Delaney Davidson is known for blues and country songs tinged with pathos, a wizened understanding of the human condition and a touch of humour. With his seventh solo album he continues to deliver all those, but with a more upbeat flavour.
It might be the sometimes quicker tempos, it might be the more succinct songs, it might be that the album was recorded as a trio (with frequent compadres Joe McCallum and Ben Woolley adding drums and bass, as well as backing vocals) — whatever it is, Lucky Guy comes across more fiery than sad, more revelling than wallowing.
Davidson’s rich and characterful baritone is as striking as ever, and perfectly partnered with the direct, nuggety stories he’s pulled together during his sprawling international tours.
There’s a wonderful sense of unease in raucous Wreck On The Highway, a warped, carnival-ish humour to Five Bucks, a voodoo tropicality to the groove in Black Bo, and a sing-song charm to fable-esque Broken Wheel.
Props should go to McCallum and Woolley — the bass and drums are thunderous and thick when required, dark and winding, or warm and tight as Davidson crafts arrangements that walk around the edges of harmonic expectations — the ear-catching sway of You Don’t Want Me Around a perfect example.
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Artist: Delaney Davidson
Album: Lucky Guy
Label: Rough Diamond
Verdict: Fiery, focused stories from the road