There’s plenty of guitar based action going on in the Blues world these days, but Bluesharp seems to be somewhat forgotten. When did I last see someone holding a harmonica on the front of a CD in my local store? Well there’s one now. It’s a killer, and it’s British. Step forward Brighton’s Will Wilde and a lesson in pure Raw Blues
I liked the previous release from Will Wilde a lot. ‘Unleashed’ had some thoughtful lyrics and of course some killer Bluesharp. I haven’t played it too much since though and the new CD has made me realise why. It’s a very simple thing, it’s called The Blues – and the new disc has it in glorious bucketfuls. Not that there wasn‘t Blues on the last disc of course – ‘Blues is my first love’ was a track that made Wildes roots clear. On ‘Raw Blues’ he’s returned to that first love and come out with a killer disc that deserves to be in the running for some prime awards in the genre , not least best harp player (are you listening ‘British Blues Awards’ judges?)
From the rasping harp intro to ‘Paranoia’ there’s no doubt what this record is all about. It’s gutsy, straight from the heart music. Will Wilde is also writing excellent and personal lyrics too, and this time around they’re more the stuff of traditional bluesmen. ‘Citalopram Blues’ is a modern day version of a whiskey blues song – It comes from the real life experiences of it’s singer, getting hooked on anti-depressives, as does it’s sideboard mate ‘Numb’ – what happens when you get addicted. As track two’s ‘38’ points out about Will “You’re 38 woman, and I’m only 23” I’m wondering just how cutting this 23 year olds songs will be 30 years down the road if they’re this strong now. Aside from the trusty Seidel Harps Will has a pretty good ‘instrument’ in his own voice these days. There’s a soulful touch in there that comes from his heroes Sam Cooke and Bobby Womack and belies his tender age.
There are some excellent recreations of the classic Chicago style via the Earl Thomas number ‘Get Me Some’ and Jimmy D. Lane’s ‘What Makes People’, which are to the credit not just of Wilde’s harp playing but also the talents of Stuart Dixon on both guitar and production. Did I mention that Richie Newman on drums also spent time with Rory Gallagher and Mark Knopfler? Well it shows, especially on ‘Your days are numbered’ and the Will/Dani Wilde penned ‘Midnight Girl’.
Add the very capable rhythm on bass of Victoria Smith and you have a band that clearly loves making music together. I once read of Horror writer Stephen King saying he would write books even if no-one bought them, because it was something he had to do. There’s a gutsiness and depth about what Will Wilde plays that says he would play every note onstage as if his life depended on it whether there were 5 or 5000 people listening. He loves the Blues, he loves playing the Blues, and believe me you will love hearing him do it on this disc.