The Krissy Matthews band is a three piece consists of Krissy himself on lead guitar and vocals, with able backing from the rhythm section of drummer Max Maxwell and bassist Sam Weston. This release is taken from a live set that the band did at the Freak Valley Festival in Seigen, Germany in May of last year, with three bonus tracks taken from another gig, this time at the Gerd's Juke Joint in Joldelund, also in Germany.
The main Freak Valley performance is made up of eight tracks, the majority of them lasting between six and nine minutes long, which gives plenty of opportunity for Matthews to display his undeniable virtuosity on the guitar but, also, the tightness and control of Maxwell and Weston, which provides the canvas on which Matthews can paint his musical stories. I use the word 'stories' deliberately as, on the PR information that accompanies the CD, Matthews provides an insight as to the tale behind each track which, as a reviewer, helps you to understand where the artist is coming from.
Of the aforementioned eight tracks, the highlights for me are 'Searching The Desert For The Blues', a cover of a Blind Willie McTell song, which features a section where the band slow things down a notch and Matthews provides some almost Blackmore-esque noodling before ramping things up again with an explosive solo; and 'Freedom', which is a Hendrix cover that Matthews saw performed live by Steve Lukather of Toto and decided to create his own version, to great effect.
The recording from Freak Valley is completely live; in Matthews' words: "On Freak Valley you get the real deal. No overdubs". As such, I think the recording captures the 'electricity' of the set really well. This, for me, means that the remaining three 'bonus' songs, taken from an indoor performance at what sounds like a small, intimate venue, are at odds with what has gone before, as the sound is more detailed and the set less unrestricted or loose. This is a minor quibble, however, as the songs are still good and I suppose it does offer another perspective of the band playing live.
This is a good, solid release that showcases the talents of one of the best British blues guitarists around at the moment and it might, hopefully, tempt some of you to catch the band at one of the gigs on their imminent UK tour.
LIVE AT FREAK VALLEY
Review by Dave Uphill
14th April 2017
1) Feeling for the Blues
2) I've Been Searching
3) All Night Long
4) Searching the Desert for the Blues
5) Language By Injection
6) The Soul Will Never Die
7) Bad Boy
9) Hit the Rock
10) Roadsick Blues
11) Bubbles and the Seven Phones
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a good, solid release that showcases the talents of one of the best British blues guitarists around at the moment..."