It is extremely doubtful that any other blues artist has come from the small town of Malmsbury, which is located in South East Australia, but so it was for Geoff Achison. He is a first-rate blues guitarist who has floated under the radar for the last couple of decades. He has practiced his craft not only in the studio but by logging tens of thousands of miles on the road in his native country, as well as Europe and the U.S. One of his greatest supporters is Jorma Kaukonen of The Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, who has made him a guitar instructor at his Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio for the past 15 years.
Achison is an electric blues guitarist pure and simple. He is one of those few guitarists that can make each note distinct, while producing a crystal clear sound. He does not use any special effects or gadgets and thus can produce his sound live. What you here is what you get. He also possesses a gritty and soulful voice that, when combined with his songwriting ability, provides him with a solid foundation for producing his music.
He is supported by his band The Souldiggers, which consists of keyboardist Mal Logan, bassist Roger McLachlan, and drummer Gerry Pantazis. Every once in a while a three piece brass section makes an appearance. The key is bassist McLachlan, who’s pulsating and booming sound provides the underpinning for Achison’s guitar explorations.
Many of his albums have had only a limited release in the U.S. One of his better albums, Little Big Men, has now been remastered and rereleased with three previously unavailable bonus tracks.
The album’s 17 tracks flow effortlessly from one to the other. His lyrics travel in a number of directions. “Rule The World” is a clever song about why our greatest thinkers are not in charge. “News” takes a look at the political world, where everybody seems to have answers but no one really does. “Never Give It Up” is a rare positive blues tune that offers hope for the future. “Wagging The Dog” finds him adding some funky rhythms to the mix. “Reach For The Sky” finds the band in jam mode.
While the tempos and moods may change, his guitar expertise remains constant. The sounds he can ring and coax from his guitar and amplifier are always interesting and provide an excellent modern day blues sound.
Little Big Men is Geoff Achison putting his best foot forward by reissuing one of his better albums. If you are in the mood for some good electric blues and are willing to take a chance on something new, then this may be an album for you.