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Nick Burson Band - Album Review: Hindsight

08 Sep 2023 // A review by OLDER

In July 2023 Christchurch based musician Nick Burson released his album Hindsight as the Nick Burson Band featuring himself on all guitars and vocals, Rosanna Burdett on drums, Alister George on bass and keyboards and Steffany Beck on vocals on Best Dreams.

Produced by Alister George, Hindsight is comprised of nine Country Blues Rock tracks including previously released singles Should Have Let You Know, Can't Believe It’s Come To This, Best Dreams, Bad World and Ever Be Enough. Nick’s own words succinctly sum up the inspiration behind the album: “Nick writes songs about living in our modern world and trying to manage life with 2 jobs and a family.

The opening track Should Have Let You Know immediately sets the vibe with its superb musicianship and wonderfully clean production that is throughout Hindsight. You are immediately in ‘safe hands’ – not just the safe hands of Nick’s guitar work but all the other musicians that are in his band. If you are a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, you’ll be right at home with the writing, performance and production that sonically unfolds with each song on this album.

Nick possesses a mastery of the guitar that picks you and takes you along for the very best of a blues-infused ride. He has that smooth tone, phrasing and expression that leaves you anticipating the moment when he does what lead guitar should do – take over the vocals and emotionally lead somewhere higher.

Toward the end of the second track Lonely he launches into one of the best solos I have heard in years. It took me right back to the blues bands of the early 80s in the UK that I saw, some of which were formed from hugely experienced players (from bands such as the Yardbirds) who learned their craft in the 60s & 70s. Nick just nails lead guitar. Full stop.

Hindsight isn’t just a vehicle for phenomenal guitar work though - Nick’s vocals are sublime with a perfect delivery of well-crafted and often personal lyrics. You can hear the vocal inspiration of Bruce Springsteen but I’m also getting a strong Del Amitri vibe so far as the lyrics are raw, honest and direct from the heart to the listener – as though lifted from a personal letter or conversation.

Track 4; Ever Be Enough takes the album into a Gospel space in the chorus. We don’t get 60 amassed voices, but we get a very spirited effort that works in its own right. That said, I’d love to hear it with a gospel choir if a re-work is ever planned! There is also some very smooth bass work which has a wonderful early David Bowie BBC Sessions vibe.

Although the album as a whole sits comfortably in the Country Blues Rock genre I hear a wider inspiration at times, whether intentional or not. Track 5; Bad World, though not a heavy track per se, does have an early 1970s harder blues rock vibe. It’s a fantastic number that snakes along and gets sucked into a swirling filter as it fades. It’s a good example of the writing and production on this album that goes beyond what may be called mainstream or traditional Country Blues Rock, yet not so far that it loses its way. That’s something rather clever to achieve and that should appeal to a wide audience in and around this genre.

Track 6; Best Dreams features Steffany Beck sharing lead vocals and a superb job she does too. Her perfectly pitched and clean tone contrasts and duets with Nick wonderfully, each occupying their own register with clarity.

My personal stand-out song is track 8 Two Boys. “Just two little boys, in a big bad world, would you look after each other? And after I’ve gone, and you’re still here, can you talk to your mother?” I make a point of not presuming to know the meaning a song-writer places on lyrics, rather what the listener gets from them. In this case, as a father of boys myself, my heart melted. “And if you’re struggling for some meaning, you know you can always come back home.” The song is a classic intimate acoustic number until three quarters way through when it takes off with a rousing chorus that is spine-tingling. If Father & Son by Yusaf/Cat Stevens is on your playlist, then you have to add Two Boys by Nick Burson. However, songs can have many meanings - equally if you are a Kiwi reading this living overseas and feeling a little homesick listen to the end of Two Boys turned up very loud – I challenge you not to choke up.

As the album goes through several rotates, I am left in no doubt that Nick is an extraordinarily gifted songwriter and musician with a voice that suits his work perfectly. Ever Be Enough and Two Boys in particular are world-class songs that deserve to be on the world stage.

I very much hope there is much more music to come from Nick in the years ahead. We are blessed to have him here and if you find yourself in the South Island and he is playing live check him and his band out - I guarantee I will. I’m looking forward to the next album already.

 

About Nick Burson Band

In 2009 Nick Burson finished his music degree at CPIT (now ARRA) He was left with a degree and a bright musical future. Since then he has been gigging around Christchurch predominately in the covers scene. When 2020 hit and Covid all but destroyed the covers scene, Nick took the time to write a new album and get stuck into pursuing his real passion. Originals music!!

Country blues rock with a guitar focus, Nick write songs about living in our modern world and trying to manage life with 2 jobs and a family.


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