Jeb Cardwell “My Friend Defiance”

Bloodshot Records, 2021

Melbourne’s answer to Tom Petty fires his first shots.

jeb Cardwell 'My Friend Defiance ' album cover imageSwimming out the swamps of Melbourne, Australia!? This is as good a piece of Americana this reviewer has heard in a while. Jeb Cardwell has a reek of authenticity that his nationality may belie and there is much to enjoy here.

Opening with the stately, gothic ‘Self Doubt’, a banjo-driven hymnal featuring some keening slide guitar and some mournful vocals the scene is set. ‘Blood Moon’ is a tight bluesy stomp without resorting to AM rock pastiche, the vocals are upfront and drawled and the guitars twinned and exquisite. ‘Dreaming of You’ a snappy, Pettyesque number with Cardwell’s vocals again front and centre and a lovely chorus that hits the spot as the band kick into gear.

There is real commercial savvy at play here and the production is top-notch splashing the whole with spots of Hammond and harmonies and hints of JJ Cale in the guitar solo. The Cale reference also works for ‘Early Days’, a mumbled shuffle straight out of his songbook. ‘Can’t Stop Me’ surprises with its Harrison slide and Wilbury’s vibe, and therein lies the secret of this album. It is a collection of great songs that repay revisiting with both surprises and familiarity cropping up in equal measure. There is a talent here that I am sure we are going to hear a lot about as the world opens up again.


About Keith Hargreaves 394 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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