Blues players have come from many places but probably only one has originated in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, which brings us to Claude Hay.
He is a one-man music machine as he plays just about every instrument on his albums and in concert. He is proficient on the slide guitar, sitar, bass, and drums and is able to combine them into sophisticated music to support his compositions. He even takes it a step further as he built his own double-neck guitar.
He is, at his core, a blues artist but now extends his sound in a hard rock direction and every once in a while adds in some funk rhythms. He has just released his third studio album, I Love Hate You.
His music has continued to evolve. The lyrics have become more sophisticated with the passage of time and his guitar improvisations and riffing are more prominent. He was influenced by many rock and blues artists of the 1980s and those influences are beginning to show through a harder edge. Through it all his slide guitar carries the sound.
As the album title implies, the lyrics explore such topics as love, great performances, transportation problems, terrible customer service, and even issues with radio programmers, all of which fit the love and hate theme of the album.
The album begins with the title track and rocks right out of the gate as he expresses his feelings about people, both positive and negative. “Close” travels in a different direction as it is a laid-back track that meanders along. Tracks such as “Stone Face,” “Blues Train,” “Narrow Mind,” and “Hound” all contain his unique brand of blues and rock.
The only non-original track is a cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” He energetically rolls though the song with some fine guitar work that moves the performance in a blues direction.
Claude Hay is a noted blues musician in his home country of Australia and has been gaining attention in the United States. I Love Hate You is a fine album that will only enhance that reputation. If you like your blues with a hard edge, then this will be an album for you.