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CD Review: Matt Schofield - "Anything But Time"

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CD Review: Matt Schofield - "Anything But Time"
Matt Schofield
Anything But Time
Nugene Records


This fourth record from Matt Schofield continues the British bluesman’s trend of upping the ante with each move he seems to make. That’s not an easy task when you consider that he and his last album, Heads, Tails & Aces, won the 2010 British Blues Awards for both Guitarist of the Year and Album of the Year. Anything But Time, which was helmed by veteran blues producer John Porter (B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush) suggests that Schofield is looking to repeat the feat while winning even more fans and accolades as he supports the album with a US tour this summer.

On the majority of these 10 tracks, which are mostly co-written originals, Schofield uses just a touch less grit than most blues players rely on these days. Paired with his Texas blues-leaning chops that emphasize meaty, sustained notes and vibrato over the shrednastics between them, the result is a modern blues guitar vocabulary that can still plumb some of the more vulnerable depths you might normally associate with the likes of B.B. King or Robert Cray. Schofield fronts a tight trio with drummer Kevin Hayes and keyboard player Jonny Henderson, whose dripping B-3 parts and funky Wurlitzer rhythms stay tightly fused with his left hand as it holds down the group’s low-end. Standout tracks include the Booker T-esque “Anything But Time,” jump number “Don’t Know What I’d Do,” a tremendous nod to Hendrix called “Dreaming of You,” and slow churner “Where Do I Have to Stand.” Schofield also puts his own mark on Albert King’s “Wrapped Up in Love,” and Steve Winwood’s “At Times We Do Forget,” driving each with vocals that are as strong as his guitar playing.

Like some of the famous British bluesmen before him, Schofield’s approach to his craft is anchored by a remarkable respect for the blues, but complemented by a brilliant sense of what the genre has to offer, which is particularly appealing to guitar players. No longer just a guitarist to keep an eye out for, Schofield has arrived, and Anything But Time cements his status as an important contemporary bluesman.
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