Reviews:: Bradleyboy Mac Arthur Salt Gun

We’ve all seen solo musicians on stage, fumbling with loop pedals, harmonica and foot percussion, attempting to falsify importance or grandeur. Ultimately, those few simple looped notes and the ornate suitcase standing front and center hiding a rarely used foot pedal do little other than confirm the songs need support. More often than not, the transparent look behind the curtain spoils the reveal.


For Orono Ontario’s Bradleyboy Mac Arthur, those same elements are worn like a suit of armor; a necessary precaution for survival in the world of a swampy, one-man blues band. The suitcase abused from a relentless kick pedal and the harmonica hung from his neck like a convicted outlaw are as important to his sound as his growl, chugging electric riffs or gritty, down and out subject matter.


Bradleyboy Mac Arthur has been traveling on this solo journey for many years, but with the release of his new record,Salt Gun, it feels like he finally found the right path. Making the switch to a new label, one that might seem like an odd choice for the grizzled blues man to call home but one that has EMI distribtution, means that he might finally get his music heard by a bigger audience. It also coincides with his strongest record to date.


Thanks to a never ending collection of bluesy licks and gruff vocals, Salt Gun could easily find a home on the shelf of any RL or Seasick Steve fan, but the record also finds Bradleyboy pushing his limits. The warbled horn work on “Callin’ Your Name” is an unexpected diamond in the rough and the new texture helps diversify the listen. The hint of traditional rock ‘n roll on “I Might Be” does the same.


Most importantly, Salt Gun offers more than the trademark modern Delta sound. “Bird Watcher” feels cinematic in scope, each tense note and sweeping whistle leading to an inevitable duel at high noon between good and evil. The most shocking song on the LP is the closer, “What is True.” Bradleyboy maintains a kick drum beat, but the picked, emotional number shows he isn’t limited to whiskey-worn growls and sweat soaked riffs. The intimacy the song creates is a new weapon for Bradleyboy, but a powerful one. The end of the song is so beautiful and warm the only feeling you take away from the six-minute experience is comfort. It’s not the ending you’d expect considering the lead up, but that climatic surprise is what makes a performer memorable.

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MP3:: Bradleyboy Mac Arthur - Chickenblood



This entry was posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 9:20 am and is filed under 2011, Best-of '11, BradleyBoy, Canada, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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