SUNJAY Photo Credit © Jane Jordan

SUNJAY’S Cathartic Blues

The forthcoming album from award-winning blues guitarist SUNJAY titled Black & Blues Revisited, out on Mighty Tight Records, is due this Friday October 14th, 2022.

The Delta-style collection of blues standards was produced by Sunjay and Josh Clark (Kate Rusby, Damien O’Kane) at the Get Real Studios in Bath, England.

It represents an important turning point in Sunjay’s life: “I’d just started recording the album when my mother suddenly and tragically died,” says the musician. 

“There was so much to deal with, the shock was huge, and it took me a long time to recover. Thankfully Josh enabled us to keep the momentum going as he continued to work on various things until I could record again. Music has always been my catharsis. I’m grateful that I’m now in a much better place both personally and musically.”

The vocal phrasing is accurate, the subtextual guitar-play is fraught with feeling, and the rhythms are evermore touching…

Raw Ramp Music Mag

My mother was born in Goa, India. She gave me my forename, Sunjay. Though always very proud of me, I think there were cultural expectations of me becoming a Doctor or Lawyer! My father who (is British) taught me to play guitar initially, and I inherited his love of blues music.

Faced with these challenges I feel far closer to these songs now than I’d ever done before. Some of these songs, in fact most of them, I’ve been singing for years. However, singing them now has a whole different meaning. In the Blues, references to death, the devil etc aren’t usually very far removed from real life.”

His stellar band for this recording comprises: drummer (and occasional bassist!) Josh Clarke (Kate Rusby), bassist Josh Jewsbury (Eve Selis), keyboardist Bob Fridzema (King King, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Walter Trout), and harmonica player Lee Southall (Voodoo Blue). Together the musicianship is impeccable, tasteful and fully articulative.


The first single taken from the album was an upbeat and ‘n’ rocking blues numbed titled ‘Built For Comfort’ — a song that was originally written by Willie Dixon though recorded by Howlin’ Wolf. Canned Heat and Juicy Lucy later covered it. Sunjay’s powerful vocals, here presented in raunchy rock style, are zippy and quicksilvery. Sunjay’s nimble-fingered guitar-play radiates articulately from a lengthy musical touchpoint. This is followed by a keyboard call, and answered by a bluesy harp. This is honest-to-goodness true-heartedness!

Jelly Roll Morton’s ‘The Easy Blues’ is a chrome-plated railcar trundle of sounds with enough character to get the herdsmen in the brake-car toe-tapping. Sunjay’s voice here is birch-tar and fire-clay… in other words as smooth as moonshine, but smoky as tamarind paste.

Statesboro Blues’ (Blind Willie McTell) retains the same sense of mournsome sorrowing that was portrayed in the most early renderings of this classic plea. The vocal phrasing is accurate, the subtextual guitar-play is fraught with feeling, and the rhythms are evermore touching. If you are better acquainted with the Allman Brothers version of this magnificent song, this interpretation will semicircle you right back to the rolling hills, the small farms, and the railroad camps of Blind Willie’s storytelling. Heart-stirring!

Robert Johnson’s ‘Dust My Broom’ is a number made most famous by Elmore James who performed it in the Mississippi Delta juke-houses he frequented during the late 1930s. Sunjay’s version is a fully polished big-studio production, yet it still shows-off that zest and powerful, punchy beat that we appreciated in the earliest renditions. In fact, it’s a thundershower of emotion and texture, with squally rhythms and pain-racked vocals. Brilliant!

If you want to hear the most famous blues guitar riffs to inspire rock performers across the spectrum this is where you should start! Yep, now is the time to revisit those honest Black & Blues!

Grab the album here:

Words: @neilmach 2022 ©
Main photo: credit © Jane Jordan

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