BRAD ABSHER AND SWAMP ROYALE
WOMAN WHO LOVES ME–I NEED A DRINK–SAME LOVE–I CAN’T WAIT–MISS YOUR WATER–WANNA BE YOUR MAN–RATHER BE BLIND–NOT TONIGHT–LIPSTICK TRACES–JESUS ON THE MAINLINE–TROUBLE–MEMPHIS ON THE WAY
The Gulf Coast has long been a “melting pot” of varying ethnicities, and, as such, musical styles and genres’ as well. Brad Absher and his band, Swamp Royale, have been fixtures on that fertile scene for some twenty years, spanning five previous albums. They were a Top Ten finalist in the 2014 IBC’s, and their latest set for Montrose Records is entitled “Lucky Dog.” It is a fine mix of covers and Brad’s originals that owe as much to Memphis as Muscle Shoals. His smooth, inviting vocal style, no doubt also a product of his environment, and his flashy fretwork throughout this album makes this a set tailor-made for the dance floor.
He starts the party with a couple of originals, the leadoff strutting slab of funk, “Woman Who Loves Me,” but, when she says goodbye, “I Need A Drink to help me get thru it!” “I Can’t Wait,” another original, is an organ-heavy story of a love struggling to stay afloat, due to Brad’s constant touring, but he vows to make it up, “one kiss at a time.”
Brad covers some notable R & B associated with the Gulf region, also, and they are really good. He puts his own soulful, bluesy spin on “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” “Lipstick Traces,” and a wah-wah-infused read of Bill Withers’ “Same Love.”
We had several favorites, too. Brad breaks out his slide on the traditional gospel of “Jesus On The Mainline,” and closes the set with a cool “road trip” song, “Memphis On The Way.” And, there’s a nod to Music Row with another original, the barroom-perfect “Not Tonight, I’ve got a heartache.”
Brad Absher and Swamp Royale are well-versed in classic blues and R & B, and Brad’s originals are written in the same vein. With a set as strong as this one, he’s indeed a “Lucky Dog.” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.