Friday, May 27, 2016

Ivor S.K. – Delta Pines | Album Review

Ivor S.K. – Delta Pines

Self Release

5 tracks / 18:46

There is a strong blues scene in Australia, so I am surprised that more of their music does not make it to my desk for review. So, it was cool to receive a debut disc from Ivor S.K., Delta Pines. This young man has developed a mature voice and guitar skills in a short amount of time, helped along by the mojo of his beloved city of New Orleans.

Ivor Simpson-Kennedy wrote all five of the songs for this EP, and performed all of the guitar and vocal parts. Before he took up guitar he was a drummer, so you will hear that each tune has a cool and steady beat with subtle influences of soul, and maybe even some reggae or ska, but this is still undeniably based on Delta blues. Since there are a few less tracks to deal with than usual, following is the blow-by-blow for each:

First up is “Help Poor Me” and you will probably be shocked that an Australian kid has a voice like a grizzled man from the Delta. Also, he manages to break the word “help” into two syllables – I have never heard that before! In this tale of woe his guitar work is simple and clean, and this is a very listenable piece of music. Things change direction a bit after this. Many blues artists create their own ode to the bottle, and in “Missus Green” Ivor describes a man who puts aside all manner of liquor in favor of his chosen poison, which is all-natural, but not exactly drinkable.

Layers of acoustic and slide guitar are used to construct “Pelican,” an instrumental that is more roots than blues. It is a pretty tune that uses stereo effects to present a sound stage that makes seem like there is more than one player. Ivor’s guitar skills are up to the task, and his fingerstyle shows that he has a good feel for the instrument. A laid-back love song follows this up, and “I Like the Way” is a smart piece of acoustic blues with an intimate message.

The CD finishes up with “Delta Pines” which is a celebration of Mississippi and its music, with shout outs to cultural fixtures from all over the state. This is set to a simple quarter note kickdrum beat (provided by Ivor?), and this percussion provides an interesting change from Ivor’s usual guitar and voice formula. There are at least three guitar parts in play here, which makes me wonder which one he chooses when he is doing a live show!

Ivor S.K. has something going here, and Delta Pines is a solid first effort. His voice is impressive, and his original songs are easy to listen to with lyrics that provide a few surprises along the way. Hopefully he is busy writing new material so that we can get a full-length album from him soon.

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