You've heard it said that some people are born to do some certain thing. In divine providence, Philip Sayce was destined pick up the guitar and play blues rock. His family nurtured him on Clapton, Hendrix, and Vaughn. Early in his career, while playing in his band, fellow Canadian Jeff Healy mentored him for a few years, as did Melissa Etheridge for many more. Along the way Sayce has found time to cut four albums, most released in Europe, the latest, Steamroller, being released worldwide this month. Sayce may be one of the best blues guitar heroes flying under the radar.
Sayce is a complete natural at playing the blues in a rock context. Listening to the bristling and rambunctious Steamroller, Black Train, A Mystic, or Rhythm and Truth, the licks are simply killer and fly like bullets thrown into a hot fire. They're Vaughn-esque, but you can't help but hear Buddy Guy or Robert Cray as well.
For that more traditional side of electric blues, Holding On fits the bill, sounding like something Clapton might play. Another is the closing instrumental Aberystwyth, named after his place of birth in Wales, where Sayce charts a course from mellow guitar play to a heavy, fire from the fret board, finish. Sayce channels a bit of the spirit of Hendrix in The Bull with it's heavy fuzz groove.
Sayce's guitar playing and song composition are rather impressive throughout this album. What's really surprising is how good of a singer he is. When all three of these combine, Sayce is simply brilliant. The best example is the beautiful and expansive Marigold, where both Sayce's voice and guitar charm your ears.
Along with Steve Hunter's The Manhattan Blues Project, Philip Sayce's Steamroller is another of the best blues albums I've heard this year. Sayce needs to be heard and held in the same regard as his own heroes and mentors. Quite recommended.
Along with Steve Hunter's The Manhattan Blues Project, Philip Sayce's Steamroller is another of the best blues albums I've heard this year. Sayce needs to be heard and held in the same regard as his own heroes and mentors.
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