1 Dec 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

Darren Watson is an engaging and fiery singer with electric and acoustic guitar skills to burn! Whether it’s a solo show for fifty people or a sold-out and pumping electric gig, he brings passion and fire to every occasion.

Since leaving rhythm & blues showband Chicago Smoke Shop in the early 1990's Watson has cemented his reputation as the nation's most original, contemporary, blues-based voice. He's released seven albums including 2002's King Size (which was nominated for Best Roots Album | 2002 NZ Music Awards), 2005's South Pacific Soul, 2010's internationally acclaimed Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy, and Introducing Darren Watson from 2014.

2018's Too Many Millionaires represented a major shift in direction for the veteran musician. The record features all acoustic performances and it got rave reviews in local and international media, as well as hitting the Official NZ Top 20 and IMNZ charts for many weeks.

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: Lazy Fifty @ Paraoa Brewing, Whangaparaoa - 24/11/2022
24 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
For my only gig this week, not only am I out on a school night, but I have struggled all the way from South Auckland up to Whangaparaoa, and I must admit it has been years since I have been here. Tonight, Australian trio 19-Twenty are in town, but to be honest I am here for the support band, Lazy Fifty whose last album, 2021: A Lazy Odyssey, I reviewed a year ago.
Read More...
Reuben Hudson - EP Review: Cloudhead
24 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This five-track EP is the latest release from Melbourne-based, Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland, New Zealand) multi-instrumentalist and songwriter/producer, Reuben Hudson. Featuring David Harris on drums (Princess Chelsea), mixed by Peter Ruddell (Wax Chattels, Sulfate) and mastered by James Goldsmith (Mermaidens), everything else was played and performed by Reuben himself.
Read More...
Brian Baker - Single Review: I Won't Back Down
23 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Although Tom Petty was a massive success in the States, he never saw anything like the same in the UK until he partnered with Jeff Lynne and together, they came up with the masterpiece which is Full Moon Fever. I was blown away and had it on repeat the year I started dating my now wife, and any song from that album always makes me think of 1989, where I was, with no idea my life would be changing dramatically (and for the better).
Read More...
Bad Jelly Collective - Single Review: Paradigms
23 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest release from Bad Jelly Collective, which comprises Ben Clark (vocals, guitar, production) and Dave Weir (bass). It is lengthy for a single, being 5:36, but that is due to the large amount of repetition contained within and the very slow build which takes place.
Read More...
The RVMES - Album Review: Simple Things
23 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Before I started writing this I went back to my review for the guys’ last album, Lifetime, and part of me thought about copying it pretty much word for word and see if anyone noticed, as I spoke at length as to how many genres they were covering, and we have the same here, possibly more so. Most bands choose a genre, possibly going into a related area as well, and pretty much stay there.
Read More...
Christine White - Album Review: Raven
23 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This multi-media project commenced in March 2020, and more than 2 ½ years later the release had come together with five songs (one of which is a remix of the opening title cut by electronic producer Paddy Free, so there are six tracks). These are accompanied by three music videos, and a book of short haiku-style poetry in two languages (English & Farsi), and there is no doubt that this has gained quite a deal of media interest, so yesterday I found myself listening to a very interesting interview with Christine White on RNZ.
Read More...
Album Review: Goodnight My Darling
22 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
If it hadn’t been for an unfortunate clash with an event I had to attend, I would have been at Whammy a few weeks back to hear Goodnight My Darling, (Maxine Macaulay), and now I have listened to her debut album I so wish I had been able to make it. Still, at least this is now available so those of us who were unable to make it to the tour (last two dates this coming weekend in Wellington and Kapiti) can enjoy this relaxed pleasant romp through different elements of soft pop rock, singer songwriter and shoegaze.
Read More...
Whero - Single Review: Easy
21 Nov 2022 // by Kev Rowland
There are times when one hears a voice and it feels as if you are being held warm and safe, and that is definitely the case here with Whero, who recently released her debut single. If she has not recorded under this name before, I am sure she must have recorded with others, while this has all the hallmarks of someone who has undertaken a lot of live work.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • UNHOLY
    Sam Smith And Kim Petras
  • ANTI-HERO
    Taylor Swift
  • MADE YOU LOOK
    Meghan Trainor
  • RICH FLEX
    Drake And 21 Savage
  • I'M GOOD (BLUE)
    David Guetta And Bebe Rexha
  • MISS YOU
    Oliver Tree And Robin Schulz
  • UNDER THE INFLUENCE
    Chris Brown
  • I AIN'T WORRIED
    OneRepublic
  • 685 (REMIX)
    Victor J Sefo, Lisi And Mwayz
  • MESSY IN HEAVEN
    venbee And goddard.
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