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Wille and The Bandits: Living Free

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Like a pint of hand-pulled beer and a log fire after a long day’s walk in the hills, this double live CD is instantly comforting and familiar.

Wille and The Bandits are predominantly a live band and we’ve never heard of them before, but frontman Wille Edwards is a consummate guitarist, playing lap steel and electric guitars with aplomb, and it was all instantly good.

Other reviews cite Cream and other 70s rock bands but to our minds he was more John Butler Trio — the highest of praise from us. Butler is a guitar genius and, like him, Edwards delivers technically accomplished blues/rock guitar without ever going off into self-indulgent shredding and twiddlery. Like John Butler Trio, the rhythm section is rock solid, the drums often as much percussion as just keeping time, and the rhythm always sounds interesting under the fluid guitar playing.

The 70s comparison is perhaps justified if you listen to Jimi Hendrix; ostensibly blues, he didn’t often just deliver standard format blues songs. Wille and The Bandits throw in funk and world music to the bluesy rock sound, Andrew Neumann playing djembe and cabasa, while bassist Matt Brooks plays six-string bass and double bass.

Obviously, we like this, and if you like bluesy rock or classic 70s rock, you should buy it. Tight, talented musicians playing rich, interesting soulful music and the honey voice of Edwards on top, what’s not to like? If we had to pick a fault, it’s very much for earnest men who like guitars; on leaving a John Butler gig, we once heard a bloke say to his mate: “Really, that’s what The Gibson SG was designed for.” Dude, can you hear yourself?

Standout songs are pretty much all of them: the funky Got To Do Better, which opens CD2, is excellent, as is Angel, a tribute to Edwards’ mother. The acoustic guitar/djembe driven Mammon is also good.

The CD is current only available at shows:  gigs are here …


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  1. Turnstile: Time And Space – Review Corner

    […] bit like Wille and the Bandits last week, the familiarity of this was instantly comforting, at least if you like punk/rock and some […]

  2. John Butler Trio: Home – Review Corner

    […] Butler is one of those unfortunates who made his best album early on — Sunrise Over Sea —which fans love. We’re fans and we love it beyond reason; we’d happily pay to see him tour and just play Sunrise year after year, with a couple of other songs to stretch the set out; some newer ones and that loud acoustic one he always does. (See here for his best none-Sunrise album. Fans of JBT might also like this). […]

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