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Grant Haua - Album Review: Tahanga (Unplugged)

27 Oct 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Some 40+ years ago David Coverdale sang the immortal words, “I love the blues, They tell my story, If you don't feel it you can never understand” and they are as true today as they ever were. If you get the blues, really get the blues, there is nothing else like it and although I love the electric works of Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker and Muddy Waters, there is something about the pre-war acoustic blues which hold a special place, people like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Lead Belly and so many others. Just a person with an acoustic guitar (mostly male but check out Elizabeth Cotton if you have never heard her), a microphone, and a heart full of pain.

Last year, in my end of year Kev’s Top 10’s, I list Grant’s album Awa Blues as one of  my top 10 albums of the year, while the lead single from that, This is the Place, is still one of my favourite ever Kiwi songs. So, I was rather upset to discover this album had been released earlier this year and I had only just come across it. Grant was offered the opportunity to do a "livestream" on both the Rolling Stone France Magazine and Galago Music's Facebook pages, so he jumped at the opportunity and his label suggested he recorded the set to release as a live album. What we have here is the raw, unedited, depiction of a man and his acoustic guitar (and a beat box which I could have done without, to be honest), singing his passion while providing stunning acoustic (and sometimes electric) guitar. In fact, his playing is strangely reminiscent of both Roy Harper and his son Nick, two of the finest acoustic guitarists to ever destroy all hopes of budding learners everywhere (I have seen them both do things with an acoustic one would imagine impossible).

He gets lost in the music, and we get vocals murmurings and mumblings as he goes down an instrumental tour de force, somewhat like Ian Anderson when he is in the middle of a flute solo. This adds to the heart and reality of this, it is not clinical and auto tuned to destruction, but instead we have a real musician pouring his heart out to us all. I first listened to this on Spotify on my phone, and the wretched thing played in shuffle, which meant it started with track 9, This is the Place, and I was once again transported back to the wonderful video which accompanies the single, driving along and singing with Grant at the top of my voice. As David said, “'Cos I love the life I live, I'm gonna live the life I choose, You gotta understand I'm walking in the shadow of the blues.”


Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Grant Haua

Grant Haua

Grant is a “salt of the earth” kind of guy. When we put together a bio for him he said “Nah man. I am a just a guy with a guitar. You need to tell the story straight”. So who better than to tell his story than the man himself - the following is Grants bio, straight from the horse’s mouth. - DF Records

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Grant Haua


Mana Blues
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Tahanga - Unplugged
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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