Music Music reviews

On my stereo this week: Jimmy Barnes, Shay Lia, Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Charlie Collins.

Jimmy Barnes – ‘My Criminal Record’.

Jimmy Barnes new album My Criminal Record is a triumphant return to form for the 63-year-old veteran. It contains a collection of blues-based rock songs that looks back at his long troubled life. With some of his most personal lyrics to date, Barnesy immediately sets the tone on the title track. He sings: “Well I came from a broken home/ My mamma had a broken heart/ And even though she tried to fight it/ It was broken from the start.” And if that is not enough of an indicator of his mindset, he bares more of his soul on Stolen Car, where he sings “My life is like a stolen car, out of control/I’ve got no destination, I lost my soul.” He continues on in this vain for much of the album but its not all dark and dreary. There are some nice moments too, especially on If Time Is On My Side. As a bonus we also get two amazing covers, the first of which arrives midway through the album, John Lennon’s Working Class Hero and Bruce Springsteen’s Tougher Than The Rest, which concludes the album; a song Barnesy dedicates to Jane, his wife of 38 years.

Shay Lia – ‘Good Together’.

Taking a leap from her musical inspirations – Janet Jackson, Sade and even Stevie Wonder – the French-East African born songstress Shay Lia dropped last week her stunning new EP Dangerous. What I love about it and can definitely hear is the inspired sounds for instance of Janet Jackson’s That’s The Way Love Goes especially on the album’s title track Dangerous, Voodoo and Good Together. Dangerous is definitely a nice homage to some of the greats of R&B and soul, yet still refreshing enough as a contemporary R&B record in its own right too. I look forward to the rise of this young Montreal-based artist.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd – ‘Woman Like You’.

Only a select few can truly boast a career in blues rock as influential as Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Today, I was thrilled to sit through my first listen of The Traveler, Shepherd’s ninth studio album. True to form Shepherd delivers again exploring his incredible love and fascination with rock and blues music. I often wonder whether Shepherd plays his Fender Strat in his sleep because how he manages to keep coming up with brilliant new riffs is beyond me. Along for the journey again on this new album is his trusty band. Noah Hunt sounds better than ever on lead vocals, especially on Woman Like You, but its nice to see Shepherd continuing to take more of an active role in vocal duties, especially on I Want You and Gravity.

Charlie Collins – ‘Mexico’.

Australia’s knack of producing amazing female musicians continues to gather speed with Tamworth native Charlie Collins and the release of her debut album Snowpine. I first heard of Collins last year when her debut single Wish You Were Here made a real splash on youth radio Triple J. Since then I’ve spent some time discovering the person behind that amazing debut single. Of interest, I found out that her love of singing country songs with her dad, also led to her really taking an interest in understanding the inspiration and meaning behind the songs and lyrics she was singing. From it sprung a desire to write her own songs, and to tell her own stories of personal upheaval, love and other life experiences, to ultimately make her debut solo album Snowpine. In short, from the twang of country guitars on Unwell to the gorgeous sounds of acoustic bliss on Run Dry, Collins blurs the lines of alt-counrty and indie rock to create one hell of an album. Standouts include Mexico, Beautifully Blind and Please Let Me Go. Honestly, if this isn’t on your radar this week, it should be! It’s my album of the week.

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