CD REVIEW: ROSS NEILSEN – Elemental
2 September, 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
On album #6 Ross Neilsen serves up a richly rewarding collection of radio-friendly modern blues, with a sprinkling of rootsy Americana throughout.
If Black Coffee seems a mundane subject to write a whole song about, think again: Neilsen pulls it off with the sheer force of his songwriting and playing abilities, before veering off into Ash Fault, a take of road remorse, its tasteful picking and mournful violin so minimalist and so perfectly in service to the song.
There’s more delicate picking and regret on… err… City Of Regret, to great effect, while Nobody Gets Lonely is a dead ringer for The Eagles, with its easy listening/dark edge balance and breezy harmonies.
You can hear the merest hint of Bryan Ferry’s solo work in The Race, but Neilsen keeps the track firmly blues-rooted while a tasty sax and trumpet solo straddles the two worlds. There’s even some George Benson-esque easy listening on The Arrow, and a cover of Willie P Bennett’s Ballad In Low E is a joy to listen to.
At 41 years of age Neilsen has found where he stands musically. As his liner notes admit, he’s “learned a few essential things about myself and time in the aether.” Most of all he’s learnt to serve the song first and foremost, and there’s no more powerful lesson than that. It’s all plain sailing from here on in.
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