Simon McBride: Nine Lives Review

It takes a certain kind of character to make a high caliber blues rock musician and after listening to Simon McBride’s latest album, Nine Lives, it is clear that he can stand alongside the titans of the genre. The Northern Irish guitarist and singer was completely self-taught and as teenager he was already on the path to becoming a musician of great stature. This album calls for immediate recognition as it features nine live and four acoustic tracks, showing that McBride’s ability not only lies in studio recording.

The album kicks off with a passionate rendition of “Down To The Wire,” a track originally from his second album. McBride seems to come at the song in every way he does the original, intensely piercing and transfixing. The sustain and slight crunch of the guitar generate that blues rock tone often associated with guitar legends such as Bonamassa and Moore. The package is made complete with the blended husky vocal line. Other notable live tracks include “Power Of Soul” and “Rich Man Falling.” Both demonstrate McBride’s innate guitar artistry and they contain all that is desired in a good blues rock song, from flaring light-fingered solos to commanding punchy riffs.

The last four tracks bestow a far quieter presence over the album, but it is by no means buttoned-up. There is still plenty of emphatic drive, proving that McBride can adapt his impressive talent and display it with a more stripped down performance. The last track “Devils Road” is definitely worth your ear bearing witness to.

In all, this is a marvelous collection of live music that has been merged with several well thought-out acoustic adaptations. It is absolutely worth a listen, especially at a live show.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Down To The Wire
– Rich Man Falling
– Down To The River
– Power Of Soul
– Devils Road (acoustic)

The Big Hit

– Rich Man Falling

Review by George Ward

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