Brad Absher, with his soulful Gulf Coast blues and R&B, blows in like a tropical depression, making landfall with his debut cd on Montrose Records. Absher, a fixture on the on the Gulf scene for over twenty years, brings the steam and heat with a slow burning collection split evenly between originals and choice covers.
Backed by Swamp Royale, his superb six-piece band, Absher brings swagger, sensitivity, a greasy guitar style, and a voice aged in Kentucky Bourbon to bear on a dozen tracks that blend soul, blues, and R&B. The album opens with “Woman Who Loves Me,” celebrating the joy of relationship. As Absher says, “I’m gonna keep it that way, I know what it’s like to live the other way.” The horns accentuate the song as Absher lays down a nasty underpinning on guitar.
One of my favorite tracks is “I Need a Drink.” Not your typical drinking-her-off-my-mind-song, Absher settles for reflection in the wake of a failed relationship:
I Need a Drink
I need some time
A quiet place where I can ease my mind
I really don’t have any kind of plan
I’m just gonna try to come out of this a better man
The album showcases the solid backing band Absher has built during his time gigging around the Gulf. There are soulful horn parts, especially the sexy sax on the cover of Bill Withers’ “Same Love,” a song that features a vocal worthy of comparison to the original. And then there is Absher’s sensual deep growl on “Wanna Be Your Man,” another Absher composition. The traditional “Jesus on the Mainline,” brings us to church, and features the righteous Hammond organ work of Barry Seelen, playing off of the unrepentant slide guitar of Brad Absher.
All in all this is a really enjoyable album and representative of the region’s musical melting pot. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.