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Kris Barras Band: Light It Up

Kris Barras is a busy boy. Only 18 months prior to the release of his third album, Light It Up, the hard rockin’ blues guitarist was playing to 75 people in London as he launched its predecessor, The Divine And The Dirty. Four headline tours of The UK have criss-crossed the country in the intervening time and, while the fact that he managed to draw a crowd of 500 for his most recent show in the country’s capital may not exactly suggest that Kris is now a household name, considering those recent humble circumstances, there’s little doubt that his hard work has paid off. And that’s not all, for Mr Barras was also given the opportunity to accept an invitation to join Supersonic Blues Machine alongside a certain Billy F Gibbons, whose songs with the legendary ZZ Top the young singer and guitarist used to cover in his formative years.

With all that squeezed into a year and a half, the worry was that Kris Barras and his Band would take their eye off the ball when creating what, arguably, could prove to be the most important album of his career. Nothing, I can happily confirm, could be further from the truth, Light It Up a scintillating blend of driving good time rock, authentic bone busting blues and lyrics that range from life’s lessons learnt to dealing with issues that hit us all every day. Delivered with Barras’s instantly engaging vocal tones and a level of fret mastery that constantly impresses without ever worrying whether it’s the centre of attention, the likes of “Broken Teeth” or “6am” stick so steadfastly in the mind that they’ll have to be surgically removed if you want to stop singing them. The mid-paced boogie of “Counterfeit People” brightens up any day, even as it tells the cautionary tale of putting your trust in the wrong folk, whereas “Bullet” plays it down, dirty and ever so slightly flirty as it digs its deep groove and irresistible chorus.

Across the album the arrangements are super tight without ever feeling staid and while most of the songs in evidence follow some well trodden trails as they tell their tales, they undoubtedly get their message across. And as they were when I was lucky enough to see them live last year, the trio of musicians joining Kris - Josiah J Manning on keyboards, Elliott Blackler on bass and Will Beavis on drums - prove the match of their band leader at every joyful twist and turn.

With sing alongs like this album’s instantly exciting title cut, the cowbell popping “What A Way To Go” and the sliding slither of “Pride Is Forever” never once letting the standards drop, Light It Up is a hell of statement. It is also the evidence that hard work pays off and if there’s any justice in this world, it will also see the Kris Barras Band achieve the success their efforts, and more importantly their excellent songs, so richly deserve.

Track Listing
1. What You Get
2. Broken Teeth
3. Vegas Son
4. Ignite (Light It Up)
5. 6am
6. Rain
7. Counterfeit People
8. Let The River Run
9. Bullet
10. Wound Up
11. What A Way To Go
12. Not Fading
13. Pride Is Forever

Added: September 1st 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Kris Barras Band online
Hits: 822
Language: english

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