LEE ROGERS Drawing Clocks Zenith Cafe ZENCAFCDA106 (2006)
Lee Rogers has been dubbed 'the 21st Century Van Morrison'. A damn tall order, but the release of his debut album Drawing Clocks looks set to propel him towards fulfilling that prophecy.
Much lauded by those in the know (Sting guitarist Dominic Miller, Arnold McCuller form the James Taylor Band, and Paul Brady) this singer - songwriter from Northern Ireland is something of a throwback - an acoustic blues/rock player graced with a voice somewhere between Paul Rodgers, Sir Cliff and Van The Man.
The album opens on a high note with Brian Writes Poetry an unbelievably instant acoustic blues number graced with some excellent slide guitar work, a great hook, and wonderful 'Paul Rodgers' vocals. It immediately grabs your attention.
On first listen the rest of the album struggles to live up to the standard set by 'Brian Writes Poetry' with Rogers' vocals moving increasingly from gravel edged rock into smooth Sir Cliff / Van Morrison territory. Close your eyes and the similarities in phasing and delivery are remarkable. That's no bad thing, but I'm sure Lee wouldn't want to be labelled a clone.
But as with many great albums, perseverance is the key. And after several plays 'Drawing Clocks' really begins to get under your skin - more subtleties and hooks emerging with every spin. 'Nevermind' is sublime and the forthcoming single 'Love, Love, Love' wonderfully soulful. The title track is infectious and 'More Than One Place' is another excellent blues number.
The current vogue seems to be to release 39/40 minute albums. Not so 'Drawing Clocks' where you get a value-for-money-busting 14 tracks spread over 64 minutes. It's not a record that rocks out at any point - but if you like your rock laid back and blues laced then this could be right up your street.