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Simon McBride – ‘The Fighter’

Joe Bonamassa, Davy Knowles, Ryan McGarvey, Rory Gallagher
Release Date

Simon McBride is coming into his own as one of Ireland’s premiere Blues Rock players. Some say he is the natural heir to Rory Gallagher or Gary Moore. No disrespect to Gary or Rory, of course, but if the right stars align, McBride is destined for a much higher status.

Chock full of beefy guitar and soulful rhythms, ‘The Fighter’ is everything you want in a Blues Rock album. True, there are many to choose from these days, but for my money McBride amiably straddles the line between flurry of Walter Trout and the easy leanings of Robben Ford. ‘The Fighter’ offers the perfect combination of all things good.

“Kingdoms” is a slinky hip shaker that stings and dazzles with its fretboard pyro, yet the heart of the Blues remains proudly on display. “Back To You” and “Just Takes Time” deftly borrow from the early Bonamassa playbook, while the searing blue-eyed soul of “Let Me Go” is wholly magical. Between the grit and gravel of “100 Days” and infectious boogie of “King of the Hill,” there isn’t much not to like here. Beautifully recorded, the backing vocals adding an edifying layer to already spectacular production. Sometimes, the album sounds a little too polished. Inherently, the Blues has plenty of rough edges, adding to its persona. But as Ireland is so darned enchanting, I’ll have to let this slide.

As evidenced by the title track’s video, ‘The Fighter’ “has the fire inside.” A real victory for McBride and his team. One to watch for sure.

"‘The Fighter’ offers the perfect combination of all things good"

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