Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
There is no mystery, no sleight of hand or conjuring trick visible, intended or perceived when you listen to Jared James Nichols perform. The appeal, the dedication and the captivating are all too real, all too genuine to be anything but truth wrapped up in fingers that play with the authority of the Blues Masters of old and the mind that won’t stop playing with notes and lyrics; if it must be seen as magic, then it must be dark, that ol’ Black Magic which even Faustus would shy away from.
For in the realms of Black Magic lives ten songs that get underneath the skin and weave themselves tightly around the heart, they are the spells in which the return of one of the most delightfully skilled and positive Blues/ Rock players of his generation has revealed from the bottles and seen them produce frank and authentic beauty.
Coming on the back of 2015’s Old Glory & The Wild Revival, the Los Angeles based musician has once again produced an album which stirs the imagination and allows the potion of healing qualities to seep down deep and have the listener more than wanting to book a ticket to America and see the magician first hand in all his humble grandeur.
It comes down to dedication when dealing with the Blues, lose the love of it and treats you like a bitter mistress, keep playing, experimenting, taking the calluses to their bitter end and the Blues will perform tricks and the captivating, yet unexplained, with vigour and life. There is no doubting the enthusiasm and devotion in Mr. Nichols playing and in songs such as The Gun, the inspired homage to Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers in Home, End of Time and the heartbreaking beauty and attitude in Keep Your Light On Mama, that fever pitch passion never lets go for a single moment.
Black Magic or just decent and industrious work by a musician at play, either way it works perfectly, a sense of timing, of having the songs just right, of being more than just another notch in the Blues belt, the album adds yet more weight to the truth that resides in this young Wisconsin wizard.
Jared James Nichols releases Black Magic on 27th October.
Ian D. Hall