P L Williamson – Whirlwind
Rock fans may remember P. L Williamson from his days as guitarist with Aussie band Mammal. Those of us who attended their show at Rios (Leeds) in September 2009 were mesmerised by the performance. I once wrote that great guitar work is indistinguishable from magic, and Pete Williamson is certainly a great guitarist.
Sadly, Mammal split up in 2009 but thankfully reunited in 2017. In the interim, Pete has produced some awesome music of his own. His debut EP ‘Whirlwind’ shows not only that he’s a great guitarist but that he’s also capable of writing the catchiest foot stomping blues this side of Mississippi.
Pete lives more than 9,000 miles away from Mississippi on a ranch near Melbourne. But this offering is so authentically blues that you would be forgiven for thinking he was the son of Elmore James, or John Lee Hooker.
The 4 tracks on the EP cover topics as diverse as alien encounters and losing your hat in the wind. Trivial stuff it might seem, but it is delivered with the same intensity as an Aussie bowler in an Ashes test match.
The first song is the title track ‘Whirlwind’ and incorporates some fabulous slide guitar, as well as Pete’s unique foot stomping percussion. I defy anyone not to tap along with this one; it’s such a catchy beat.
The second offering is ‘One Arm Bandit’ which bounces along from start to finish and showcases the playful side of Pete’s song writing. On this occasion he’s poking gentle fun at the obsession of playing slot machines. Pete delivers the lines with perfect emotional pitch and the fat guitar sound adds a lovely depth to the song.
Up next is ‘Old Friend’ which has a slower pace but is still emotionally charged. Harmonised vocals and a dreamy feel to the chorus make this the perfect song to smooch to with your partner.
The pace picks up again for the final number ‘Unidentified’. Here Pete weaves a wonderful story about the time the engine stopped on his tractor and in the night sky he saw a bright light which is – Unidentified. At 3 minutes 9 seconds it’s a perfectly executed song, and when he sings “I’m not alone, the burdens long gone, arms outstretched to teleport the sky” you somehow just want to join him on the journey.
In a world of gyrating porno pop princesses and made for TV boy bands it’s rewarding to find someone as musically authentic as P. L. Williamson. Long may he keep stomping the blues.
(July 2014 edited Nov 2020)