“Montserrat” is the debut album from dynamic blues man Ivor S.K., following hot on the heels of the internationally acclaimed, all acoustic EP “Delta Pines”. Montserrat features 10 cuts that travel the gamut of the blues and all of its closely related tangents, introducing a new sonic landscape with fresh instrumentation, while keeping Ivor’s trademark stripped back simplicity. Ivor also plays all the instruments on the album, lending the songs a uniquely personal touch.
Montserrat is a watershed moment in the career of Ivor S.K., displaying a diversity not only as a musician, but also as a song smith in an evolution that takes his talent and passion for keeping the blues alive another step forward. At just 26 years of age, there is plenty more to come.
A brief spin: Montserrat kicks of with the title track, an ode to the picturesque
Caribbean island, in the form of a slinky jump blues showcasing lyrical air with stinging lead guitar work. This West Indian flavour flares up again on the Cuban tinged reggae track I Been Had, but not before traversing the chain gang stomp of Don’t Say Goodbye and the humorous country blues of Ain’t No Cross. Take the Good with the Bad is the epitome of swampy, while It’s Raining changes
the pace, bringing in some slow burning acoustic soul. Take Me Back to New Orleans and Murder Tonight exemplify the albums diversity, the former an uncompromising slice of Big Easy funk, the latter a chilling tale told over a chugging boogie. The album ends with a one-two acoustic punch, starting with the album’s only instrumental, the sweetly southern Indianola, and ending with the wry story telling of Good Mawnin’ Judge.
Marty's review: this is an album you will enjoy from start to finish with Ivor S.K. providing all the instrumentation, all original songs and arrangements. Some very classy guitar work along with a wry sense of humour and an understanding of what the blues is all about, this blues man delivers the goods on this outstanding debut album. Favourite cuts for me are "Take Me Back to New Orleans" and "Don't Say Goodbye". Come on down to Montserrat and check it out.
“Ivor Simpson-Kennedy re-interprets Delta Blues so faithfully you’d swear he was a muddy footed native….In a drawl that sounds like his throat is clotted with Mississippi mud….S.K. floats through originals that sound like they were excavated from underneath the porch of some stilt house in the alluvial bottom lands….please, keep ‘em coming.” -Grant Britt, No Depression
“I’d never have guessed that Australian Bluesman Ivor Simpson-Kennedy wasn’t born in Mississippi – his blues are that good! I’m not sure what about Ivor I like best, his gravelly authentic blues vocal or his smooth guitar pickin’ and slide. Some might argue that his songwriting is his most impressive talent. Taken together the sound is of that of a performer three times Ivor’s 26 year age.” -Doug Spike, Blue Monday Monthly
“With a deep, gritty, smoky voice, he serves up his interpretations with good stories, and even better guitar lines and comping. While his work frequently gives a nod to the great delta music of past generations, it sounds fresh, bright, and uplifting. Listeners fall into his work, losing themselves in the sparsely recorded and produced compositions, traveling a timeless road that opens before them. Ivor Simpson-Kennedy has laid down a marker that establishes him as someone with incredible ability and potential.” -Barry Kerzner, American Blues Scene
FRANK ROSZAK, KBA Awardee 2014
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