Upon listening to Meyers second album Threefold Return numerous times as the label, Malicious Damage Records, recommends, my opinion is still clouded. The opening of each track has Meyer Show-casing immense guitar capability and huge potential, which always seems to drop away when he begins singing, by creating a feeling that I've heard this album before, the guitar licks and stories sound so familiar carrying the essence of the Blues with them, with a certain outdated touch that seems to be a running theme for all blues produced in the current generation.
Meyers would benefit from finding his own definitive style, this is no longer 1900 America, Lead Belly came and went, Robert Johnson's soul is well and truly in the possession of the devil and BB King has retired for what is expected to be the final time. That leaves me with the feeling that Meyer's attempt at originality has fallen short of expectation, leaving this album with the melodic plodding of two centuries of Blues, pulsating though each track.
There is no denying Meyer's evident guitar ability, however paired with his Nick Cave impersonating voice, the album becomes almost as disjointed and out of place as his signature guitar, a right-handed body with a left-handed neck and fretboard attached, an amalgamation produced courtesy of Meyers brother. Although a definite improvement on his debut All This is That he still makes many of the same mistakes and repeating the same truths, to an audience too tired to complain.
The silver lining, his left handed, Hendrix-esq. inverted guitar playing, pulls him far above the primordial ooze of the every day guitar student, it would be assumed that this would not necessarily improve his playing ability but it makes me think that maybe he's had to try harder to achieve all he has.
One has to appreciate this singer's attempt, however mislaid, at reviving the blues, despite from the almost ironic standpoint of being a 30 something, white, Londoner and it should be admirable that despite this he still managed to be compared to the likes of Blind Willie Johnson. But I wouldn't personally begin hailing him as a visionary and musical radical, as some reviewers have deemed him, just yet.
The album has a distinct absence throughout, as if the self proclaimed "blues cliché is on the verge of producing something truly phenomenal but at the moment has been unable to land on the one indefinable significant aspect that would tip this album over the edge into something worth owning.
This absence is amplified half way through the album when Meyer abruptly runs out of vocal material and resorts to 4 solid tracks of finger picking. It would be expected that after finding such a discourse with his singing ability and appreciating his guitar playing so thoroughly, I would feel relieved, but by this point I'm just blank and ache for this CD to be over.
Perhaps we should chalk this up to "second album syndrome", but I feel that unless he finds his footing and establishes a style of his own as opposed to that of thousands of retired blues musicians who have all pocketed their Harps, donned their Aviators and cased their Acoustics for the last time, I can't imagine him acquiring the fame that his talent deserves.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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