CD 1: 12 Songs; 62 Minutes – CD 2: 12 Songs, 57 Minutes
Styles: Acoustic Blues, Electric Blues, All Original Songs
Dear Blues Fans: I’d like to journey with you into the world of art for a moment. Take a look at the Monet exhibit. Water lilies everywhere, in every kind of light. Now let’s check out the Andy Warhol section. Campbell’s Soup cans are his thing. And the famous statue David?Three artists sculpted their incarnation of the same man: Michelangelo, Donatello and Verrocchio. The moral here? There’s nothing wrong with portraying the same subject in different ways. In fact, doing so can lead to national and international fame.
Consider blues rocker Julian Sas’ latest album, Electracoustic. It’s a 2-CD set covering the same twelve original songs in electric and acoustic versions. Which raises the question: If you’re a die-hard fan of either style, why spend time listening to the other one? Here are my answers: variety, comparison and contrast, and the sheer difference in vibes. An edgy, gritty number on a shredder morphs into a pensive one on acoustic guitar. “These Blues are Killing Me Anyhow,” track three on each CD, is a prime example of this. And the reggae-infused anthem “Liberation” packs a wallop on both of Sas’ instruments of choice. Although his vocals are conversational, he’s a witty songwriter and master of rapport with his band. Julian knows how to let everyone shine.
In the liner notes/lyrics booklet, he reveals a bit about how this release came to be: “The album you are looking at was recorded in the autumn of 2021. The music reflects our thoughts and feelings that heavily impacted our lives during a period that was an emotional rollercoaster.” After one of his fellow musicians, Fotis, came down with a terminal disease, Sas and the rest of the band went to the hospital in shifts and finally sent him back home to Athens so he could spend his final days in peace. Afterward, he says, “I was listening to some of the demos a few months later and called the other guys. The music was there. It was good, honest, and waiting for us. It was the right time to pick up the pieces and share the music with you.”
Performing alongside Julian (guitars and vocals) are Roland Bakker on Hammond organ and piano, and Lars-Erik Van Elzakker on drums and percussion.
My electric picks for this 2-CD extravaganza are the two I mentioned earlier, plus “Coming Your Way,” “Falling from the Edge of the World” and “Always on the Run.” That last one’s a piano-blasting blast! Her acoustic picks include “World on Fire” with blazing riffs and lovely harmonies, “Just a Song” (which is more than just a song), and “Devil at the Door” with a sly and jazzy bongo beat. What I like best about the two versions of each song is that they’re not exact retreads of one another. They have their own quirks and delightful idiosyncrasies.
Electracoustic is a 2-CD treat, suitable for a summer kickoff barbecue or party at home!
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 43 year old female Blues fan. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.