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Janey, Bryce: Brand New Day

Bryce Janey has been on the journey. He started playing guitar for appreciative audiences aged just 13 and is now unleashing his 11th solo album. A legacy to be proud of and one that, as he sets out on a Brand New Day, also ensures this underrated guitar master owns the “Key To The Highway”. It’s the title to the closing track on his latest offering but it’s also a piece that in many ways bares the soul of this album. The rootsiest, most stripped back blues excursion in evidence, there’s little doubt that the low slung guitar picking (some of it provided by Bryce’s ‘old-man’, Billylee Janey, and man is it good!) digging in deep and yet as relaxed and honest as can be. Unlike many releases that view an album’s final track as an opportunity to tack on an unrelated ‘bonus’ cut, or add a slice of misplaced humour, if there’s one thing that you know Janey wanted to do here, it was to leave you with the essence of his album as his parting shot. Brand New Day is a blues album with an eye on hard rock, but rest assured Bryce Janey is a bluesman first and foremost and he isn’t afraid to make sure you know it.

Elsewhere the intentions are the same, although the execution is a touch more exuberant and forceful, but in truth, BND is flow over force, feel over flash and tone over tenacity. If you’re looking for a blistering hard rock shot in the arm, in all honesty you’ll have to turn your attention elsewhere, because this album has different intentions. Things may open with Janey and his boys - Dan ‘DJ’ Johnson (bass), Eric Douglas (drums) and Tommy ‘T-Bone’ Giblin (keys) - daring to “Fire It Up”, but while the flame undoubtedly burns deep and the frets catch ablaze, nothing is rushed or roared. Instead groove is king and while the rhythm section often keep things relatively simple (and, of course, rock solid) what they do lay down is capable of shaking every apple down from the tree, such is its authoritative rumble. “Guitar Pickin’ Man” continues the theme, Janey’s gritty vocals just as relaxed as his fret-fancies, before “Tough On You” bares its pain and howls in anguish; ‘T-Bone’, who doesn’t always feature throughout, suddenly using his organ incursions to lay down a heavy edge, allowing the guitar to gently but intently roam free.

Being honest, and good though it is, I’m not completely convinced we needed yet another take on the Hendrix standard “Foxy Lady”, but that’s not to say that Janey doesn’t infuse enough of himself into the blues dripping mood to offer something a little new. However, with the strength and flow of his original material, I’d have taken another Janey penned track in this fox’s place any day. Something borne out by the sheer authenticity of the stinging “In Debt With The Blues” and marvellously melodic “Warning Signs”, which once again comes straight from the heart of the man providing it.

There’s no denying that the music market is awash with hard rocking blues right now, but Bryce Janey inverts that trend, bringing the blues to the fore. The hard rocking edge that underpins it all merely a by-product of the mood and emotion he reveals. It’s a rare skill in this day and age and one we really should cherish. In the meantime, let’s get out there and celebrate the best of what a Brand New Day can provide.


Track Listing
1. FIRE IT UP

2. GUITAR PICKIN' MAN

3. SET ME FREE

4. TOUGH ON YOU

5. FALLIN' DOWN

6. BRAND NEW DAY

7. IN DEBT WITH THE BLUES

8. FOXY LADY

9. TEARING ME DOWN

10. WARNING SIGNS

11. KEY TO THE HIGHWAY

Added: September 13th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Brand New Day at The Grooveyard
Hits: 165
Language: english

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