Album review: JON KENZIE – From Wanderlust

JON KENZIE - From Wanderlust

Membran [Release date 01.07.16]

Way back in 2009 I reviewed the eponymous debut by Beggar Joe a promising Manchester quintet that fell into the blues jazz genre, tempered by a side salad of rock and soul.

A ‘late night/early hours’ set aimed well away from the mainstream, the focal point of the album was front man Jon Kenzie’s distinctive vocals provided a real stamp of authenticity to a set that ranged from Delta blues to jazz tinged gospel soul balladry.

I said at the time that the band may have been too cultured to make much of an impact and so it proved.  Since that time Kenzie has continued to pursue his blues, folk and soul roots through two solo releases  Not The Technical Stuff (2012) and Sing A Little Higher (2013) which have been sold online, at gigs and while busking (which he continues to do wherever he plays).

Now partnered with a record label, From Wanderlust doesn’t look to break the mould, and sees Mackenzie delivering another acoustically rooted set steeped in the blues (the stripped back ‘Sleep And Sunshine’ backed by Mat Owens double bass being particularly impressive), folk (the poignant ‘Soothing Whisper’, and ‘Clicking Needles’ being highlights) and reaching as far ragtime (‘With Draw’).

It’s another quality release that will delight fans, but a bit like Beggar Joe – and Kenzie’s previous solo output – From Wanderlust may prove a little too niche to significantly broaden his commercial appeal.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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