The phenomenal thing about Alex McKown is the sound he’s able to produce at the young age of 17 years old. That’s right, the meticulously crafted blues guitar work you’ll hear on Go With The Flow is the product of a 17-year-old’s obsession with his instrument. McKown admits to playing alongside Eric Clapton and BB King’s records while growing up, and the legends’ influence can mostly be heard on McKown’s solo debut. McKown’s guitar is supported by a Hammond and at times by various horn arrangements, making Go With The Flow a positive, up-beat record.
Despite its basic foundation in classic blues, Go With The Flow feels like it’s pushing forward in a way that doesn’t always connect. There’s a strong emphasis on funky, dirty low-end riffs and popping guitar. Of course, this gives McKown ample room to show off his power on a six-string, and for a 17-year-old guitar prodigy it makes sense that this is the driving force behind Alex McKown’s construction of Go With The Flow.
It’s also a shame that McKown chose to create the album’s slower moments with acoustic ballads rather than with slow twelve-bar jams. This isn’t to call Go With The Flow’s acoustic tracks necessarily bad; “Paint That Picture” shifts between being a youthful, upbeat track to something a little more edgy at the chorus that brings the song to life just long enough for you to miss it when it’s gone, and “Finding Me” is an acoustic romp over a steady drumbeat that rubs shoulders with country music and features perhaps McKown’s best vocal performance.
As far as a guitar record goes, Go With The Flow delivers what it promises, and that’s a young guy whose sound is developed far past his age. It’s easy to see where Alex McKown is coming from – it’s where he’s going that’s still undecided. A solid record with a little room for growth is really a promising sign for someone so young. Keep your eye on this one.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Ruin What We’re Doin’
– Go With The Flow
– Finding Me
The Big Hit
– Go With The Flow
Review by Richard MacDougall