17 Jun 2021
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

Gig Review: Blitz Metal Fest @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 12/06/2021
13 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Well, today was a first for me, coming to Ding Dong in the daylight! This was because it was time for Metal Blitz, a 13-band event being held which was planned to run for 10 hours but we all thought was probably going to take longer.
Read More...
Gatekeepers - Single Review: Always a Rebel, Never a Rogue
09 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Gatekeepers may be a new name to most of you, but this New Plymouth quartet have managed to secure the opening slot in Hamilton for the Devilskin and Kora show, so they have already started to gain some attention and based on this single one can hear why. The band was only formed earlier this year by guitarist/singer Jeremy Donoghue, rhythm guitarist Sean Phillips and bassist Mat Pipe, since when they have been writing and recording tracks before sending them to the UK to be mixed by Adam Wain.
Read More...
Investigator - Single Review: Lake of Eyes
09 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Adrian Drew and his band of merry men are back with the third single from their forthcoming album and given what I have heard to date I am really looking forward to that when it comes out. While Adrian provides guitar and vocals, the band is now firmly settled with David Crowhen (bass) Undercut, Craig van Kan (drums), The Couch, and lead guitarist Adam Morton-Mason, These Fine Galleons.
Read More...
Mudbelly - Single Review: Baby U No Good
07 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to both survive the ravages of Canterbury’s wild weather and experience the force of nature which is Mudbelly, with the latter more than making up for going out in the driving rain to get to the gig. This means I am in the somewhat unusual position of having heard this song played in concert prior to coming across the recorded version, and it is interesting to hear just how different it is in this setting.
Read More...
DRXNES - Single Review: Junkie
07 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Prior to hearing this single I had heard only positive things about Whanganui band DRXNES and having now played this I can see exactly why. This is a highly polished, highly produced number which sounds as if it has come out of a top American band and studio as opposed to little old Aotearoa.
Read More...
Gig Review: Dead Favours @ Darkroom, Christchurch - 04/06/2021
07 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
For the second time in less than a week it was back into the centre of Christchurch and St. Asaph Street, but whereas last time it was to the 12 Bar, this week it was next door, to Darkroom.
Read More...
Gig Review: Mudbelly @ 12 Bar, Christchurch - 29/05/2021
30 May 2021 // by Kev Rowland
In the middle of a red alert weather warning, I trekked from Oxford into Christchurch to attend Mudbelly’s album launch. It has been a while since I last went to a gig down here, but I have been to some real killers in the past (Sepultura, Death Angel and Blindfolded And Led To The Woods at Canterbury University’s The Foundry will long stick in my mind), so was looking forward to this.
Read More...
Lorenzo Hazelwood - Single Review: Same Mistake
28 May 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Lorenzo Hazlewood is probably best known as front man for Auckland hard rock band Close To The Bone, but he also released some solo singles last year in slightly different fashion, and now he has returned with his first for 2021, Same Mistake. This is reminiscent in some ways of classic ballad-style grunge like good Alice In Chains or Soundgarden, with his vocals very much to the fore.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • GOOD 4 U
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • KISS ME MORE
    Doja Cat feat. SZA
  • DEJA VU
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • BODY (REMIX)
    Russ Millions x Tion Wayne
  • TRAITOR
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • FAVORITE CRIME
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • PEACHES
    Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar And Giveon
  • LEVITATING
    Dua Lipa feat. DaBaby
  • SAVE YOUR TEARS (REMIX)
    The Weeknd And Ariana Grande
  • MONTERO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)
    Lil Nas X
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