Matty T. Wall recently came out with a new album on Hipsterdumpster Records. It’s called Sidewinder, and it features a gritty, bluesy sound rolling and swelling with pungent energy.
From the Land Down Under, Wall’s influences include flamenco, swing jazz, funk, and rock. But he fell head over heels for the blues. “I discovered Robert Johnson and he made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” he remembers. “I got into the blues and have never gotten out of it.”
Sidewinder encompasses the talents of Wall (vocals, guitars), Ric Whittle (drums), Stephen Walker (bass), Gordon Cant (organ), Deli Rowe (backing vocals), Steve Searle (horns), and Jonas Peterson (strings).
When performing live, Wall prefers a trio, giving his guitar lots of room. “Sometimes playing with a bigger band is a strait jacket,” he observes. “With a trio I can go crazy.”
The album comprises 12 tracks. While all the tracks deserve attention, some stand above the others for various reasons. My favorite track is “Change Is Gonna Come,” an oozing blues number reminiscent of Otis Redding and B.B. King. The flow of the music is viscous, like thick tar seeping out of blacktop. The final refrain of the tune takes on an elegant orchestral beauty as the strings assume command.
“Can’t Stop Thinking” features Wall’s rough and ready, down and dirty guitar, snarling and groaning with clotted, bluesy colors. The grimy energy of this tune surges with dark colors, as the quavering organ trills incandescently in the backdrop.
The title track reminds me of ZZ Top and Johnny Winters, with Rick Derringer-flavored vocals. Driven by muscular riffs, the tune hurtles off at full throttle on a pulsating rhythm and braying organ. “Slideride,” an instrumental piece, showcases revving guitars and blazing licks, akin to riding a flaming roller coaster, hands in the air, whooping.
Sidewinder is astonishingly excellent. Brimming with gooey bluesy tones, the music drenches you, leaving you soaked to the skin but oh, so content.