Bound For The Blues… comes over the horizon as the sun sets, casting long shadows on the red earth and scaring off hungry coyotes. Whooping and hollering like undead cowboys it beams out 10,000 watts of pure rock’n’roll. It starts with a burst of catchy 60s groove and finishes with the end of the world. What more could you ask for? ‘Last Night I Met The Devil’ is early out of the gates, packed with as much hellfire as you’d expect, and plenty of wailing sax to boot, it sounds like Morphine, set on fire. And then, tear jerker/heartstring yanker ‘No Weight’ bats its eyelids with a familiar guitar tone and a backbone of country gospel and vertebrae of ethereal Rhodes keyboard. Backed by the brilliant Dirty Skirt Band, with guitarist Jo Brockman lending her vocal harmonies to the fray, this tune can do no wrong.
Without being born in this country, native Glaswegian McCann does a better job of Australian music than plenty of other more famous artists. If they weren’t so difficult to fit in the mailbox, I’d post him a shovel that he could use to bury those Idol bastards like we all want him to. This is the music that should be oozing from speakers across the nation. It sounds, quite literally, like Natalie Basingthwaite’s throat being cut with a rusty straight razor. Drones fans should pick this up out of a sense of completion, everyone else should get it out of a sense of national pride."
Reviewed by Tal Wallace, Time Off magazine
"JAMES McCANN is an ardent student of Australian rock'n'roll. His music draws on the jagged sounds of classic bands such as The Stems, The Beasts Of Bourbon, The Scientists, The Saints and The Laughing Clowns. Like them, his love of raucous rock'n'roll doesn't come at the expense of insightful lyrics and great hooks. It is McCann's third release in three years on Andrew McGee's Torn and Frayed label and was produced by Aaron Cupples. It's appropriate his music his music is released on a label called Torn and Frayed because, like the Stones' song of the same name, McCann's music is underpinned by a sense of world-weariness. Bluesy rock can start to sound monotonous but Johanna Brockman's vocals provide a nice counterpoint to McCann's grunt. Ballsy opener What's Inside
and horn-driven belters Last Night I Met The Devil
are tempered by the stunning slow-burners No Weight
and Bound For The Blues
. The CD is available at independent record stores and on limited vinyl release through French label Beast Records."
Patrick Donovan, The Age
"It's been a while since James McCann's last release, though he hasn't been quiet. He plays pretty regularly, and seems to have a floating band of friends and guests who swap in and out as needed. Here the musicians are credited as the Dirty Skirt Band.
This is, as you may expect from the title, a tad bluesier than his previous album, "Where Was I Then?" but is basically the same kind of solid guitar based stuff. He has a knack for a short honest lyric phrase, as well as one for thick echoing guitar work-outs. That's not to say this is unsubtle, though.
On Torn & Frayed Records, probably the only notable thing currently coming out of Nagambie."
TJ Honeysuckle, Last Tram Home
"James McCann's 2006 album Where Was I Then
was awash with personal catharsis, an intense soundtrack to events in McCann's life that
warranted musical attention. Not only was the album a sleeping giant of a record, it also - unwittingly, at first - provided the catalyst for the next stage in McCann's musical journey, when McCann threw together the (subsequently titled) Dirty Skirt Band to help him promote the record. Three years later, and Bound for the Blues
is the long (long) promised debut record for James McCann featuring his Dirty Skirt Band. If Where Was I Then
was a sparse and intense personal document, and Sweet Casualty
an impromptu moment of regional community, Bound for the Blues
is an illustration of the irrepressible power of the blues. What's Inside
- a track that dates back to McCann's tenure in The Drones - stomps like a motherfucker and sweats like a bastard and pins your puny body against the wall while demanding attention. Cut swaggers and sneers like Viv Richards swatting red leather flies over the mid-wicket fence, No Weight
is a nocturnal wander through the unsealed roads of rural Australia with only a weathered metallic tape of Hank Williams to see you through and Restless Nights
is an exercise in controlled rock'n'roll aggression.
The tempo drops back on I Started A Fire
; on the cosy and romantic Bound for the Blues
you're warm, comfortable and nestled up to the fire with a single malt scotch. Start out on Sidewalk
and you're reminded of the guttural Hunters and Collectors before the dark world of the music industry stripped their heart and soul for commercial ends; hand out to the climax and you're saturated with the frenetic beauty only good rock'n'roll can give.
But if you really need proof that Bound for the Blues
is one of The Albums of 2009, skip straight to Last Night I Met the Devil
and revel in its invocation of the mythology of Robert Johnson, unhinged power of The Stooges and the chaotic sonic drama of The Drones. If this is where life's crossroads leads to, take me there, post-haste."
Reviewed by Patrick Emery, Beat Magazine
Issue 1182, 2 September 2009
"That James McCann isn't a household name is a national disgrace. The Melbourne-via-Sydney-and-Perth singer/guitarist packs an awe-inspiring quotient of talent and shows plenty of it on "Bound For The Blues…"
There's a harder production ethos than "Last Night I Met The Devil" and while it lacks the warm intimacy of that album, there are still lots of reasons to like "Bound For the Blues…" Much of the attraction is the songwriting and the playing of the Dirty Skirt Band is first-class.
Although his regular live outfit, this is the Dirty Skirt Band's first full album with McCann. They are band whose members are comfortable with each other and the guitar jams between McCann and Johanna Brockman on the extended "Last Night I Met The Devil", the scorching "Sidewalk" and the sax-assisted "Cut" border on apocalyptic.
As the title infers, these 10 songs have their basis in the blues but don't expect a tired take on 12-bar. Ripples of dry country rock and an undertow of swampy grooves permeate this album that at times crackles like heat on an outback plain.
McCann is a commanding vocalist who never lets the intensity of the moment overshadow the songs. "I Started A Fire" is a good case in point, uncoiling over the course of six-and-a-half minutes with an undercurrent of feedback scything through. The Dirty Skirt Band can play it deftly too, as the strident but at times title track testifies.
Half the songs top the six-minute mark so there's plenty of room for McCann and band to display their chops. Parts of "Bound For the Blues…" are about textures with sax and Hammond organ coming into play. Most are about noisy, and at times glorious, crescendos.
Top 40 fodder it is not but who wants to chomp on that sort of confected shit sandwich. McCann deals it straight. Pay attention."
The Barman, www.i94bar.com
"Après un album chez les basques de Bang!, James McCann revient avec ce disque Bound For The Blues
... Dix morceaux à rapprocher du GUN CLUB, de NEIL YOUNG, des early
SCIENTISTS ou des DRONES, dont, ne l'oublions pas, il a fait partie au tout début. Toujours quelques ballades mélancoliques comme sur ses précédentes productions mais avec une orchestration plus musclée, et par ailleurs des morceaux gorgés de saturation d'un feeling renversant ("What's Inside", "Last Night I Met The Devil" et son final bruitiste comme un "Funhouse" du bayou). Le son est la hauteur, les cuivres et les choeurs féminins viennent parfois soutenir la machine. C'est propre, envoûtant et ça peut par moment vous laisser sur le séant"
Lo' Spider, DIG IT!