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Aynsley lister – Eyes Wide Open

Aynsley lister – Eyes Wide Open

So who the hell is Aynsley Lister I hear you ask, well if I dig into the PR depths they will tell you he is an award winning Blues-Rock guitarist, at 39 years of age he is no newcomer but for some reason his name is only ushered in the Blues circles throughout the world. For me he is exciting, fresh, raw and someone who deserves far more press and attention than he is getting and with “Eyes Wide Open” I reckon he will get it.

This album is no one trick pony either, oh no. Do not think you are in for a straight forward Blues ride as you have tastes of Jazz, Soul and some real eyeopener side lines. His songwriting ability and guitar playing is unquestionable and right up there with his own personal heroes of Peter Green, Albert King and Eric Clapton.

The album opens with some 70s trippy vibe, on “All Of Your Love”, you have shuffle drums, old school organ and his brilliant fuzzy guitar which was on heavy reverb to emulate the sound of a heart wrenching in pain. It also sounds like a track from a Tarantino movie…a song playing in the background of a long, sad and dark drive.

Everything I have To Give” is all about pressure. I am sure we are all familiar with that horrible feeling of deadlines, the panic, the will I do it or will I give in. This is the world that this song is steeped in and if he was under pressure to do this the man works well under pressure. The horns on this track are also brilliantly placed.

Well I was not expecting “Il Grande Mafioso” It once again takes on a Tarantino feel and this time with a background of making a shady deal…it would have sat perfectly on the “From Dusk Till Dawn” soundtrack. It should have been playing on the jukebox in The Titty Twister. I totally loved this song for it’s difference and jazz backbone.

It is back to pure Blues with “Won’t Be taken Down” and just listen to the vocal tones on this one. It is a beautiful song which is kind of a slap in the face as the song is all about Jealousy. It also reminded me of the Frankie Miller song all about the subject matter and it takes on the King King twist of their version. This song and it’s guitar solo pay homage to that negative feeling we have all had at one point in our life so it is very easy to relate to it.

Time” has a glorious hook to it, I can see the fret work in my head and am quite happy to sit here and play that out in front of my PC. This one is very radio friendly and upbeat. It will have you bobbing and bopping along and reaching for the air guitar once the solo kicks in.

Disheveled” takes us back to that shady, smokey bar. It sounds like the deal has been done and all the stress is slowly being released with all the adrenaline so it is time for a whisky, a cigar and to sit back and listen to the tinkle of the ivories and the bluesman in the corner.

Troubled Soul(intro)” is there purely to wrench your heart, rip your soul and set the pace for “Kalina” the next song. This song is special on so many levels, the tear dripping lyrics and the sadness that only a blues guitar can bring out. It is also a true story of a tortured soul, a tormented person hiding behind a mask of joy. It is someone Aynsley met who shortly afterwards took their own life. He has done her proud and I hope that this song gets the recognition it deserves, along with raising the awareness of mental health.

On “Handful Of Doubt” we have the backs to the wall tone again, that time when you wonder if you are just good enough and it surprises me that this man can cover off subjects like this so well. I cannot imagine someone so accomplished and competent in what they do ever having any doubts.

Right As Rain” kicks in with a hazy drum beat, a fuzzy guitar and is so soulful. It is a cover of a song that I hadn’t heard from Tommy Castro and after searching out the original I can assure you he does it justice and that extra solo just makes the song his own. I loved the offset guitar plucking at the start of “Other Part Of Me”, throw in some Hammond Organ and you have a cracking, joyful song that made me think of king King and their happy go lucky stage presence.

Now with “Stay” we flip the emotions once again to desperation. Most of us will relate to this song and desperately trying to hang onto something that just isn’t good for you, you know it but you still don’t want to let go. As much as this man captures some brilliant lyrical content and emotional tapestry it is his ability to write music that portrays exactly what the words tell you…I didn’t just listen to these songs, I felt them, I breathed them and they all took me on a journey to places both good and bad…there is no other outlet other than music that can do that. For all these reasons this song has sat with me and just will not leave me and I am so glad to the man for writing it.

We finish with “Hold Onto It” and we go out in a real funky sound, another 70s song but more like Car wash…dig out your flares folks. This is one cracking release, it deserves to step outside the blues circle as there are so many facets to it, I know this will appeal to a massive audience. Check it out now and if you get a chance go catch the man live on his tour which is winding it’s way through the whole country right now.

Review Ritchie Birnie

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