The multi-instrument has put down his trumpet, picked up a guitar and a band, and recorded a brooding country album
London-based musician Andy Watts – known as a session trumpeter and member of bands such as Running Club and 6 Day Riot – has been inspired to make a country-fused record. Jumping into the genre headfirst, it’s immediately apparent that Americana’s tear-stained waters make a welcome pool for his songwriting to swim around in. His intriguingly unlovely voice also finds a welcome home, rich with suffering as it struggles against the tide.
The presence of The Blue Mountain Rockers constantly elevates their leader’s work. Antonia Pagalutos’ violin lends Turn The Lights Out When You Go extra weight, while Aaron Feder’s dobro and Mike Searl’s upright bass add a welcome shonky feel throughout. Watts’ own thrilling virtuosity is constantly apparent, he may have put his trumpet down for this project, but his guitar playing is just as impressive, keeping pace with Pagalutos on the slippery Love You Less.
There are some minor missteps: Gimme The Whiskey falls into familiar genre tropes and a cover of Chris Stapleton’s Parachute doesn’t appear too vital in the context of the record. However, neither overshadow what is a beguiling listen. Ballad Of A Broken Man, Why Not Now and You Got The Light run deep with emotion, command attention and demonstrate that – along with his bandmates – Watts has made a notable splash.
Verdict: An assured venture into Americana