CD REVIEW – AARON KEYLOCK – Cut Against The Grain
Mascot Label Group/Provogue
20 January, 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Here it is – the first truly great new album of 2017, and one you’ll be seeing in a stack of annual ‘Best Of 2017’ roundups.
Young (still a fresh faced skinny 19 year old) UK guitar slinger Aaron Keylock has been playing live since he was 11, and racked up tours supporting Blackberry Smoke, The Answer, The Cadillac Three, The Graveltones, Wilko Johnson, Joanne Shaw-Taylor and Dan Patlansky before heading to L.A. to record this debut album.
The road work shows: you can hear Keylock’s influences (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, etc) but most of all, you can hear Aaron Keylock
The lanky long-hair (who looks a little like a young Geddy Lee, sans kaftan) cooks up an irresistible soup of bluesy rock n’ roll with some Southern edges, an inexplicably trans-continental singing drawl, a heart full of soul, a knack with a melody, and a veritable Pandora’s Box of guitar licks and tricks.
Opener All The Right Moves is prescient in that that’s exactly what he’s doing right now – it seems he has no option now but to be a huge name in modern blues rock.
Keylock goes on to get all Southern fried with some tasty chicken scratch boogie guitar (Down); play a mean slide (Medicine Man, Against The Grain); deliver heartbreak from deep down the slow blues rabbithole (Just One Question); throw down some ZZ Top sass with a Stonesy edge (Falling Again); and channel the slacker louche-and-looseness of The Black Crowes with one of the catchiest choruses you’ll hear this year on Sun’s Gonna Shine.
That’s Not Me would have been a huge hit in the alt-rock ‘90s, and closer No Matter What The Cost is an intimate Crowes-meets-Tesla semi-acoustic Zep-styled rocker that perfectly takes us back to the start again.
It’s not just the great songs, catchy melodies and electrifying guitar playing that win the listener over (though that should be enough!) – it’s Aaron Keylock’s heart and confidence, and the sheer visceral FEEL of Against The Grain which makes it irresistible.
Some other stuff you might dig
Filed Under: CD Reviews
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE