Sharpville, Todd: Porchlight
UK bluesman and guitarist Todd Sharpville, born of British royalty in 1970, has a new album entitled Porchlight, the follow-up to The Meaning Of Life, released in 2001. That is a fair bit of time between albums but for blues fans it is well worth the wait as Porchlight is a solid blues rock album. Sharpville surrounds himself with some fine musicians including Bruce Bears (piano, Hammond, Wurlitzer), Jessie Williams (electric and upright bases), Mark Teixeira (drums and percussion) and horn players Doug James, Mike Tucker, Scott Aruda and Carl Ouerfurth.
Life has its ups and downs and on Porchlight Sharpville's lyrics reflect that life is not always a bowl of cherries. Probably the darkest offering is the southern rock meets blues of "Used", a song of loss and addiction. Biting guitar work and Sharpville's pain anguished lyrics really get the point across. He has a gritty soulful voice that serves his music well. More torment can be felt in the slow burning blues of "When The Blues Come Calling" featuring Sharpville's emotive lead vocals and some ripping guitar courtesy of guest musician Joe Louis Walker.
Of course when life throws you a curveball sometimes you just have to push on through as demonstrated by the bittersweet title track. Sharpville's lyrics give us hope as he sings "There's a light that's shining at my journey's end/Oh there's a light that's shining at my journey's end/As I stumble through the darkness, it'll be my guide and friend/'Cause there's a light that's shining at my journey's end." Similarly, the soulful "Everything Will Be Alright" offers a glimmer of hope and is highlighted by Bears' honky-tonk piano and James' deep saxophone grooves. The horn section and piano are well utilized throughout the CD and give the music a southern Mississippi Delta feel.
Sharpville also proves to have a wry sense of humour and nowhere is this more evident than in the tongue and cheek "Lousy Husband (But A Real Good Dad)", a song rooted in the classic blues tradition with southern flavoured piano and languid bluesy guitar runs by guest Duke Robillard, who also produced and mixed the album. Sharpville even has a hand at politics in the harmonica drenched "Can't Stand The Crook", a raving indictment of Bush Jr.' s foreign policies which musically reminded me of Clapton's Money and Cigarettes' album.
For most blues rock fans Porchlight should be right up your alley. Two CDs might be a little much but there is no denying the man has talent and plenty of soul. This is music played from the heart and in the end that's what matters most.
1. If Love Is A Crime (5:42)
2. Lousy Husband (But A Real Good Dad) ($:50)
3. Used (5:03)
4. Why Does It Rain? (7:00)
5. Can't Stand The Crook (5:09)
6. Everything Will Be Alright (4:45)
7. Old Feeling (5:21)
1. When The World's Not Enough (5:01)
2. When The Blues Come Calling (7:04)
3. If That Ain't Love What Is? (3:46)
4. Legacy Of Greed (4:05)
5. Whole Lotta Lady (4:20)
6. Misery (8:51)
7. Busted In Pieces (4:43)
8. Porchlight (7:31)
Added: January 31st 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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