English blues guitarist and composer DANNY BRYANT was a child prodigy who shared stages with American blues-rock guitarist Walter Trout at age 17. His 2014 album “Temperature Rising” was preceded by a 5-week tour of the US & Canada fronting Walter Trout’s band while Walter recovered from liver transplant surgery.
We thought his most recent album: “Means of Escape” — mixed in Nashville by the legendary Eddie Spear and mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Grammy award-winning Sean Magee — was “evocative and resplendent” with a voice “of crushed-rock & black cherry sours…” and guitars that, “cut like a knife...”
We saw Danny play live in “Real Time Live”, Chesterfield last Thursday on his current #MeansOfEscape tour. Realtime has a nice and cozy upstairs room with a wonderful sound and a comfortable atmosphere.
After a skillful and ingenious support set by local, one-man, blues thumper, BEN MILES, Danny came to the stage with a magnificently mashed warm-up version of Dylan’s “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” filled with elegant shimmy-sunshine, and lots of leer and drool.
“Guntown” from “Temperature Rising” was burning with anxiety. The chords were barely scratched but they sparkled as if they were asphalt diamonds, perhaps picked up on the soles of a dog-tired drifter’s clapped-out boots. The solo scintillated like the light of dawn, though sapped of life fluid, it wept.
About the weariness of trying to second-guess one’s own artistic direction, “Tired of Trying” was rockier, though still fiery blues, with yelps of anxious guitar and slurs of organ from the award-winning keyboards player, Stevie Watts. The percussion on this was a hustle of vexed botheration.
Danny told the Derbyshire crowd that his Texas blues number “Nine Lives” was written about his cat, named Mr Collins (after Albert Collins?) and insisted that the cat came up with the lyrics, which apparently greatly angered his publicist! It was an easy boogie with the ribbon of authenticity running right through it.
“Means of Escape” was familiar, like a moody “All Along the Watchtower” and with Danny’s gruff voice on this number, tuneful though it was, translucent and engaging, was also dry as a cactus brush and Dylanesque as can be.
Towards the end of the show, Danny invited special guest guitarist Jase North (pictured below) from Blues Boy Kings to help with a barnstorming blues-rock number.
Probably the most touching moments came with the sad piano tears and the sliding guitar notes that meowed in the landscape like a lost dream on “Mya” — as beautiful an instrumental as you could ever wish for.
For fans of Gary Moore
Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2019 ©