Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bernie Torme: Blackheart

Review by Alex Eruptor

He’s only gone and done it again.  Last year I wrote a feature for this website about Bernie Torme which included a positive review of his album ‘Flowers & Dirt’ and a glowing write-up of his show from the accompanying tour.  It was testament to the man’s confidence that 20 songs were included on that album and that a bunch of them were played live amongst the expected ‘hits’ and back catalogue tracks  that someone who has been in the game as long as Torme has, is expected to play.

The 20 tracks on ‘Flowers & Dirt’ were well received by the loyal fans, who enjoyed the depth and breadth of music on offer.   This time around though Bernie and band (completed by bassist extrordinairre Chris Heilman and powerhouse drummer Ian Harris) have opted for a slightly shorter and more focussed set of material that still manages to cover a lot of ground musically. The resulting 12 songs are every bit as rewarding as the previous album, and demonstrate that this is one of the finest power trios on the scene right now.

Quite how Torme coaxes such tones from his battered Strat is anyone’s guess.  It’s a very distinct style and sound, and whilst there is nothing new in rock n roll and therefore some easy reference points can be made (‘Stagestruck’ era Rory Gallagher, Hendrix at his most direct…) it needs to be said that Bernie Torme’s take on the blues-rock blueprint is as unique as anyone elses these days, and moreso than most. 

‘Golden Pig’, ‘Better Days’ and ‘Snake in the Garden’ carry on where tracks like ‘Party Town’ left off on the previous album – heavy boogie  rock  with supersonic lead guitar licks all over it.  ‘1985 (Keeper of the Flame)’, ‘Better Days’ and ‘On Fire’ provide some more mid-paced counterbalance, the latter in particular has a chorus that will stick in your head after one listen.  Track 6 ‘Flow’ has a slightly psychedelic vibe, veering between laid-back verses and heavy riffing, ‘Into the Sun’ sustains the vibe and gets almost grungey in places, then we’re back into fast-paced boogie rock with ‘Pain’. There’s some acoustic slide guitar and overdriven harmonica in the intro to ‘Steady Roller Blues’ which then kicks into the sort of tight-but-loose stompin’ beat and groove that Led Zep used to do so well.  ‘Miles to Babylon’ and ‘Party’s Over’ are two more slower numbers, each with epic guitar solos.  

Here is a 'live in the studio' video of the track 'Pain':

The following UK tour dates have been announced so far, visit http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/shows.html for more info

22nd  Oct  Keighley, The Octagon,
23rd  Oct  Troon, Ayrshire, South Beach Hotel,
24th  Oct  Edinburgh, Bannermans
28th Oct  Frome, Cheese & Grain,
30th  Oct  Birmingham, Institute,
31th Oct  London,  Borderline 
7th Nov   Oxford, The Wheatsheaf
11th  Nov  Newcastle, The Cluny
12th  Nov  Liverpool, Arts Club

14th  Nov  Brighton, The Prince Albert



Interviewed by Alex Eruptor

If you love hard rock music then there is a good chance that you already know the work of Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell.  Since first making his mark in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the likes of Hotline, Angel Street, 720, and The Torpedos, Bucket’s CV reads like a ‘who’s who’ of British rock, including albums and tours with Bad Company, Humble Pie, Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden’s ‘Entire Population of Hackney’ and ‘ASAP’ projects, Samson, Phil Hilbourne Band, and the solo work of Spike from the (London) Quireboys.  As if that wasn’t enough, Bucket also found time to write one of Iron Maiden’s best known b-sides ‘Reach Out’ which can be found on the flipside of the Wasted Years single.

Over the last 10 years he has played with The Jones Gang with Kenney Jones (The Faces/The Who), Rick Wills (Foreigner/Bad Company), Robert Hart (Bad Company), Jim Stapely, Josh Phillips (Procul Harum) and performed shows alongside Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck, Queen’s Roger Taylor and many more.

Ever the journeyman guitar slinger, Bucket has also frequently guested with pals such as The (London) Quireboys, Thunder, Tytan, Mick Ralphs, Joan Ov Arc and just last week Warner E Hodges from Jason & The Scorchers/Dan Baird’s Home Made Sin.

So, it is more than likely that if you are reading this you’ll have something in your music collection that Bucket has been involved with or could be connected to within 6 degrees of separation!

Having released his own solo album a few years ago, ‘Guitars, Beers, & Tears’, Bucket has most recently announced a new project ‘Buckets Rebel Hearts’ (see photo below) with whom he plans to crowd-source a new album ’20 Good Summers’ (see the www.pledgemusic.com/bucketsrebelheart for more info).  

Hearing that the band includes a reunion with former 720/Torpedos drummer and songwriter Paul ‘Taff’ Edwards I was keen to find out more and did a quick Q&A:

Alex: Can you give us any insight into the styles of music and lyrical themes of the material that you are working on with this album? And how will the music compare to any of your previous work? 

Bucket: This album will be very much guitar based.  Writing it with Taff has been a blast, we are both influenced by Springsteen, Georgia Satellites, the Newer Kid Rock stuff so, throw in a bit of AC DC too. Lyrics are important to us both and, although not too specific, about our loves , lives and experiences.

Alex: The previous album ‘Bucket & Co’ was an album including many guests and you revisited some of your own back catalogue, for example, a re-recording of the song ‘Reach Out’ which was an Iron Maiden b-side that you wrote in the mid-80s.  This time around you seem to be going for a ‘band’ approach?  Will there be any guests on it?

Bucket: This is definitely a BAND. I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of the last record with all the guests etc. I had a problem trying to tour that record, promoters, radio etc asking will Adrian etc be on the tour? Obviously not as everybody was touring the world with their acts.

Alex: Why did you decide to experiment with the Pledge route this time around?

Bucket: Pledge has worked for some other artists I know....involving music fans through pre-ordering helps build a fanbase, especially for a new act.

Alex: You have your own signature model guitar now.  Are you using them on the new album?

Bucket: Oh yes, I have always loved the P90 style of pickup..huge sounding which will suit this record perfectly.

Alex: The drummer Paul ‘Taff’ Edwards is one of your old pals from the 1980s – you were in the bands 720 and The Torpedos together.  Any plans to resurrect any of that material?

Bucket: Yes, we are gonna re-work 2 songs that were favourites of ours back from those days 'CUSTOMISED CAR' we have a BBC recording of that produced by BUFFIN of MOTT THE HOOPLE & featuring the Q TIPS brass section. Also,' ANIMAL BEAT' from the 720 days

Alex: Any plans to tour? If so, where?    

Bucket: Yes, we would like to tour but also, cherry pick some shows opening for bigger shows with a captive audience as BUCKETS REBEL HEART is a new band.

So there you have it, what are you waiting for? Check out www.pledgemusic.com/bucketsrebelheart to find out more.

Related Posts with Thumbnails