Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Aynsley Lister - The Caves, Edinburgh, 6 December 2015

I don’t know why I like Aynsley Lister, but I do, yes I do, yes I do.  Which is to say, the guy isn’t easily pigeonholed.  Intuitively I position him in a space somewhere between Hamilton Loomis, King King and Paul Carrack.  Those may be tenuous comparisons – though KK’s Wayne Proctor did play drums on Lister’s latest album – but there’s a common thread of soulfulness about them that’s pertinent.
That latest album features heavily in this set, with the title track ‘Home’ grabbing the attention early, demonstrating his clear guitar tone and also a wonderful sense of control, of a promise of something more itching to break free.  ‘Broke’, meanwhile, isn’t just soulful but funky – in fact downright danceable.
When Lister switches guitars to his Strat he’s evidently bemused by an inability to get it
Aynsley Lister - Play that funky music, white boy!
tuned to his satisfaction.  But I suspect that mainly reflects his yearning for his precision, because I doubt if anyone else could tell the difference.  In any event ‘Hyde 2612’, with its injections of slide and funky chorus, is pleasingly ramped up from the album version, with a big guitar sound, jazzy interplay with Steve Amadeo on bass, and some elegant improvising around the melody in his solo.
‘What’s It All About’, from the 2009 album Equilibrium, has a more epic feel, with big guitar and bass figures, changes of rhythm, and washes of keyboard.  Meanwhile ‘Sugar’, from the latest album, is a boogie-time tale of lust.  Andy Price kicks things off with some lazy honky tonk piano, Lister delivers a wonkily bluesy solo, and the two of them go on to have some call-and-response fun.
As a taster for a new album slated for next year, we get a couple of new songs, ‘Other Part Of Me’ and ‘Stay’, the former particularly notable for Price’s soulful keyboard playing and instances of Lister’s ability to turn an original phrase, as in “we go together like the milk in your tea”.
Freddie King’s ‘I’m Tore Down’ is relaxed but purposeful, a great cover, with Boneto Dryden on drums embroidering to great effect around the shuffling beat.  The set closes with ‘Early Morning Dew’, on which Lister demonstrates his ability to add some country seasoning to his sound, before an encore of ‘Purple Rain’ – a long standing Lister favourite.

The feel good aspect of the whole set is unmistakable.  Aynsley Lister’s vocals may not quite have the richness of Paul Carrack, his soloing may not quite have the fire of Alan Nimmo – but shit, that’s exalted company by way of comparison.  I’ll be seeing him again.

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