Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Duke Garwood 'Heavy Love'

Duke Garwood is the multi-instrumentalist genius that has graced our blues scene for years: with four albums down and a new one in the midst, Garwood is one of those diamonds in the rough that is only just coming to surface. 

Garwood is a well-established name amongst his contemporaries. He played guitar on electronic group The Orb’s single “Perpetual Dawn” and the clarinet andrhaita on Archie Bronson Outfit’s first two albums, amongst a wealth of other guest appearances. Perhaps most crucial to his success however is his involvement with the rock musician singer-songwriter Mark Lanegan. Garwood appeared on Lanegan’s album Blues Funeral before the pair produced their debut collaboration album Black Pudding in May 2013. 

Heavily successful, the release of Black Pudding spurred Garwood to focus on his new solo album Heavy Love, set for release on February 9th, 2015 via Heavenly. The album will be Garwood’s fifth, following Holy Week, Emerald Palace, The Sand That Falls and the most recent Dreamboatsafari in 2011. Since Lanegan described working with Garwood as “one of the best experiences of his recording life”, Heavy Love, which saw Lanegan at the helm, is sure to be an interstellar success.

Garwood’s new musing offers much of the dark, gritty blues that we have seen in his earlier work. Throughout, Garwood’s vocals burn through red-hot melodies and snaking rhythms. The title track of the album features Savages vocalist Jehnny Beth, and has an irresistible lazy Sunday morning feeling. Beautifully executed, the track oozes a feverish kind of sexuality that layers so well over the playful blues chords.

Photo - Steve Gullick
Heavy Love slithers through ten soul-stirring tracks, each one more enjoyable than the last. ‘My Suppertime Hell’ features some outstanding guitar work; there is an incredible tranquility to this track (and indeed the whole album), a real desert-like quality that resonates throughout. As good friend Josh T. Pearson has commented, in his latest offering Garwood gets “as close to Heaven as you can get with a guitar”. It’s not hard to see where Pearson is coming from; Garwood’s masterful grip on not only the guitar but the many other instruments he turns his hand to - drums, shakers, horns to name a few - is godlike.

I get the feeling Heavy Love is an album infinitely tied with personal connections - Garwood’s heart and soul seem so heavily rooted in this work. Longtime friends Jehnny Beth, Mark Lanegan, Dan Beban (who was present for much of the album’s recording) and many more have a presence on this album alongside Garwood himself. There is a deeply personal quality to his music, and this is truly warming to listen to.

Praised unreservedly by the likes of Seasick Steve, Mark Lanegan and many other heralded blues and rock musicians, it is now well and truly Duke Garwood’s time to shine. You can catch him on his European tour that runs through into March. It’s going to be a big year. 

Words - Claudia Turnbull

Heavy Love is released on Heavenly Feb 9th
Duke Garwood Official

Watch 'Heavy Love' ...