Hard Garden | Blue Yonder

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Blue Yonder

by Hard Garden

Stark, shamanistic Delta blues meets sequencers and digital beats to conjure a debut album so startlingly original as to knock expectations upside the head. The blues just entered the 21st century with a stunning new treatment.
Genre: Blues: Urban Blues
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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Feel Evil
3:59 $0.99
2. Depot Blues
2:58 $0.99
3. Hey Now Mary
2:51 $0.99
4. Papa's in the Juke Joint
4:15 $0.99
5. I Can Tell
3:04 $0.99
6. The Valley
4:04 $0.99
7. Dangerous
3:42 $0.99
8. Pour Me Another
4:24 $0.99
9. Maximum Insecurity (Remix)
2:42 $0.99
10. Showtime!
3:42 $0.99
11. Dangerous (Scudder Remix)
4:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
[Official release date January 7, 2014]
Modern blues tend to fall into several basic categories. However, occasionally a new band is so startlingly original as to knock expectations upside the head. The trio Hard Garden from Seattle spring from stark, shamanistic Delta blues and elements of popular music like sequencers and digital beats to conjure a debut album quite unlike anything else out there.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Son Jack, Jr is joined by Michael Wilde (harp, vocals) and Garrett Williams (guitar, percussion, bass and keyboards) on 10 genre-busting originals and one cover. The ominous shuffle “I Feel Evil” introduces Son’s menacing bass voice with “Well, who am I, where the hell did I come from, I feel evil all around me all night long” over pugnacious riffs and Wilde’s nasty harp licks. Son House’s “Depot Blues” stomps hard as Son Jack picks stone country blues guitar, the drums boom like empty barrels and Wilde weaves slithery harp lines. “Hey Now Mary” channels Hill Country “fife and drum” music with mesmerizing guitar riffs, an exotic gamelan and gunshot drums backing Son resisting an aggressive woman with “I said ‘Hey now Mary, why so fast? You don’t know nothin’ about my past’” until she reconsiders, the singer retorting “I said ‘Mary, please don’t change your mind. Now I’m thinkin’ you’re so fine’” in an ironic “love story.” “Papa’s in the Juke Joint” clangs like the hammers of hell, Son “rapping” about his dad in his natural blues growl “When I was 12 years old all I wanted was not to be you” until his monotonous middle class existence confirms why “Papa’s in the juke joint, shakin’ it down.”

The dramatic flamenco progression “I Can Tell” emphasizes venom like “You’ve got one hand on my shoulder and the other on your gun” and “ I can tell. I’ve met your kind before. Whatever you are selling would make a rich man poor” in a fierce attack on greed. Wilde sings “The Valley,” a chilling tale reminiscent of “St. James Infirmary” about a child abandoned by his father and his suicidal mother explaining “It’ll all be better when I’m gone” with his shocking denouement “‘That’s just fine,’ is what I said. I took the gun and aimed it at my head. I might as well come home, too, to keep an eye on you. Cause, won’t it be better when we’re gone.” Killer swamp blues dark as Delta dirt kicks the hypnotic “Dangerous,” a tough boast with a knife edge emblematic of the band, intensified by searing slide guitar and Son bragging “When you’re ducking for cover I’ll be running inside…It’s not an absence of fear; a presence of spine.” The hilariously “Pour Me Another” is a funky “shaggy dog story” about a talking dog in a bar as told by an “English” bloke becoming increasingly outrageous while remaining ambiguous as to his veracity.

“Maximum Insecurity” will have them dancing at the club as Wilde spins his humorous tale of woe from the “Cook County Jail” over a scary organ/bass riff, bleating harmonica and a slice of slide guitar. A chugging locomotive drum pattern propels “Showtime!” utilizing James Brown funk under rapped vocals, including suggestive asides, and “What time is it?” with the response “Showtime!” “Dangerous” returns as the closer in a hip “remix” version suitable for dancing.

The band describes their credo as “The blues is not unlike an old plot of land that was once fertile but has suffered from neglect over the years, and become a hard garden.” Make no mistake, they have broken new ground and are reaping a bumper crop of ripe, nourishing blues.
Dave Rubin
2005 KBA winner in Journalism



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