluesman, "To play the blues, boy, you got to live 'em, Got your dues, boy, you know you got to give 'em, Got to start sweet like a slow blues rhythm, Like a heartbeat you'll always be with 'em."

This does not sound like Aotearoa blues, but rather as if this album from someone who grew up next to the Mississippi, and who has the delta running through his veins. This is classic pre-war blues, not the rambunctious style which came later, but one which is packed full of emotion and cries from the heart. I can’t wait to hear this in concert, as that is going to be a very special event indeed.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Darren Watson

No-one plays the blues like Darren Watson. Over the better part of three decades he has developed a style that, while touching on all of the greats who inspired him, is personal, powerful and identifiably his own.

Watson gained national fame in the 80s as the young front-man and guitar-slinger for Smokeshop. The band made two albums, had several radio hits, opened for numerous international blues legends and toured tirelessly, earning Watson a place alongside the likes of Midge Marsden, Hammond Gamble and Rick Bryant as one of New Zealand's best blues interpreters.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Darren Watson

Releases

Too Many Millionaires
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Introducing Darren Watson
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy
Year: 2010
Type: Album
South Pacific Soul
Year: 2005
Type: Album
King Size
Year: 2002
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Cafe Fistfight - EP Review: Mourning Brew
19 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It feels like a lifetime ago now, but I guess it must be closer to 18 months, when I started daring to head into central Auckland and Dead Witch. I had agreed, in a moment of madness, to cover all the heats for the local battle of the bands competition and had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
Read More...
Antebellum - Single Review: Resolve
16 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
There has never been any doubt in my mind that the most difficult musical format to get right is that of a trio, as while it is expected that the sound will be full and complete, there is also no room to hide. That is even more the case when that trio decide to be instrumental as there is no singer to take some of the load, and then what about when the musical grounding is in metal?
Read More...
Gig Review: French For Rabbits @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 13/05/2022
15 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
So it was back to The Tuning Fork for the first time in quite a while. I am struggling to remember the last time I was there, but possibly it was for Dragon, which was well over a year ago.
Read More...
Gig Review: In The Shallows @ Spirit Festival - 05/05/2022
08 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
I left work a little early on Thursday, and then fought my way from South Auckland, West to Kumeu Showgrounds, where Spirit Festival was taking place. In many ways this is a sister festival to Earthbeat which I attended last year in that it is very much for the alternative culture movement, with lots of stalls and a wonderful vibe.
Read More...
Gig Review: Imperial Slave @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 07/05/2022
07 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
And so, it came to pass I was back in Dead Witch for the second consecutive night, and my third gig in as many days, which really shows how the scene is ramping back up again under the orange settings. We have all been deprived of live music for so long, and bands are now dipping their toes back in the water while others are resetting dates which previously had been cancelled.
Read More...
Pull Down The Sun - Gig Review: Aotearoa Prog Alliance Tour @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 06/05/22
07 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This was the first night of the Aotearoa Prog Alliance tour, which is a showcase of progressive rock/metal over 9 shows in May, featuring three of Aotearoa's leading progressive rock/metal bands - Pull Down the Sun (Whanganui), Elidi (Christchurch), Claemus (Wellington) plus a local support at each stop. First up was Claemus, or at least a close approximation, as due to the wonderful lurgy which is COVID, plus a family commitment, the band was down to a duo of Taylor and Dan.
Read More...
Bleeding Afterglow - Album Review: Find Your Taboo
05 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Back in 2004 guitarist Sharne Scarborough was looking for a new rhythm section for Just One Fix, and he asked Ant Ward and Gaylene ‘G-Force’ to join. Although the bassist and drummer had bumped into each other on the circuit they were not really friends, and G actually complained to Sharne at one point that she was not sure if she could handle Ant’s persistent innuendos.
Read More...
Big Scout - Single Review: Redwood St. Massive
05 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It’s not often that a song can take me straight back more than 40 years on the first time of hearing, only to reinforce that with repeated plays, but that is exactly what happened with this angry trio from Blenheim. This is stripped back music which has a great deal in common with the post punk Oi!
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • FIRST CLASS
    Jack Harlow
  • AS IT WAS
    Harry Styles
  • ABOUT DAMN TIME
    Lizzo
  • GO (GODDARD. REMIX)
    Cat Burns
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • HEAT WAVES
    Glass Animals
  • WAIT FOR U
    Future feat. Drake And Tems
  • STARLIGHT
    Dave
  • FRIDAY NIGHT
    King George
  • SHIVERS
    Ed Sheeran
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem