UK artist Ash WILSON is still, I would guess, one of those artists that doesn’t have a massive name recognition just yet. He’s got a past in quite a few blues bands as well as indie rock band over the years, but as a solo artist he was an unknown entity until the spring of 2017,. when he self-released his debut album “Broken Machine”.
The chosen territory of Mr. Wilson is blues, or blues rock to be more precise. With the guitar as his main instrument and with quality lead vocals in tight control, he delivers 10 somewhat different slices of blues rock, with a little help from friends and family in catering for the additional, instrument roles. All of those helpers of excellent quality I should add, with drummer Phil Wilson a contributor that to my mind helps elevate the overall impression up a notch.
Blues and blues rock remain somewhat alien shores for me, but if I should try to make a summary of this album then it would be that it alternates between a classic and a contemporary take on blues rock, with more of an emphasis on the former. Slow to mid-paced affairs with blues-laden guitar solo runs, hovering organs very much present and with licks and riffs alternating with more delicate plucked guitar motifs and, one one occasion, some tight funky guitar licks as well, is the short and basic summary of the greater parts of this album. With vocals given appropriate control and emotional depth, but mainly shying away from the most well trodden paths in this landscape.
Wilson’s past as an indie rock artist does pop from time to time too. While a blues oriented guitar solo is never far way, there are some tendencies towards indie rock and more regular mainstream rock to be found as well, with the title track Broken Machine possibly the best and most profound example of that. While not a groundbreaking combination, this one, like the rest of this album, is performed with a high degree of skill and ability, two aspects that in sum will always manage to elevate the stature of just about any song.
All in all I do not find Wilson’s solo debut to be a production that is unique in any department, nor one that bends or breaks any established boundaries. But if high quality blues rock, at times with more of a harder edged intensity to it at that, is the kind of music you tend to enjoy, “Broken Machine” is an album that should feel right at home in your mind and in your music collection.
My rating: 76/100
Show Me How to Love You, World’s Gone Crazy, Peace and Love, Broken Machine, Words of a Woman, Out of Time, The Hitcher, Hold On Now, Lonely Room, Holding Hands