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Simon McBride: Crossing the Line

Last Updated 10/30/2012 11:36:53 AM

By: Rick J Bowen

Simon McBride Crossing the Line (Nugene)Simon McBride

Crossing the Line


Fear not, guitar aficionados, there is a new gunslinger in town, and his name is Simon McBride. Crossing the Line  marks the third album from McBride and the first in the U.S. 

Once people hear it, they will no doubt be wondering why we haven’t heard of the guy before.  McBride has been winning accolades all over the U.K and Europe since winning a “young guitarist of the year” competition at the age of 15 and signed with Nugene in 2008. The Belfast-born guitarist is Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa and Paul Rodgers rolled into one, and his third album proves he is for real. 

The strong 11 tracks feature some of the best guitar tone on record. McBride was aided by guitar guru Mr. Paul Reed Smith himself, who invited him to his personal studio to record – that’s some serious backing. The songs are mainly presented in the classic power trio format as McBride is joined by his wrecking crew of Paul Hamilton on drums and Carl Harvey on bass. Together they blast through riff-heavy blues rock with surgical precision. Their take on the Blood Sweat and Tears horn band soul classic “Go Down Gamblin’” is simply mind bending. The fuzzed out rocker “Heartbreaker,” a McBride original, is worthy of the name, while the sweet soulful “Home To Me” lilts across a groove so smooth it would seem more at home in Memphis than Ireland. 

McBride knows when to add even more fire to his majestic guitar sounds by mixing in superb vocalist Mia Simone to back him. The pair soars on the chorus of the power ballad “No Room to Breathe” and get spunky on the funk rock rambler “Don’t Be a Fool.” McBride also proves it’s not all electric guitar trickery by showing off his prowess on the acoustic guitar on the bluegrass inspired folktale “A Rock and a Storm.”  The album ends with a re-recording of “Down to the Wire,” which has appeared on McBride’s’ previous albums, but is given the full treatment here, creating the definitive version of what may become a rock guitar classic.

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