Blues rock may not be prominent on mainstream radio, nor heard at nearly enough Aussie venues; it’s almost like there’s a thick weighty curtain of hip hop and pop hung all around—it’s hard to find the opening but when you do there’s a whole ’nother dimension of music out there. UK’s Aaron Keylock released his debut album in January titled Cut Against The Grain, and it’s a breath of fresh air to liven up the blues.
Aaron has had a guitar in his hands since the age of eight—he was playing gigs while still in primary school! He’s performed at the historic Jazz Café and Alexandra Place in London, supported US rockers Blackberry Smoke on their UK tour and met modern guitar icon Joe Bonamassa. Did we mention he’s only 19?
This entire album is a showcase of everything Aaron has learned over the past 11 or so years and it’s impressive. He’s got the skills and the vocals to match, and from the very first track ‘All The Right Moves’ you can hear who he grew up listening to: Johnny Winter, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher and The Faces—just to name a few.
‘Just One Question’ is by far the longest song on the record, and a standout at that. Filled with blistering guitar solos that take you right back to the ’70s, it’s smooth, soulful and full of groove. If you want incredible riffage, every song on this album will satisfy but ‘That’s Not Me’ is one you definitely can’t skip past.
Considering some of these songs were written years ago, the technique and song structure is something to be admired. If you take a listen to ‘Down’, the time signature changes are smooth, adding another layer to this already complex arrangement.
Cut Against The Grain is an album that showcases Aaron’s voice and guitar skills, with every song featuring some good old fashioned throttling guitar solos. It’s an exciting debut album that’s inspired by the greats, shaping blues into something modern and new. Somehow he’s created a timeless and classic aura around each song and because of that this young prodigy has our ears for life.
Find Cut Against The Grain album bundles here.
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Photos: Austin Hargrave