Label: Provogue Recoords
Release Date: January 27, 2017
Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur
Music is diverse these days and ones palate should be as well. While blues is not typically one of my favorite genres once in a while a disc shoots across my desk and it grabs me. Let’s be honest, regardless of the genre an artist has been placed in, a great disc is a great disc – and Midnight Highway from Quinn Sullivan is a great disc. Disc opener “Something For Me” is a good jump off point with a Southwestern feel that permeates the song from the first notes through to the end. The chugging riff that builds slowly through the intro and verse hooks you while the vibe of the track draws you in. “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming” hits next and this song is out of the blues category and straight into solid rock performance without getting heavy or riffy. The song has a great groove that carries the song, while the catchy chorus and pop-like guitar fills the speakers with good stuff. “Lifting Off” brings a foot tapping blues riff to life with cool vocals that perfectly deliver the lyrics and a great bottom end that anchors and supports the track, even when the guitars jump into the fray at the chorus and bridge. Labeled one of three bonus tracks “Graveyard Stone” is a fun song that allows the guitars to dance in the mix with the keyboards and some cool raspy vocals from Sullivan. The guitar work on this track really stands out at the bridge and sweet spots between chorus and verse.
Title track “Midnight Highway” is all blues and there is no mistaking why this song was chosen as the title track. The feel of this song digs in and grabs a hold of your soul. The guitar work on the bridge adds depth and punch to the track. “Eyes For You” is a track that leans into that leans out of the blues genre and rides the line of alt-country. The guitars dance sweetly together while keyboards lend some support at times and a beautiful harmony joins the mix after the bridge courtesy of Sarah Hambridge. “She Gets Me” is a fun song that starts off with a great vocal and acoustic guitar duet that slowly grows and unfolds as the song progresses. The musical accompaniment from the guitars and keyboards to the drumming and bass are well suited for the lyrical content. Be sure to check out a great guitar solo at the bridge. “Going” is a mellower track that seems out of place at times, but fits within the parameters of this disc when absorbed as a whole. The lyrics are beautiful, as is the guitar work on the song – it just seems a bit too mellow for the collection. Another bonus track “Big Sky” is a charming tune… yes I said charming… that gives us a look into the head and heart of Tom Hambridge, who wrote this song (and almost every other track) and produced the 13-song collection, as well as the soul of Quinn who plays this song to perfection. You can feel each and every note of the track as if it were being pumped straight into your veins.
“Crazy Into You” is one of my personal favorites on the disc. I’m not sure if it is the lyrics, the chugging riffs, of the groove that drew me in, but I come back to this track again and again. The chorus is contagious and filled with awesome guitar work from the youngster. The way Sullivan delivers this song through his voice and fingers is captivating. The killer tempo and cadence of the final bonus track “Rocks” gets the foot tapping and the head banging slightly, but with a cool blues rock swagger. The keyboards on this track bring a killer feel to the song, as does the drumming from Hambridge. The guitar solos at the bridge are cool and get bonus points for stretching a bit without running away from the sound and vibe of the song. A true gem on this disc is a phenomenal cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The vocals Sullivan pours over this version are killer and drive home the spirit of the track while the extended guitar work really grabs your attention and keeps you interested through an extended outro. This song demonstrates how well Quinn can interpret a classic without deviating from the originals magic. Disc closer “Buffalo Nickel” is a long instrumental that allows each player on the track to grab the spotlight for a moment while the guitarist plays his heart out as the primary sound in the mix. The drums are clear, the keyboards solid, and the bass is steady forming a great platform for the guitar work on the final track.
Tracklisting: Something For Me – Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming – Midnight Highway – Crazy Into You – Eyes For You – Lifting Off – She Gets Me – Rocks – Going – Graveyard Stone – Big Sky – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Buffalo Nickel
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