Review: Skinny Blue — ‘I’m All Right’

The American dream still lives in the hearts of some true believers and burns brightest in those who have lived abroad. Singer-songwriter Thys Wallwork was born in South Africa and grew up in Hong Kong with his dad playing him American rock records, now he and his band Skinny Blue have made one of their own.

The sophomore release, I’m All Right from the Olympic peninsula band is set for a November 2018 release and is a strong nine-song collection of roots rock with a wide open midwestern feel. Bolstered by the stout rhythm section of Kevin Blackwood on drums and Colin Ray on bass, Wallwork kicks off the album with a four on floor rocker, “The River,” that builds easy on crisp vocal harmonies and features a gritty slide guitar solo. He then grabs up an acoustic to lead them through a Jack and Diane styled sentimental love song titled “Sweet Thing,” with his partner Betsy Wallwork joining on backing vocals for authenticity.

The groove gets heavy handed for “Moving On,” and down right sludgy on the deep blues lament “Abused.” The high lonesome celebration “Just For You,” is a page out of the Townes Van Zandt song book with sparkling harmony and pedal steel.  Blackwood drives the spacey rocker “Out Of Time,” with thundering tom toms and the album title comes from a line in the jagged modern blues “Seven Days.” The moving tribute to a hard-working man “Rolling Stone,” soars with a timeless authenticity and pure energy. The album closes with the folk rock “You And Me,” as Wallwork adds some Bob Dylan harmonica along with Laird Nelson adding some fine Wurlitzer piano and a classic sing along chorus for the big finish.

(Get more info about Skinny Blue at the website HERE.) 

 

Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)