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Williams, Jamie And The Roots Collective: Diff'rent Gravy

Diff'rent Gravy is the fifth album from singer and guitarist Jamie Williams and his Roots Collective and in a world awash with hard hitting blues rock and guitar focused bluesmen, what Jamie and the lads serve up is indeed a different gravy. This album is still blues based and traditional in execution but even with strong nods to Dylan, Petty and the rootsy end of Springsteen, a slightly indie undercurrent offers a different taste altogether. In truth, I'm not sure it's one I find that palatable.

There's no doubt that this is authentic fare that comes from the heart and yet as things jangle along on "I Don't Wanna Break My Baby's Heart", so the vibe can begin to grate on the nerves. Hats off to this lot though, they're trying to hark back to a simpler time with looser than loose arrangements and an easy, if still urgent, vibe. Yet what's lacking to these ears is a hook to draw you in, or a melody line that stays with you long into the night. No matter how many times I've spun this album, there's really not much to "One Man Mission To Mars" or the slightly more spacey (no pun intended) "Reaching For The Stars" that sticks in the mind, or indeed wakes you from your slumbers.

Live it might be a different story, because all the players are skilled and there's no doubting the raw passion that's gone into this album. With the energy and vibe of an on stage performance, maybe things would suddenly come into a sharper focus and give you a good shake. As it is, while it would be unfair to label this album sedate, it can be somewhat punchless and uneventful, and with intentionally stripped bare arrangements, a little shambolic in places. I can't help but wonder if it's not all been done with an eye to keeping things just a little too authentic. Either way it leaves proceedings feeling too rough and ready, too self consciously unselfconscious and just trying a little too hard to not try hard at all. To me it's all these contradictions that leave Diff'rent Gravy over salted, but undercooked.

Track Listing
1. Little Black Book
2. I Don't Wanna Break My Baby's Heart
3. One Man Mission To mars
4. Lonesome Howl From The Heart
5. Godsend
6. Bad Ass And Lazy
7. Reaching For The Stars
8. Saved
9. Bastard County
10. Voodoo County
11. Understand

Added: March 10th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective at 3msMu
Hits: 97
Language: english

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