05. Oktober 2023

Exclusively available in Europe at the Blue Rose webshop: New album Year Of The Dragon by BLUE WATER HIGHWAY!

BLUE WATER HIGHWAY are a long-standing Texas band from the Austin scene, or more precisely: from San Marcos in the not far away Hill Country. For over 10 years they have been delighting their local fans with ambitious, demanding releases (after several EPs from 2015 onwards, at least 6 full albums at regular intervals!) and courageous, frenetically celebrated live performances. During the Corona phase, the band, which started as a quintet and soon expanded into a sextet, lost two members, but this does not at all detract from the complexity of their sound and instrumental sophistication. Unlike on ‚Paper Airplanes‘, their first post-Corona work from 2021 with a number of additional studio musicians, recordings in Nashville and producers from „outside“, they have now completely relied on themselves. Year Of The Dragon was arranged, recorded, recorded and produced exclusively by the four pro-tagonists: The undisputed bandleader Zack Kibodeaux delivered all 10 songs and also mainly sang.

He also plays acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica and key-boards/synth. In addition to his usual guitar arsenal, lead guitarist Greg Essing-ton can also be heard with keyboards/synth and programmed sound layers, but also with banjo, dulcimer and piano. Together with Catherine Clarke, he impresses with heavenly harmony vocals in a class of its own. He „gets“ to lead a Kibodeaux song just like Clarke does when she refines the wonderfully voluptuous 5:42 ballad ‚Bar-fly‘ towards the end. The fourth in the group, the actual bassist Kyle James Smith, also takes on the job of drummer for these recordings and turns out to be a true multi-instrumentalist with additional contributions on electric guitar, keyboards, piano, synth and programming! Americana purists should be reassured that the numer-ous keyboard and programming parts take place in the background and only seem song-oriented. On the other hand, the overall very personal, almost private new BWH album has become an extremely varied, multi-layered musical tour de force, in which well-known Texas roots/country stereotypes find practically no place at all, but fresh, modern structures and contemporary arrangements reign supreme. The final mix by Craig Alvin (Will Hoge, Kathleen Edwards, Kacey Musgraves, William Clark Green) certainly plays a part in this. So right from the start we experience an irresistible mix of Lumineers, Avett Brothers, Jamestown with the airy, melodic title song through the Springsteenesque critical ‚A Gun Is A Killing Tool‘ and the folkabilly of ‚High Cotton‘ to the fiddly guitar ‚Rockabye Motel‘ Revival and The Lone Bellow, garnished with some Fleetwood Mac, Crowded House and Wilco.

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