Review: Danny Bryant – Means of Escape
Jazzhaus (September 20th 2019)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
I was fortunate enough to play HRH Blues last year as part of the Brian Rawson Band. As my interest in blues-based music was being rekindled I decided to hang around for the weekend and check out some of the other artists I hadn’t heard. Danny Bryant was one such artist and he blew my socks off with his playing and his singing. Therefore, I jumped at the chance of reviewing this baby.
The album opens with a slow burning blues rocker called ‘Tired of Trying‘ where Danny let’s rip guitar and vocal wise. In place it sounds like vintage ZZ Top with Danny’s vocals and is great opener. Next up is ‘Too Far Gone‘ which is also a slow burner but a little bit more laid back with piano, horns and some rip-roaring guitar licks. The vocally melody and delivery give the song a Tom Wait feel.
The title track ‘Means of Escape‘ is next up and is based on a driving rhythm of bass and drums and raises the pace a little. It feels a little like a across between Neil Young and early electric Dylan and maintains the quality level of the previous numbers. ‘Nine Lives‘ is a bit a shuffle and again has a Tom Waits style delivery and bounces along nicely. It also has some neat Hammond playing also in it. The pace and tone drops somewhat for ‘Skin and Bone‘ which opens with vocals and acoustic guitar only. The song continues more or less as a solo effort with Danny singing and on acoustic, which works reasonably well as it is fairly short.
The power levels are raised for ‘Warning Signs (In Her Eyes)’ which is another slow burner. While this a great number in itself, it kind of highlights the main issue with this album for me in terms of the lack variety of pace.
The next number has more light and shade contained within it however. Entitled ‘Where the River Ends‘, it opens with a stripped back piano and vocal intro which is lush. However, once the rhythm kicks in it turns into another slow burner, albeit this is probably my favourite song on the album. Next up is ‘Hurting Time‘ with a great bottle neck intro before going into another slow burning blues track. Again, in itself, it is a pretty good track but by this time the album needs an injection of pace.
‘Mya‘ is the final track on the album and is an instrumental number. The superb keyboard intro set me up a classic blues ballad reminding me a little of the Stone’s Black and Blue era. But guess what? Yeah, that’s right another slow burning blues track. I would have loved to heard some vocals on this song.
So, where are we with this album I hear you asking? Live, this guy was monstrous on the one occasion I was lucky enough to see him. However, despite so looking forward to reviewing this, I feel kind of disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, there is some great playing and singing on the album but I just think that a guy with such undoubted playing and singing ability needs to mix it up a little more and needs some better songs. This is a pretty good album, but with the plethora of blues-based rock bands currently plying their trade, pretty good probably isn’t good enough for Danny to move up the ranks which is a pity. You just need to compare this album with the likes of King King or Kenny Wayne Shepherd and I am sure you will get where I am coming from. Good, but maybe not quite good enough on comparison within the crowded genre.