John Butler Trio – Flesh & Blood (2014)
Aussie roots virtuoso John Butler is known for his masterful lap-steel talent, as well as his unusual preference for playing acoustic guitars through a variety of pedals and distorted Marshall amps. But when it comes to the playing of stringed instruments, he virtually does it all, and extremely well at that, with a rare air of originality. JBT carved a niche in the jam-blues circuit with the success of Sunrise Over Sea in 2004, and has since built a following with accessible songwriting and experimental multi-instrumentalism that includes Australia’s beloved didgeridoo.
So it should be no surprise that this album is richly textured, going from clean to feeding-back 12-string fingerstyle excursions, and then to Weissenborn–fueled exclamations (“Livin’ in the City” and “Devil Woman”), while the last quarter of the album moves to a mellower, more melodically haunting pace. It may be his best guitar record yet, and the specialness lies in that it isn’t only that.