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AYNSLEY LISTER Upside Down RUF1124 (2007)

Aynsley Lister

'Upside Down' is Aynsley Lister's first solo album since his successful 'Pilgimage/Blues Caravan' collaboration, and his first with his new band.. It is therefore pleasing to report that this is easily his best ever album.

We always knew Aynsley to be a top notch guitar slinger but he has brought a new found song-writing sensibility to bear on some classy melodic rock. Of course he's had his moments before with such gems as 'Angel 'O' Mine', but this album takes him up to a new level.

Unsurprisingly, Aynsley has shifted the focus slightly away from rocking blues to a more AOR approach of yore but at the same time he displays a new maturity in his song writing. Thus while the straight to the vein rocker 'Find My Way Home', along with the slide led, powerhouse feel of 'In the Morning' and the pounding rhythmic pattern of the title track confirm the qualities we already new about, there's a new confident undercurrent that branches out in new directions.

Rock Blues fans will undoubtedly lap up the brace of outstanding, guitar led shuffles, most notably 'With Me Tonight' - which employs a David Grissom style Texas feel - and the monster undertow that drives 'Disorderly Me', but there's some real light and shade here and a good use of dynamics.thoroughout the set.

Even the acoustic efforts, rather than being a brief respite from some serious riffing, dig deep both in terms of emotional content and lyrical expression. The suitable titled 'Beautiful' is a lovely ode to his daughter while on 'Rain' Aynsley brings real presence to the fore. And in a market dominated by a million notes offering all too few moments of real insight and meaning, Aynsley Lister has stepped up to the plate with an excellent album that is full of effortless playing and first class production values. He works up some melodic grooves, delivers several catchy hooks, and uncovers moments of real feel. The whole thing is driven by some killer licks that provide the fuel for a very impressive album which might just unlock some deserved Stateside radio airplay.


Review by Pete Feenstra

DVD review


With Me Tonight

© 2007 Ruf Records. All rights reserved.

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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