It’s been 18 months since we last heard an album from Britain’s very own Snowy White. April 2019, we are presented with 12 new tracks from Snowy and co. You may know Snowy White from his days with Thin Lizzy (Chinatown and Renegade eras), his work with blues extraordinaire Peter Green or maybe even his time with Pink Floyd and later, Roger Waters.
Snowy describes The Situation as “my expression of where I was in 2018, up and down, good and bad, weak and strong – it’s all here, just doing my thing as usual, enjoying playing with all my musician friends”. Looks like we’re in for a reflective ride, let’s strap in!
Opening track “The Situation” holds down a steady groove around some dreamy, 60s esque vocals. Snowy isn’t reinventing the wheel here, but he’s not trying to. He’s doing what comes naturally, writing great, solid songs. Through the swirly textures, there are guitar harmonies that would sit nicely with his Thin Lizzy days. “This Feeling” is a slow, soul searching march through the human conscience, while there is some great, tasteful guitar playing in this track (Do I hear a slight Gilmore inspiration there?) I feel it lacks any real song structure.
Snowy, a guitar player by trade, needs a chance to shine. Instrumental track “L.A. Skip” takes us on a journey. It’s Spanish and Latin infused backing just transports you to a cantina bar, mojito in hand before we’re hit between the eyes with some fusion style guitar licks coupled with harmonies that sound like Carlos Santana has joined Thin Lizzy. This is a guitar players paradise.
“Can’t Seem to Do Much About It” has a great swagger. It reminds me in parts of a Stones-style track. Snowy’s guitar tone on this track is simply fantastic. It highlights the subtleties of his playing and allows you to really feel those notes. For a guitar player like this to not play some blues would be criminal so we dive headfirst into “Crazy Situation Blues”. I was always a fan of slower blues tracks and this is no different. Soft and gentle melodies flow between vocal lines and fragile, delicate guitar parts. As a guitar player, it’s hard not to hear the guitar tone on this track and not feel blown away.
“Blues in my Reflection” is a more upbeat stomp through the blues. The rhythm section is tight, the bass is thumping, the Hammond organ is singing and the guitar is wailing. What’s not to like?
“Who do I Still Have the Blues?” is another downtempo blues style track but there are many elements of Pink Floyd here. Snowy clearly took some inspiration from the Gilmore/Waters school of songwriting to craft this track. Let’s kick it up, “You Can’t Take It With You” takes us into a jazzy style shuffle, Snowy is showing off some of his more mind-bending guitar trickery here and crams an awful lot of song into less than 2 and a half minutes.
“Migration” by name, migration by nature. We’re back on that plane to Spain to embrace more Latin grooves and more brain twisting fusion playing. This track is another instrumental walk through just how good these guys can play together. Snowy isn’t playing with people who can get the job done, he’s playing with people who can PLAY!
“The Lying Game” covers the topic of people suffering and dying under a dithering political reign, somehow that feels strangely appropriate for modern times. A great song with a strong message to share.
“Hard Blues” is another great blues shuffle that showcases Snowy as a player. He’s able to weave in and out of the solid, thumping rhythm with some smooth guitar licks before rounding up with “I Can’t Imagine”. An epic ender for this album. It takes you on a journey as is builds up to the giant guitar solo of the middle track as it’s climax.
What really captivates me about this album is how Snowy and co have been able to place all the elements that we’d expect, keep it sounding relevant to their sound but amp it up with more modern production while maintaining the integrity and loose feel of days gone by. Bloody marvellous I say, bloody marvellous.
Author: Leigh Fuge
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