Steve Tallis


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If there is a form of blues particular to Australia, it might be the blues of Steve Tallis, as his songs and arrangements aren't mere copies or variations of the familiar forms pioneered in the 20th century in the United States. They marry a backwoods rural blues feel with some elemental tribal-flavored rhythms, some shades of old-time country music (particularly through Dave Clarke's violin), and gut-wrenching vocals. There's a little bit of a medicine man vibe around the work, as if it's a long ritual that goes on for some time -- 71 minutes in the case of this CD -- with minor variations. As impressive as all those elements are, they might sound like a more intriguing combination on paper than they do on record, as the individual songs can be repetitious both melodywise and groovewise. In his compositions, Tallis gives his personal takes on serious issues (which sometimes intermingle) like racism, spirituality, and romance, contributing to the overall fairly grave tone of this album.

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