Amazingly it is already ten years since Aynsley Lister released his first self-titled debut album. Now this year sees his latest, Equilibrium, a record that promises to confirm his already widespread reputation as one of the world’s most exciting young bluesmen.
Equilibrium builds upon the impressive foundation of his 2007 album Upside Down and the earlier Pilgrimage with his best effort to date. Whilst his heart and soul remain immersed in the tradition of the blues he brings to it a modern slant, a freshness that leaves a cool breeze flowing through his music. His adds a classy, commercial optimism yet he never forgets to respectfully pay his dues to the blues.
It’s blues but it has been given a breath of fresh air, a modern twist, and an enthusiastically contagious energy. These ingredients have, for some time, made Aynsley one of the acts to catch on the circuit. With Equilibrium he pulls it all together on a expertly constructed album that has both his voice and guitar reaching all their potential.
There is a commercial aspect to it, a radio friendly sensibility within a stylish collection of well written songs that show that Aynsley Lister has become everything that we hoped he would. One of the keys to the album’s impact is its undeniable smoothness and seemingly effortless inventiveness.
For Equilibrium he is joined by Robbie McIntosh (John Mayer) whose additional guitars alongside those of Simon Johnson gives the album an additional dimension. Having said that Aynsley Lister’s own guitar playing is, of course, superb and driving riffs flow throughout.
There is something Joe Bonamassa in his work. That excitement, understanding, and talent are all natural gifts. He makes it sound effortless as though he was born to play it. This is of course a vital blues ingredient.
There are snatches of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s influence and more than the odd nod towards Eric Clapton. Brief splashes crossing Robin Trower with Cream blaze in on “Time’s Up” whilst the influence of the mellow side of Jimi Hendrix shine though gently on the wonderful “What’s It All About”. That said, there is enough individual ability here to make elevate Aynsley up onto his own platform.