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John Butler Trio's "Flesh and Blood" Album Review

December 30, 2013

ALBUM

John Butler Trio
Flesh and Blood
Vanguard Records

Aussie roots virtuoso John Butler is known for his masterful lap-steel talent, as well as his unusual preference for playing acoustic guitars through a variety of pedals and distorted Marshall amps. But when it comes to the playing of stringed instruments, he virtually does it all, and extremely well at that, with a rare air of originality. JBT carved a niche in the jam-blues circuit with the success of Sunrise Over Sea in 2004, and has since built a following with accessible songwriting and experimental multi-instrumentalism that includes Australia’s beloved didgeridoo.

So it should be no surprise that this album is richly textured, going from clean to feeding-back 12-string fingerstyle excursions, and then to Weissenborn–fueled exclamations (“Livin’ in the City” and “Devil Woman”), while the last quarter of the album moves to a mellower, more melodically haunting pace. It may be his best guitar record yet, and the specialness lies in that it isn’t only that.

Must-hear tracks: “Livin’ in the City,” “Young and Wild”