Spencer Mackenzie – Cold November
Reading the write up about this artist/album there were two things that caught my attention, first was that Spencer is 19 years old, second that he’d won the Maple Blues Award – new artist of the year. So, my thoughts were that he, must be worth a listen and when I listened, I was absolutely floored by the sheer talent of his playing and songs. His technique shows he definitely knows his way around his instrument and is certainly very mature for his age, showing that he has definitely done his homework.
What I found most interesting about the songs on this album are the way they don’t stick to the basic blues formula they cover the various aspects of the genre, including the funk, jazz and soul elements.
All the songs are very well structured and feature some real thought provoking lyrics on some, especially the title track. His voice has an earthy tone to but is still very clear and lends it self effortlessly to the genre.
He has a good selection of musicians behind him, these being Brant Parker on additional lead guitar, Al Duffy on bass, Sean O’Grady on drums, Miles Evans on piano, Dave Dunlop on trumpet, Peter Hysen on trombone, Jay Davidson on sax.
Of the ten songs on this album, eight are originals that feature some brilliant songwriting and arrangements. All of which I can easily see, in years to come to sit alongside what are now considered the classics and even become the classics of future generations
Ending the album are two sensational covers, first is Robert Cray’s – You Move Me, which is played wonderfully, staying pretty close to the original. Last is one of my favourite Gary Clark Jr songs – Next Door Neighbour Blues on which Spencer plays some truly electrifying slide guitar and gives a slight rawer edge too. This stripped down rocker, is a storming end to a true classic and solid release.
I would like to add a few last comments, to end this review and they are of all the new blues players that have come up in recent years, this young man is certainly a prodigy. He is definitely, destined to see his name up in lights. So if like myself you want to be part of making that happen, get on your favourite site and buy this album. Which I hasten to add, was released 1st June 2018.
It is an honour to award this amazing album, a top score
1- Fine Place to Start
2- Move on Down the Track
3- Shut the Door (Baby Don’t Look Back)
4- Cold November
5- Voices Echoing
6 – Haunt Me
7- Your Mama’s Crying
8- She Don’t Care
9- You Move Me
10- Next Door Neighbour Blues