Django Blackheart – Music News

I get a lot of bands and artists asking me to review their new album/single/video and I try to listen to at least most of them, but to be honest about 75% are basic above- beyond the pain.
One of the exceptions is this excellent release from Django Blackheart, an Australian band that packs a lot of good stuff into a package that’s both familiar and fresh.

Singer Tom Walker has a gruff, growling vocal style, a bit like Wily Bo Walker or Ian Siegal (although I think he would say closer to Capt Beefheart), and also blows a very tasty harmonica and he works great with the rhythm section of Pedro Mello – a Brazilian drummer and percussionist – and bassist Mitch Mitchell. Rhythm guitarist Steve Saunders adds a very stable core and Doug Brown plays good lead guitar.

So far, a fairly common lineup for a Blues band. What sets them apart from the rest, however, is the sheer quality of songwriting on the album (all are originals – 10 by Tom Walker and 2 by Doug Brown) and a style of playing that seems to show a knowledge very comprehensive Blues and melodic music in general.

No song is truly representative of the band, but the opener “Dreams I Had” with Walker’s harsh harp defines their stand very well. Walker’s vocals are particularly harsh but the song has a nice rhythm and sets up a bit of a style dichotomy. ‘Snake In The Woodpile’ is rhythmically very strong and shows a slightly softer vocal style – the percussion on this one is really full of groove and it takes on a kind of New Orleans roll. “Burning” is pure rhythm and blues and has a wonderful Dr. Feelgood vibe.

It’s a good album, very listenable and very easy to appreciate. They don’t make any grand statements or create anything we’ve never heard before, but ‘Blues, Roots and Other Fruits’ definitely remains one of the albums I’ve enjoyed a lot this year and a superb debut.