# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Aaron Keylock - Cut Against the Grain

  by Fiona Hutchings

published: 25 / 2 / 2017

Aaron Keylock - Cut Against the Grain
Label: Provogue
Format: CD


First-rate debut album from teenage blues sensation Aaron Keylock in which trying to separate the music from the myth-making proves a challenge yet it also has its own kind of magic

It's a slick riff that opens this guitar-toting prodigy's debut album. 'All the Right Moves' invokes the spirit of 70's blues rock and smokey bars, low lights and lower lives. so the undeniably youthful vocals come as something of a surprise. Keylock can growl with the best of them but he can't quite disguise how youthful he sounds. For a split second when I first heard this I wondered if that's going to be distracting. Before the end of the track I was too caught up in the song to really care. But we will keep coming back to his age; it's hard not to. He'd already been declared the "new solo superstar" by 'Kerrang!' in their 2015 Fresh Blood List before he actually released anything, and aged just sixteen after killing it at Bloodstock in 2014 he was compared to Gary Moore. Aaron Keylock seems to have been a rock god in waiting since birth with his own mythology nicely forming even before he was of legal drinking age. The story goes that he first picked up a guitar aged eight and by the tender age of eleven was rocking clubs in his hometown of Oxford. By twelve he was arguing with club doormen, who for some reason were reluctant to let him into clubs he was booked to play. At thirteen our intrepid adventurer is playing every night of the week and being tutored in the way of guitar herodom by Joe Bonamassa, and at fourteen he is being bundled out the back door of the Camden Blues Kitchen while a city riots and burns around him. He's created stage smoke effects by having Harley Davidsons screech around him on stage, and at sixteen he is supporting US rockers Blackberry Smoke on their 'Leave a Scar' tour. By all accounts he slept in shops every night (were the hotels full?), and on one occasion slept in a workshop surrounded by motorbikes, rifles and snakes including a nine foot python. See what I mean about that mythology? I am a music writer so I am trying really hard to ignore the small but persistent voice in the back of my head muttering about child protection issues and legalities, but at least permit me a raised eyebrow. But enough of the back story, back to the actual music. 'Down' has a distinct whiff of country ear Arctic Monkeys about it, before 'Medicine Man' transports us to one of those weirdly semi-mystic American serial killer dramas making a killing right now (if you'll excuse the pun). 'Falling Again' is a footstomper, and 'Just One Question' is obviously where the comparisons to Moore have come from. It is haunting not just for invoking the late, great Belfast-born guitar legend but also in its own right. I struggle to really believe Keylock wrote this weary, tear-stained and broken-down love song at the age of thirteen. If you just read that twice, it took me a while to get my head around that too. Make no mistake though, the song doesn't come across as a tribute track. It's very much its own song but shows inspiration in its purest form. It shows a love and respect for the source but grows it's own way. If you only buy this album for this track, it is worth it, I promise. Keylock is open about how and where his heroes have influenced his songs. 'That's Not Me' was inspired by the Faces, and a bit of me is waiting for it to merge in to 'Stay With Me' but it never does. 'No Matter What the Cost' is "an expressive nod to the Allman Brothers." 'Against the Grain' has a hook about Bonnie and Clyde that immediately lodged itself in my brain and refuses to move. Keylock himself muses that the song "was penned about three years ago now and has grown on the road." 'Spin the Bottle' makes the age old art of drunkenly getting off with your friends sound way more dangerous and life changing than I remember. The album closes with 'No Matter what The Cost' which cements the image I suspect Aaron Keylock wants to leave us with, that of a long-haired hippy wild child. It's a more laidback number than some that proceed it with. The country twang of slide guitars sound languid and paint images or sunny late afternoons lazing around in a field with friends playing guitar and drinking beers kept cold in an ice bucket. It's a wet, grey Monday in Northern England as I write this so that's a pretty impressive image to render really. While the story of Aaron Keylock's formative years is fun, the proof of the hype is in the debut album. This one lives up to all the sensationalising and touting that has proceeded it. Yes, he is a very young man but this is not an album of ill- disguised covers or a boy pretending to be a man. It is authentic and wholly believable, not to mention very enjoyable. If he can produce this as a starter, I can't wait to see what comes next.

Track Listing:-
1 All The Right Moves
2 Down
3 Medicine Man
4 Falling Again
5 Just One Question
6 Against The Grain
7 That's Not Me
8 Try
9 Spin The Bottle
10 Sun's Gonna Shine
11 No Matter What The Cost

Band Links:-

Label Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors