Sink or Swim – Adam Sweet (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

 I had never heard the term ‘blue-eyed’ blues before, but apparently it describes the music of Adam Sweet, and I rather like it, I’m assuming it means that Sweet isn’t a fifty year old man from the deep south of America with the genre of blues flowing through his veins but then again neither is Eric Clapton (or Peter Green, Stevie Ray Vaughn and John Mayer) and he’s done alright from loving a style of music enough to dedicate his music to it.

Within the first few seconds you know you’re in blues territory, there is a slide guitar intro before the catchy first song ‘Working On It’ kicks off the album, you’re in safe hands here, the band is tight and fans of Joe Bonamassa will find things to like here. Sweet’s vocal isn’t whiskey-soaked and gruff, it’s clean but able to hit the notes and bridge a gap between blues and country-rock well. The superstar of blues is normally guitar and throughout the album there are some fantastic examples of restrained guitar play, particularly the solo on ‘Here to Nowhere’ that highlights that fact that Sweet prefers to keep his solo’s full and fat. I’ve never been a fan of the solos of the likes Carlos Santana or Slash, who constantly move to the tinny upper octave of the guitar and can sound shrill, the solos here benefit from sounding part of the overall sound yet also having the power to stand out and be heard.

Track two ‘You and Me’ keeps the album bouncing along and introduces a fine harmonica solo, I would love to hear this song as a duet, you can almost hear the influence a southern belle female voice would have on this track. The rhythm section sits very strong throughout, the drumming is brilliant, it keeps tempo, keeps things interesting and has enough variation in it’s patterns to steal the thunder on most tracks. It’s clear that this band is assured in what they do, everything feels tight and rehearsed. As it should.

Even on the slower tracks, there feels enough going on to keep the listener engaged, ‘Like It Or Not’ is a prime example of this (another solid, well-pitched solo).

The second half of the album does seem a little similar in tempo and feel but there is even room for a fine instrumental in ‘Devil’s Lake’ before the album moves into the final two tracks of aforementioned ‘Here to Nowhere’ and ‘Something’ll Happen’ leaving you with a feeling that whatever ‘blued-eyed blues’ is, it’s pretty flippin’ good.

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