After two E.P.’s, this Melbourne, Australia native has headed to the U.S. to record and release his debut full-length album, Trouble. And when you’ve been cited by the likes of Gary Clark, Jr. as “the young act under 30 to look out for”, you know that you should listen to that kind of recommendation. Recorded in Valdosta, Georgia, produced and engineered by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Grace Potter, Wilco, etc.) and, among the many stellar players, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, you know this young man is headed in a very focused direction.
Just from the opening notes of the title track, which kicks off the album in a very Stones-y way, you’re immediately draw in. The soulful sound of Hammond B-3 puts the groove in the pocket and the guitar punches and on-the-one solos are top notch; his vocals are natural and not affectation and you’re hooked. “Fire” is definitely a radio-friendly piece; poppy and catchy while somewhat hypnotic, not surprisingly very Tom Petty-esque and slightly ’60’s-ish and again, he knows how and where to place/deliver a solo without being over-indulgent; “Holding On” has a sweet, touching “Southern soul” feel with very tasteful acoustic riffs and “Never See You Again” is filled with heartbreak (“…I feel myself drifting a thousand miles away/and I know now things they won’tbe the same… and now I’m just hoping I never see you again…”). “Am I A Good Man” is the (more traditional) blues standout (as it’s a cover); slow and deeply felt – wrapped around a minor chord structure and a solo that would make B.B. King proud – powerful, soaring and economic; the acoustic-pop beauty of “My Love” (mixed with what sounds like a 12-string) is stark and simple and easily my choice of standout tracks from this collection (and yes, my immediate thought on the solo was George Harrison – sorry!).
In a word, Hamish Anderson is definitely on a good path here: great songs, great players, great production and (it seems) no lack of confidence, which is important when you’re a young artist and trying to firmly plant yourself. Enjoyable and mesmerizing, Trouble is one of those “sit up and take notice” albums.
Trouble is currently available