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Universal Hippies: Mother Nature Blues

Since teaming up with Grooveyard Records through his band Super Vintage, Greek guitarist Stavros Papadopoulos has become something of a six string go to man for the label. A new album from Super Vintage and compilation had already seen the light day when the guitarist threw his hat in the ring with front-woman AretinValavanopoulou in the awesome Freerock Saints. Now we have not one but two new albums from Papadopoulos, that while both guitar heavy blues rock, couldn't be more different. Reviewed elsewhere is a new full force beast under the name Hard Driver, where the guitarist is joined by Jim Petridis on bass and Chris Lagios on drums. While the same trio of talent have also decided to offer up something completely different through Mother Nature Blues, the debut instrumental album from Universal Hippies.

It's not difficult to hear that this trio started out as a jam band, the free flowing nature and ability to hit hard while staying easy and in the groove a real skill only earned by time, dedication and musical connection. I've no doubt this threesome have focused on the first two of those factors, while the third is clear to hear as the likes of "Homo Sapiens" takes flight; the natural build of atmosphere and mood never over egged, or delivered with too knowing a nod. The organic feel of what is created key in making it the engaging experience it is. With the mood staying true from track to track, Papadopoulos takes the chance to shine, his roaming fret work on "Sacred Land" smooth, easy and from the heart. While the deep, dirty groove of "Reincarnation" is almost Sabbath gone blues.
Influences, or touching points, are plenty and elusive at the same time, the groove of Clutch, but never the heaviness, brought into play, while the tight looseness of Neil Young at his most intense can also be felt throughout. And yet these are mere markers in the ground for what grows into something that fans of jam bands will thoroughly appreciate, although this originates from a deeper, bluesier home. However it isn't all groove and mood, the six string brought to bare with precision for those who love expansive, yet considered soloing and cutting but never out of control riffs. There's a snatch of Hendrix here, a sniff of Gov't Mule there and a few reverential nods to blues greats of times gone by. Whether through the moody meander of "Mother Nature Blues", the more forceful "Redemption Day" or the toweringly blues ridden "Mountain", the trio locks in place, Petridis given room to roam with his bass, while still knowing when to pin everything in place, while Lagios, for the most part decides to keep his drumming simple, but hugely effective.

If you love the blues and you love great guitar playing, but are looking for something a little different, a little more worldly wise and, in a very good way, 'lived in', then Mother Nature Blues will make for a very welcome departure.

Track Listing










Added: August 18th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mother Nature Blues at The Grooveyard
Hits: 1617
Language: english

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