Tag Archives: victoria bourne

142. HUSKY TONES “Who Will I Turn To Now?” (2017). A pre-release review.

(Pic: HuskyTones)

(Pic: HuskyTones)

My readers may remember that a year ago I published a review of Husky Tones remarkable debut album Time For A Change (see review #89). Their second offering Who Will I Turn To Now? is about to be released, so the band kindly sent me a CD copy of the album for review.

The Bristol-based band are essentially a duet – Victoria Bourne (drums/vocals); and Chris Harper (guitar/vocals). They describe themselves as ‘Punk Blues’. This is an accurate description because whereas most Blues musicians would be content to move freely within the huge range offered by the genre, Husky Tones are keen on breaking into new ground completely. There are loose rules to Blues of course, but this band have just torn up the rule-book! Blues purists may hate it – but then Blues purists hate a lot of stuff! Its actually a very interesting collection of songs – musically, vocally and lyrically.

I listened to the first couple of songs and I was pleasantly surprised because they didn’t go where I thought they would; but after that I decided to listen outside the box and not to try to predict anything – just letting the sounds take me where the band wanted me to go. I then found the whole thing very compelling. It has a primal earthiness about it, redolent of both early Blues and Punk Rock – unusual bed-mates that strangely have united thanks to Victoria and Chris.

It is a ten track collection of songs all written by the couple themselves. There are some uncompromisingly good heavy guitar riffs present in many of the tracks, courtesy of Chris; and some haunting and unique vocals from Victoria. I particularly liked ‘The Island Of Barbed Wire’ which is about Victoria’s Great uncle being interned on the Isle Of Man during WW1; and ‘Jungle Blues’ – both with excellent acoustic guitar. I also liked the good rocker ‘I Worry About Nothing’; and the pensive ‘Put Your Arms Around Someone You Love’ with its beautiful guitar.

Lyrics are very good throughout, dealing with various topical historical, social, and political themes. This is refreshing subject matter for a Blues band to handle. So all kudos to the band for tackling these issues. More Blues bands should do this.

The CD comes in a smart card gate-fold sleeve, like a mini vinyl album with disc in one side and lyric booklet in the other. It includes credits, photos, and thanks etc; and was designed by Victoria herself. This collection is well worth getting hold of because I think its unique…. and it grows on you! The album will be released on 24th February. PTMQ

Husky Tones website

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89. HUSKY TONES “Time For A Change” (2015)

(Pic: Husky Tones)

(Pic: Husky Tones)

After reading my review of Dave Spark’s excellent various artists compilation album UK Blues 2Day (see my review #85), I was contacted by Chris Harper of Husky Tones – one of the featured bands on the album. He sent me a copy of the band’s debut album Time For A Change on CD for review. The album has been available for a few months now, and has had some good reviews already, but I just want to say a few words about it anyway because its very good.

The band consists of: Chris Harper himself (Guitar); Victoria Bourne (Vocals / Drums); Matthew Richards (Bass); and Liam Ward (Harmonica). All experienced and competent musos; which is certainly demonstrated by their music; and there are distinctive vocals from Victoria.

Time For A Change is a ten track album with all songs written by Bourne and Harper. It contains a variety of Bluesy styles; and its clear that the band know their Blues inside out. It obviously gives a respectful nod to the classics of the genre; yet its no rehash of earlier music. It has a fresh feel about it that rejuvenates the Blues and brings it right up to date.

I particularly liked ‘I Dare You’, which has an unexpected middle section with a great SRV-esque guitar part. And the laid-back ‘Its A Bitter Love…’ with its superb harp and guitar.  There is a fine instrumental too, in the form of ‘Daybreak’. Lyrics on all songs are good – especially on ‘Fortune Seeker’, I thought.  ‘Uncle Walter’ (the track chosen for the UK Blues 2day album), covers an historical subject; whilst a lot of the rest covers the traditional love-angst typical of Blues (but that’s not a criticism!)

It was apparently recorded as live as possible in the studio, and required a minimum of overdubs to keep the sound as near as possible to the band’s live performance. This is a good thing because, as I said in my previous article and elsewhere, Blues is primarily about the live performance.

The CD comes in a standard Jewel Case with a cover featuring Victoria: and plenty of info and lyrics printed in the booklet. A very good album that’s worth buying. The band have just embarked on a UK tour to promote the album.  PTMQ

 Click here for the Husky Tones website