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[Album Review] Sunrise Over Sea by The John Butler Trio - Folk


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Sunrise Over Sea - The John Butler Trio


I'm surprised that given the number of Australians that are on the board that nobody has reviewed any JB yet, but *shrugs*

We'll start at the beginning with the first song...

Track Listing:

1. Treat Yo Mama (4.5/5)
2. Peaches & Cream(5/5)
3. Company Sin (5/5)
4. Betterman (4/5)
5. What You Want (4.5/5)
6. Damned To Hell (5/5)
7. Hello (5/5)
8. Bound To Ramble (5/5)
9. Seeing Angels (4.5/5)
10. There'll Come A Time (4.5/5)
11. Zebra (5/5)
12. Mist (5/5)
13. Oldman (4.5/5)
14. Sometimes (5/5)

So The John Butler Trio have consistently made my Top 5 of Bands since 2006 when I first heard of them (ironically when I was back in the UK from a trip to Oz and not in Oz itself).  They're a folk/roots band that consist of John Butler (guitar) and at the time of this album, Shannon Birchall (bass) and Nicky Bomba (drums).  The trio changes over time.

To put this into context, I had a three month trip to Canada a couple of years ago and spent most of it walking in mountains along the west coast.  I twisted my ankle pretty badly and needed to rest it for a couple of weeks.  Naturally I decided to head down to Yellowstone (about 1000 mile drive and a place I've wanted to visit since forever - I am a geologist after all).  It came to a coin toss to make that trip instead of driving over to the Lakes (about 2000km) to see the John Butler Trio live.  

Back to the album.  It's a mix of folk, blues, rock, roots and balads.  The guitar and rhythm are key to all their songs, and combine funky riffs, rhythm and clever lyrics.  John Butlers voice isn't technically the best, and I don't think it would work outside of the folk genre as it's quite rugged and down-to-earth, but the important thing on this album (and with this band) is the juxtaposition of vocals and instrumental and the instrumental solos are important for most songs.

They use a variety of instruments: guitars, banjo, lapsteel, E-Bow, double bass, electric bass, piano, shakers, djembe, sticks, tikky tak electric guitar, congas, tambourine, marimba, darumbukka, marching bass drum, cymbals, kooky spoon solo ,many of which I only have a vague idea of what they are and some of which I don't have a clue.

Overall the album gets a 5/5 review from me and I've just listened to the album three times in a row to try and find some songs to rate lower than 5 for individual songs.  I believe it's generally considered that Zebra is the best song on the album, but for me the difference between that and the others are so miniscule as to be hardly worth mentioning and if I was to listen to the album again would probably change.  

(liver version, not album)

from Zebra

I could be rich like a wandering Gypsy
I could be poor like a fat wallet lost
I could be first or I could come last
It's not who breaks the ribbon
It's how you get across


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