Friday, August 22, 2008

Review -- MORELAND & ARBUCKLE -- 1861

Moreland & Arbuckle
Northernblues Music
Good blues music is often soulful music, and when you hear the vocals of Dustin Arbuckle, soulful is the first thing which comes to mind. Add in his solid harmonica work, and you quickly become a fan.
Arbuckle was born in Kansas on December 25, 1981. Santa was clearly in the mood to give blues music a big present that year. Arbuckle “followed his muse to play at 15 after hearing Elmore James and B.B. King, though the blues harp lessons would become his vocation,” stated bio material on the band website (
The other half of this CD is Aaron Moreland. 'Chainsaw' Moreland grew up in Kansas where his earliest memories are said to have been of hearing 8-track tapes of Kiss and Led Zeppelin records. "As he grew, Moreland felt compelled to become a musician as his only option and began playing guitar at 15, serving his apprenticeship in rock bands until hearing Son House seven years later. His total immersion in the rawest prewar blues even extends to his choice of instruments that include a fretless, four-string “cigar box” guitar that contains a bass string, a National Steel and a funky old parlor guitar," states the band's website.
Together this pair pelts out blues music with the soul of the past and the urgency of more modernistic rock. There are elements of Mississippi Hill Country, Delta and rural blues here, but also a sort of southern-fried rock overlay on cuts such as Diamond Ring which give the sound a freshness too.
Two previous CDs, the acoustic Caney Valley Blues (2005) and electric Floyd’s Market (2006) preceded their NorthernBlues debut 1861, named for the year Kansas joined the Union. You have to credit the Canadian label with going out and signing these guys. This is blues which connects to the past, and looks to the future. It should appeal to a huge cross section of fans, from those in love with the roots of blues, to those who enjoy a touch of rockabilly rock mixed in.
This is a truly killer effort, which should launch Moreland & Arbuckle to greater heights in the blues world. Grab it!

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 13, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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