It’s long been a tradition at Real Gone that we bring you an easily digestible reminder of some of the year’s best new music as December starts to draw to a close. This year, we’ve got some great stuff to share with you – it’s probably our most varied selection yet!
Slide guitar player Jack Broadbent’s fourth release ‘Portrait’ was a fantastic slab of retro blues. His purist style breathed life into the genre simply by being raw. His straightforward approach was very welcome since, at that point, everyone else seemed to be playing rock with a blues influence and trying to pass that off as “the blues”. Seriously, why listen to Joe Bonamassa when you can listen to something with more more heart and – more importantly – a much greater understanding of the genre? Broadbent’s love of tradition came like a lightning bolt and ‘Portrait’ was an album that deserved a much bigger audience. Over the next couple of years, Jack busied himself upon the gig circuit and released a no-frills live document ‘One Night Stand’ which gave listeners an even better insight as to why he should’ve be considered the most important figure in the UK blues scene at that time.
2019’s ‘Moonshine Blue’ is a fantastic record, but it’s also one that marks a change in style. Perhaps Broadbent thought that the stripped back slide guitar blues – although raw and exciting – could also be limiting, and so, on his fifth album he fuses a couple of subtler elements of his previously explored work with a quieter, folkier mood. The results are often lovely, but creates more of a singer-songwriter’s work. This is also a record that’ll draw in a new audience, which – let’s face it – is something that every good musician wants.
2016 has been an interesting year. We’ve heard hundreds of albums and we’ve heard lots of good ones, but in comparison to the previous couple of years there has been a paucity of great ones. Nevertheless, there’s always gold to be mined and here are Real Gone’s top ten albums of the year.
[As always, in the interest of fairness, the choices are limited to those actually reviewed on the website]
There are far too many bands and artists out there claiming to understand blues music, but in reality are merely rock bands whom add a dash of the blues to their bombast. Whether the sounds of The Union, Blues Pills, Big River or even Blues Traveler, these bands’ blues always comes from a watered down and very white perspective; music channelled through Free or many a Woodstock jam band throwback. Jack Broadbent is different. A bearded, rural Englishman and a one-man powerhouse of the slide guitar, his music takes on far purer blues intents than so many of his contemporaries. The sleeve of 2015’s full length album ‘Along The Trail of Tears’ saw Broadbent recreating one of the only two known photographs of blues pioneer Robert Johnson and its eleven songs brought far more of an authentic back porch blues in places than most other blues releases of the day.