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Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"|
The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
(2009 - Manhaton Records)
Review Date: November 2009
by Robert T. Murphy
Aynsley Lister is one of a group of new blues artists that shows that the blues is in good hands. Aynsley doesn't limit himself to the standard SRV licks and 12 bar blues of many young guns who fall into the Stevie Ray Vaughan clone trap. I would say that he would be described as being closer to Robben Ford with a dash of Phillip Sayce or Joe Bonamassa, with a slight pop sensibility, than hardcore guitar hero. This is not to say that he can't tear up the fretboard, he certainly can, but with style. He can also drop it down to fundamental acoustic blues with great feeling. He is not a one-style musician. His latest CD, "Equilibrium" is a solid effort that combines a wide range of blues-rock, blues, pop and just great music. You get 12 songs on this CD, eleven of which were written by Anysley Lister. This CD is has more of a pop feel than most of his music, but it's done very well.
Some samples from the CD:
-'Soul' - This is the opener of the CD and it opens with an almost modern alternative music feel. After the songs get underway, the whole band kicks in for a pop feel.
-'Times Up' - This is the first rocker on the CD, pretty much a funky 12 bar blues, with rip your head off guitar similar to Phillip Sayce driving the song.
-'Whats It All About' - This song feels like a medium tempo blues/ballad. It uses the whole band but this would also make a great singer/songwriter song, if it were done with a single acoustic guitar.
-'Forever' has a Fleetwood Mac feel (later Fleetwood Mac not Peter Green Version)
-'Crazy' - This is an acoustic song, done with a funky swing beat and the only song not written by Anysley Lister. Aynsley uses acoustic guitar with a drummer very effectively here. This is a sparse song, instrumentally, but everything that is needed is there.
-'Big Sleep' - Another acoustic opening, that quickly gets into heavy overdriven guitars, with a stomping beat. This songs leans towards arena rock with a sound similar to Joe Bonamassa's 'John Henry'.
-'Running On Empty' - This songs leans towards the pop side of the spectrum, with an almost modern country/rock feel to it.
-'Superficial' - I guess I would describe this song as a ballad. It uses acoustic guitars, and soaring lead tones to great effectiveness with a wide dynamic range over the whole song.
-'Early Morning Dew' - This song leans towards the singer songwriter folk style. Aynsley uses great lyrics to describe modern early morning scenes in just about any city. This is a very laid back song, done with what sounds like a single acoustic guitar.
-'Runnin Out On Me' - This is a great shuffle, which avoids the 12 bar chord sequence, and this adds interest to the song. Again this is another song that uses dynamics to great effect, moving from blasting guitar riffs to subtle vocals and almost acoustic playing quite effectively.
-'Hurricane' - This song has a Robben Ford feel to it with a slightly rock up-tempo beat. This song has the quiet verse, high output chorus of many modern songs.
Bottom Line: This is a great CD with good songs, great guitar playing, excellent singing and a 1st class effort from a relatively young British blues musician. If you’re a Robben Ford, Phillip Sayce, or Joe Bonamassa fan, then you should like this CD. Guitar players who insist on lots of guitar chops should like this also, as there is enough fretboard fireworks for them plus tasteful playing that should please most anyone. If you can't find a song you like on this CD, you don't like music. I would certainly make it a point to go see him if he was in the area. I give it five out of five stars.
Guitar and vocals - Aynsley Lister
Bass, electric & acoustic guitars - Robbie McIntosh
Bass, electric & acoustic guitars - Simon Johnson
Drums & Percussion - Paul Beavis
Keyboards & backing vocals - Steve Darrell Smith
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