Album review: TOM KILLNER – Live

TOM KILLNER – Live CD

Cleopatra Records [Release date 02.06.17]

Rotherham based blues rocker Tim Killner plays the blues the way he feels them. Uninterested in the disposable music that holds its thrall on many of his musical contemporaries, the young Killner taps into the spirit of the early 70′s music scene with a rough-hewn brand of blues-rock with a southern rock undercurrent.

At times he’s raw, ragged, wild and fiercesome, but he’s got the chops to pull it all off and enough spark to make the dullest of covers sparkle.

His rough edged blues-rock is delivered with a throaty, gritty vocal, plenty of spontaneous passion, total commitment and without a safety net in sight.

‘Tom Kilner Live CD’ is all you would expect from an uncompromising down-to-the-wood contemporary blues-rock player whose mission in life is to evoke the feel of a song.

His covers shift from from Chicago Blues – he leans into a heavy duty shuffle version of Muddy Waters ‘King Bee’ – to Stevie Wonder, Hendrix and even Warren Haynes’s ‘Soulshine’.

He further adds a muscular version of The Allman’s ‘Whipping Post’ and almost inevitably finishes with Joe Cocker’s version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, which makes a big connection with his hometown crowd.

His forte is bringing his own brusque presence to bear on material that is all too often dutifully performed without the kind of real feel he evokes here.

He’s best on ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’, which has a strong melody and hook that lingers. He jumps in deep to pursue an uncompromising approach that takes no prisoners, but resurfaces just in time to explore tonal depth with intense solos, alongside expressive phrasing.

In an age where all the rough edges are smoothed out and emotions are too often replaced by soft focus videos and PR speak, Tom Killner is a reminder that somewhere in a corner of South Yorkshire, there’s a young man whose delivers his own take on the blues without compromise and with the kind of unbridled confidence that will surely take him far.  ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


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