Ross Neilsen Alone, Volume 1: Official Bootleg Series

Ross Neilsen Alone, Volume 1: Official Bootleg Series
Ross Neilsen is a hometown hero in his native Fredericton, NB, having come up the local blues totem pole in the time-honoured way: working his ass off. Fronting his band, the Sufferin' Bastards, Ross goes beyond playing the blues — he attacks it, peppering it with rock energy and a youthful vigour that elevate each and every performance. This explains his multiple ECMA nominations and his regional popularity, which he's fixing to expand based on tireless touring across the country. His work ethic ensures his success in a business where there are usually no guarantees. But Ross is one smart cookie and his original tunes sound every bit as authentic as his choice of covers. This stripped down performance takes him back to his beginnings: a chair, a guitar and a microphone. In this context, his substantial ability on guitar is highlighted and the soulfulness injected into his vocals pays considerable tribute to the old school masters. "She Ain't You" is, for example, a fine demonstration of what this one-man band can do, and how he'll bend a classic tune like "Dust My Broom" to his purposes — the stories become his stories and he knows how to entertain his audience. This is one bastard worth catching live. (Independent)