Oh hell – let’s skip the preamble – Jared James Nichols’ latest offering, ‘Old Glory and the Wild Revival’ has just hit my player like a virulent cross of Jimi Hendrix and Joe Bonamassa and I have neither the time nor the inclination right now to delve into history when the present is so insanely appealing. The album opens with the blistering ‘Playin’ for keeps’, a gritty, slammin’ cut of high energy blues delivered by a man who sings like a fallen angel and plays like the recipient of a crossroads pact in which the devil was left wanting. It’s a stunning introduction to the World of Jared James Nichols and if you’re not already heading to the CD shop / download page / webstore then you clearly think me guilty of unnecessary hyperbole and you need to experience the monumental glory of this man’s playing for yourself. Right. Off you go.
OK – you’re back, so hopefully you’ve now come to the same conclusion as me – that Jared James Nichols’ is an axe slinger in the old fashioned mould whose chops have clearly been honed in the white hot crucible of playing every show going, and in the Autumn he’ll be taking to the stage with the rock god himself, Glenn Hughes. The album’s second track, ‘crazy’ hits the stratosphere from the off, all gritty groove and rock ‘n’ roll swagger, Jared easily adopting the sort of nonchalant rock god demeanour that Led Zeppelin fought so hard for throughout the seventies and it suits him well. Musically there’s a debt to Deep Purple, Zeppelin, Cream and their ilk, but the fury of the fretwork is all Jared’s own, and he shreds with an intensity that blazes from the stereo. Kicking into a tasty groove, ‘let you go’ has the feel of early Aerosmith to it – Jared tethering his immense talent to a rocking ballad that you can easily imagine Glenn Hughes getting off on, only for the sweet blues of ‘can you feel it’ to set the place alight with a fast, danceable tempo and a libidinous edge that suggests local daughters are unlikely to be safe when Jared and his crew roll through the town. Hitting the acoustic guitars, ‘Now or never’ is the sort of track that’s charged with electricity even without a single distortion pedal being brutalised, the foot stomping rhythm driving the piece forward into the bass-led beast that is ‘haywire, a track that sees Jared growling “hard core rock ‘n’ roll, turn it up, I’m out of control!” Of course these are hardly new sentiments in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, but they’re sung with such wide-eyed conviction that you’d be a fool to imagine they come from anywhere other than the heart.
The album takes a surprising turn with ‘all your pain’, a track that has overtones of early Pearl Jam and soul asylum with its scratchy, alt-rock riff and melodic chorus and then we’re back into whiskey-swigging hard rockin’ blues territory with ‘get down’, a down ‘n’ dirty number that cruises on the back of a salacious riff whilst ‘sometimes’ is pure melodic rock heaven, complete with a chorus to die for. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better the pure Jimi-rock of ‘Blackfoot’ hits you like a blackjack to the temple, Jared’s chrome-plated guitar work sizzling with energy and power. ‘Take my hand’ is a stunning swamp blues workout that plunges the listener into dark, humid pools with its glistening slide work and, always at the heart of it all, Jared’s gritty voice beckoning you on with the promise of whiskey-sodden hedonism if you can only find the party. ‘Come in my kitchen’ rounds the album out (excluding the two live bonus tracks) and it closes the disc in fine form, leaving the listener somewhat overawed by the thrillingly visceral hard blues experience they’ve just been sandbagged with. It’s rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form – gritty, libidinous and delivered by a Viking-styled god of rock who looks like he was born to stand centre stage.
In a world of carbon copy rock and over-sanitized, pro-tooled blandness, ‘Old glory and the wild revival’ is an album that harks back to the glory days of rock, when Deep Purple ruled the charts and Led Zeppelin ruled the world. This is no exercise in nostalgia though, this is the work of a seriously talented artist who burns with the same fire that sent Chuck Berry leaping across stages around the world, and it is an immensely powerful statement. If you have lost faith with music, this album will bring it back with a vengeance, this is rock ‘n’ roll and it sounds damn fine!
Jared James Nichols Tours With Glenn Hughes This Autumn:
Mon 19 Norwich, ENGLAND – Waterfront
Tue 20 Newcastle, ENGLAND – Tyne Theatre
Thu 22 Belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND – Limelight
Fri 23 Glasgow, SCOTLAND – The Garage
Sun 25 Holmfirth, ENGLAND – Picturedrome
Mon 26 Bilston, ENGLAND – Robin 2
Wed 28 York, ENGLAND – Fibbers
Thu 29 Manchester, ENGLAND – Club Academy
Sun 01 London, ENGLAND – Electric Ballroom