Dave Hole,
Rough Diamond
(Blind Pig, 2007)

One of the great blues guitar heroes has come from that noted home of the blues, Perth, Australia, to share a Rough Diamond or two. Dave Hole, a slide guitar master, originates from Perth and for 20 years he paid his dues in the clubs of his native land.

The dues-paying paid off, though, because by the time he burst onto the international scene, Hole was ready -- and he was equipped. He's a good writer. His original songs soar, with neat but natural metaphors and good progressions, and his solos will blow you away. Hole never seems to play what you're anticipating; he takes it in a different direction, playing against, rather than to, your expectations.

When he covers the classics of the blues, such as "Since I Met You, Baby" or Elmore James' "Something Inside of Me" -- rather than going at them the way so many British companies go after Shakespeare, with way too much reverence and a respect for the past that will not allow them to invent -- he approaches them almost as though they were new compositions, "Since I Met You, Baby" benefits most from this approach. Rather than a standard song about the triumph of love, Hole makes it sound like a ray of sunshine that has poked through on a cloudy day, one that he hopes will remain. He pulls every bit of blues out of Robert Johnson's "Rambling on My Mind" and bring out all of the rock that lurks inside Buddy Holly's "Think It Over."

If you have any feeling for contemporary blues, you have to hear Dave Hole.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

9 June 2007

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