It is rare to find music so complete, so perfectly layered and multi-faceted as that contained on this record. While the music is firmly within the "Blues" genre John Verity has set no parameters to restrict or constrain it. Rock, Country Blues, Rock n Roll, Urban Gutsy Blues, melodic and gentle at times, full on hard rock at others. Interwoven into the songs you will find humour, determination, protest and love. This master craftsman of the guitar has a perfect touch, eking out delightful sounds and great power from his guitar. The production is just right, subtle and gentle when it needs to be, in your face as required. The accompanying musicians are phenomenal, fitting right in to the musical ideas, providing the ideal platform for John Verity's extraordinary music to stand tall on. The collection looks backwards to recognise a deep, rich musical heritage and influence, it recognises today's messages and styles yet also looks forward to allow us a glimpse into the future of John's music. Every track has something unique - John's delightful singing voice. It is really hard to highlight a favourite track so I will simply encourage you to listen and make your own mind up. There are track you may already know and love, tracks you will surely come to know and love and it is that balance which makes this a great album.
If you've never seen or heard the John Verity band you have really missed someone very special indeed. Over many years from the early years with Argent John has produced some great blues based albums, done absolutely thousands of miles travelling up and down the land packing venues, has a vast base of fans who see him again and again. Recently he put out a live in 2017 DVD, one of those un-missable releases, and now comes what could well be the best album of his career, as well as the best electric blues album of the year. With his own touring band and some very fine musicians joining him, over the course of this release gives an album he should be more than proud of. Great songs, great performances, John not only has a great voice for his material but his exceptional guitar playing almost segues voice and guitar into one. This is really one of those absolutely must have albums, and already gaining more airplay than he has had before, John Verity comes with as said an album of exciting and pure class. Some of the songs are about life on the road, as a touring musician since he was fifteen years old, an autobiography in song, but throughout every track is a real stand out performance that no blues or guitar lover will want to miss. Alsolutely Recommended !
I saw John Verity playing unplugged with Bob Henrit (also ex-Argent) & Russ Rodford in a lovely little live music pub in St Albans the other day (Farmers Boy if anyone's interested) and, on the strength of that, bought the CD.
The day it arrived I had a long car journey and stuck it on. Let's just say it stayed on repeat the whole 3 hour journey!
I loved how varied the songs were, from 3 minute standards like Alabama Blues to the exquisite original A Better Way. The first time I heard the latter track on the CD I just had to play it again...and again...and again. Would make a great single if DJ's were brave enough to play it in full!
John's guitar playing is a joy, whether it be soulful acoustic or driving amplified in style. What marks him out from others, to my ears at least, is his timing and feel which are close to perfection.
I would sum up by saying this album is blues and then some. There's definitely life in "The Old Dog" yet!!
Of John Verity’s previous studio album, 2016's My Religion, this reviewer wrote that it was "the best of his bluesy bunch."
While that opinion still applies, it shouldn’t detract for just how good Blue To My Soul is, an album that, as its title reinforces, plays from where John Verity’s musical heart and soul lie, but with a more varied menu that flits between full on blues, radio friendly hooks and a couple of stylistically different offerings.
The melodic AOR styled blues of opening number 'Such a Feeling' leads off with an ultra-smooth six-string solo lick and that distinct Fret King Corona JV tone; the song then hits a melodic pop-blues groove that emphasises the feel-good factor of John Verity in full flow.
Lyrically 'Such a Feeling' describes Verity’s love of the blues and playing "out on the road, brothers in arms," of which a fair few play their part on Blue To My Soul, including drummers of choice Liam James Gray & Steve Rodford, his go-to bass buddies Bob Skeat, Jamie Mallender, John Gordon & Roger Inniss and tasty keyboard and piano textures from Bob Fridzema, Jamie Pipe and Ian Gibbons.
The blues-is-my-life mantra is a recurring theme on Blue To My Soul, stated unequivocally through the music and lyrics of the strutting, throwback blues of 'This Old Dog' and choice covers such as 'Never Gonna Change' and later-era Etta James number 'The Blues is My Business' (both covers carry serious blues rock and roll attitude with a splash of honky-tonk).
Two other covers feature on the album (a new-mixed-with-old John Verity trait) – the short but sweet cry of 'Alabama Blues' (most associated with Chicago blues musician J. B. Lenoir, here featuring Max Milligan on acoustic guitar) and a live recording of the Argent classic, 'Hold Your Head Up.'
The latter nods to John Verity’s past association with the 70s rock band albeit his time with Argent was shortly after they had held their heads up in the charts; it also closes out the album in fine, rearranged for power-trio and rock-blues fashion.
Beyond the covers and original material already mentioned two back-to-back, change of pace numbers deserve special mention. 'Wasted Years' is a blues/ rock ballad with a heartfelt crying-in-regret solo from John Verity while 'A Better Way,' which follows, is an acoustic reflection on a broken land, the state of the planet and what we are leaving for our children and the next generation.
"There’s got to be a better way" sings John Verity with a pleading vocality. I’d like to think so too, John, and if you find out what it is let me know because I’m struggling to come up with the solution in a world that has far more questions than answers.
Luckily however, I do know the answer to the question of who is the most consistent performer on the British blues rock circuit that never hits the headlines or looks to be flavour of the month -- it’s the man and musician who is blue to his soul.
What can I say, i have been A fan of JV since 1974, opening for Argent, then with Argent, seen him many times over the last 30 years either with a band or solo, but must say the past 2 years JV has had a 2nd wind I recently saw him at Ludlow Brewery, he made A lot of new friends and the feedback I got was, why haven't we heard more from him, Well to the new album, have to admit I did wonder how JV was going to follow up his last album, My Religion,not a problem it;s A great collection of covers and self-penned, everyone A gem, with an added live version of Hold your head up, so if you are on your travels and see JV is playing be sure to go , buy this cd, it has a feelgood factor, there is life in the old dog yet,
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this album.... Nothing compares to seeing JV live, up close, on stage....BUT this incredible collection of songs is a very, very good alternative. The album starts out with 'Such a Feeling' - a catching retro tune that reminds you there are artists that do still 'make music like they used to'. 'This Old Dog' is about as JV as you can get....a story of passion and dedication to a career making incredible music. The list goes on - with not one single song you'd want to skip past. This album was clearly made with love, by a man with a voice from out of this world....and guitar playing that blows your mind! I keep all of JV's albums in my car for long road trips, and I am super excited to be adding this one to the collection... buy it for yourself, or for all your rock and blues loving buddies - it is definitely one not to be missed. Rock on, JV!
The best John Verity CD yet. I listened to it in my car and was blown away. That voice really sings and the guitar talks. He just gets better and better. How does he keep improving? - the singing, the playing and the writing? – Talent! Well done John. By Chris White