Featuring members of King King and Chaka Khan’s band, alongside his brother Phil producing, co-writing and playing drums, on this his debut album, Ash Wilson mixes rock, blues and pop in a manner that while mainstream friendly packs a solid punch.
Fuzzed feedback notes stir over a chugging chain-gang rhythm for the blues rock ‘Show Me How To Love You’ megaphone distanced vocals growing sweeter with each passing bar of tight cracking drums, with nice echoed guitar squeals that grow from a trickle into a solo that pulls and screams, returning to fuzzed feedback as its reaches its conclusion.
Frustration over current world events are sung over a rather fun old school Mod R ’n’ B beat in ‘World’s Gone Crazy’ whereas it’s relationship problems Wilson’s singing about in ‘Peace And Love’ where keyboard player Bob Fridzema stirs our interest further with his organ solo.
‘Broken Machine’ opens with effects laden guitar surging into Hendrix derived bluesy hard rock with a funked-up chorus alongside excellent keyboards and vocal harmonies, plus an overall modern dance pop groove in there somewhere. A radio edit single came out, the b-side of which was ‘Words Of A Woman’ and unsurprisingly since Fridzema is involved it sounds rather like King King. That stated, note should also be made of Wilson channelling Paul Kossoff by way of Joe Bonamassa on this slow blues. There are some interesting scales and singing arrangements to be heard and just when you think it has ended it kicks off into a roaring fiery solo.
The following ‘Out Of Time’ also derives from earlier sources, evoking the riff Clapton half-inched from Buddy Guy for Cream’s ‘Strange Brew’ over a funky rock groove, with Wilson in a Muddy Waters narrative role up until the pop hook chorus, with some gospel blues and an organ solo thrown in for good measure. There’s some slow night time cruising with a 50s Texas flavour felt in ‘The Hitcher’, featuring several long solos. ‘Hold On Now’ is another effects-driven Hendrix blues rocker with added wah-wah where the drums roll tough and really lock hard on the choruses and a shoot from the hip guitar solo that’s got soul and spunk.
‘Lonely Room’ is funky disco blues rock and ’Holding Hands’ sees the album out with a slow heart-tugging torch song, some effective backing vocals throughout then Wilson singing falsetto and it working rather well as he digs in deep for his final guitar solo.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, Ash Wilson may not look like your typical six string axe hero but there’s some ace guitar work played throughout this album and you can also catch him out on tour with Dan Patlansky right now.