After 15 years on the road and 10 albums in the bag, Aynsley Lister must have been wondering what he had to do to get the notice of his peers in the world of British and indeed, European Blues Music. Then, with the release of Home in 2013 the accolades, including Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and then Guitarist of the Year from the prestigious British Blues Awards finally came flooding in.
Now, three years later we now have the follow up Eyes Wide Open.
While not exactly straying too far from his normal path, opening track All Of Your Love sees Lister sounding a touch more laid back and self-confident than I remembered. While his guitar playing sizzles throughout, alongside Everything I Have to Give both songs have the Blues at their core but unusually for the British variation, both songs are eminently danceable; preferably in a tight clinch.
The older I get the more I like my music, and particularly the Blues to be a bit more laid back and listenable than in my youth, and that’s exactly what Aynsley Lister delivers here from start to finish.
There are quite a few surprises around every corner, with Il Grande Mafioso beginning with some delightful Spanish guitar then the song that follows sweeps and swoons like a slow tango and is just as sexy too.
Each song tells a story and some are truly heartbreaking, Dishevelled could easily be from a B-movie soundtrack with Bennett Holland’s electric piano being the perfect foil for Lister’s sweet guitar and sultry vocals and his interpretation of Tommy Castro’s Right As Rain is quite astonishing.
Two beautiful tracks blend into one with the sweet instrumental Troubled Soul (Intro) leading into the rocking Kalina; a dark and brooding tale of a lady with a dark secret masked by a beautiful exterior. Alongside my personal favourite here, Other Part of Me will surely be a contender for Song of the Year when the Awards Season comes around again.
The Other Part of Me is a quintessential slow strolling Bluesy love song, that only someone in such a tight relationship can write or understand. I like it a whole lot.
There’s more than enough quality guitar here to keep Aynsley at the top of the polls with the fans; but I’ve been really more impressed with his songwriting and storytelling and probably both his singing voice and style throughout.
To the uninitiated this album has echoes of three of my Blues heroes; Robert Cray, Gary Moore and the Pride of Teesside Chris Rea. All of whom have had the crossover success that Aynsley Lister now deserves.
Released October 7th 2016
# This review first appeared on the Rocking Magpie website https://wordpress.com/stats/day/rockingmagpie.wordpress.com