Beau Kavanagh & the Broken Hearted Good Day For Dyin'

Beau Kavanagh's second record begins with a throaty acoustic guitar peddling underneath the Montreal native's coy spoke-sung voice — a nice introduction in itself, but any blues album that begins with the perennial "Woke Up this Mornin'" is only going to head down roads already crowded with clichés and juke joint rip-offs. In fact, like many a blues outfit, the songs are mostly just an excuse to let Kavanagh rack up the mileage on his Gibson's solo-o-meter, giving little thought to originality of lyrics or song structure. It's too bad too, because there is a lot of potential here. Instead of re-treading ground that the Stray Cats ("Bad Car"), Stevie Ray Vaughn ("Putty & Paint"), Santana "Late Night Confessions" and Hendrix (covers of "Machine Gun" and "Catfish Blues") already left giant steps on, the band should recognise its unique strengths and mould them into a new sound. There is an alternative edge to some of the riffs and songs that, given the proper room to develop, could blossom into a neo-blues à la Jon Spencer or Grandpaboy. It'll be a good day for the blues when more artists drop the cheat sheets and break new ground. (Justin Time)