Saturday, July 14, 2012
Brad Hatfield Blues Band - Uphill From Anywhere
What is it about physical disabilities that makes great musicians? Ray Charles, Art Tatum, Stevie Wonder, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, Sonny Terry, Ronnie Milsap can’t or couldn’t see. Itzhak Perlman can barely walk due to polio. Tony Iommi and Jerry Garcia had partial finger amputations. Hell, Def Leppard’s drummer, Rick Allen, lost an arm. Beethoven couldn’t hear a thing.
If those examples of triumphant success in the face of adversity don’t grab you, maybe Brad Hatfield and his new album, Uphill From Anywhere, will. The album is stuffed with some of the best barroom blues of the year, much of it written by, but all of it present by, blues singer and harmonica player Brad Hatfield and the Brad Hatfield Blues Band. Hatfield’s exquisite heartfelt lyrics, gritty vocals and world class blues mouth harp result in one of the finest blues releases of 2012.
Hatfield channels inspiration from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby “Blue” Bland, even John Lee Hooker, but it is unique and all Hatfield, The eleven tracks - from the delta-tinged “Witness To My Misery” to the country blues “She Got Time” then to the concluding track, an acapella version of “John The Revelator,” via the slow blues of “Livin’ Out The Lie” and a juke joint variety of rocking, pleading, simmering harp, guitar and organ tunes in between, make it an album to savor.
So, what disability does Hatfield have that I named him in the same breadth as disabled musical icons Ray Charles, Art Tatum, Stevie Wonder, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, Sonny Terry, Ronnie Milsap, Tony Iommi, Jerry Garcia , Rick Allen and Beethoven? Hatfield was a guitar player from the age of ten but, had to give it up at age 25 when he was left paralyzed in a construction accident. After years of rehabilitation, in his mid-30’s he was able to take up harmonica and started to sing. After listening to Uphill From Anywhere you will be definitely glad that he did.
- Old School