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I liked Danny Bryant's previous album, 2016's 'Blood Money'... although it's adherence to age-old blues paradigms abated its overall affects... at least in my opinion. While it was compositionally sound, well produced and with some fine performances, it lacked something. His follow-up, 'Revelation', is just that. A revelation! This one sees all the promise and potential I heard on 'Blood Money' flourish in a much more emotionally engaging way. Well, in parts at least, on what is a fairly inconsistent album. There are still blues idioms to be heard, and distinct genre regurgitation, but some of the songs on 'Revelation' have much more breadth and depth - in terms of emotional expression and diversity in the instrumentations; Bryant's fretboard work; and his vocal delivery. And his blues affinity has become more tenuous in many places. On compositions such as the title track, 'Isolate', 'Shouting at the Moon', and 'Yours for a Song', it seems to be more about the song rather than the style. However, and here's what makes 'Revelation' an inconsistent listen - there are some overtly generic cuts; notably, 'Sister Decline' and, more so, 'Truth or Dare', and a trad-blues cover of 'May I Have a Talk With You'. Another cover rears its head in the form of Bryant's take on John Mellencamp's folky 'Someday the Rains Will Fall'... the latter is particularly heartfelt and more befitting of the album's more emotionally driven original tracks.

I guess the more emotionally profound cuts on 'Revelation' come as no surprise, with Bryant's declaration: "I realised from the beginning that, if this record was to achieve the things I wanted to say, I would have to go deep inside of myself with these songs and confront memories and emotions I didn't really want to face." This is discernible within some of his new music in spades. And I guess the contribution of the other musicians mustn't be underestimated here. While some tracks feature Bryant's core players - bassist Alex Phillips; sticksman Dave Raeburn; and keys guy, Richard Hammerton - there's also a big band vibe brought into some of the instrumentations with the addition of brass section. This has undoubtedly provided Bryant with more scope in his musical palette to draw from... or, rather, he's used his wider palette wisely within the instrumentations.

The real emotions, though, come from Bryant's vocal delivery, and fine fretboard work. He genuinely sounds like he's feeling the emotions of the songs within his voice, and likewise for his many guitar solos. 'Shouting at the Moon' epitomises such. And his lead tone is succulently smooth and warm across the entire album, which helps convey the affective essence of each track. However, a few lapses into genericism, almost as if Bryant has recoiled back into some sort of comfort zone ('Truth or Dare' and his cover of 'May I Have a Talk With You' are the biggest offenders here), undermine the general emotional flow of the album. Personally, I'd like to hear an entire album from Bryant where he pushes the emotions to the forefront of ALL his compositions and their execution, free from generic deference. As such, we have another very good album from Bryant (and better than 'Blood Money') that could've been elevated to "fantastic", had consistency been more on his agenda.
Jazzhaus Records
Review by Mark Holmes
20th April 2018
1) Revelation
2) Isolate
3) Liars Testament
4) Someday the Rains Will Fall
5) Truth or Dare
6) Shouting at the Moon
7) Sister Decline
8) May I Have a Talk With You
9) Yours for a Song
"The real emotions... come from Bryant's vocal delivery, and fine fretboard work. He genuinely sounds like he's feeling the emotions of the songs within his voice, and likewise for his many guitar solos."