John Alexander plays acoustic blues steeped in the influence of everyone from Kelly Joe Phelps, Muddy Waters, John Martyn, Greg Brown and hints of Bruce Springsteen
Roots-blues played with passion, and recorded simply in an old church on the shores of Loch Torridon in the Scottish Highlands and a back room of a South Glasgow tenement flat see Alexander’s gritty vocal style aided by accomplished acoustic guitar picking. Plus, there is a little banjo as he repeatedly hits a noteworthy benchmark. A standard regularly achieved by the likes of Kelly Joe Phelps and UK folk blues act, Johnny Dickinson. Intimate and warm, Alexander produces a series of mighty tunes as with the ‘Going Gone’. Where his vocals possess shades of Springsteen on a good day and ‘Bridges Of Kings’ that captures the romantic beauty of where mountains meet the sea, sandy beaches and poetic imagery set to leave you transfixed.
Alexander, though Scottish through and through, had to travel to the other side of the world to New Zealand for the music that was in him to be nurtured and grow, and now it seems there is no limit to what he can do or where it may take him. Of the twelve self-penned songs ‘Early Rise’ steeped in slide guitar coupled with its persuasive melody emanating great calming qualities and a beauty you yearn to hear it again and again. Coupled the Dickinson-esque ‘Nowhere To Go’ and hot to go, guitar picked, banjo and harmony vocals boosted well textured ‘Rakaia’ are as good as it gets.
As an entire body of work ‘Rain For Sale’ has a great deal to offer — to the degree it would take a good number more lines than I have written to cover adequately.
Maurice Hope 7 out of 10
www.americana-uk.com oct 09