I have a special admiration for bands that defy strict definition of style. If they manage to pull it off by remaining true to an identifiable sound, then all the better.
Sydney blues scene and east coast festival circuit regulars The Keith Hall and Pat Dow Band fall into that category – perhaps it’s the non-category category. They are certainly blues-based, but new album A Love Divine is so much more than just blues.
This album, launched with a gig at The Promethean, also covers roots, funk and soul, with dashes of New Orleans, Chicago and even country. The material is all original and is much more than revamped familiar blues themes and patterns. Stand-out songs are the title track “A Love Divine”, opener “Let Love Surround You”, “Mists of Blue” and “Way Too Much Fun”.
The core of the band is Keith Hall on bass, acoustic guitar and vocals; Pat Dow on lead guitar, and Peter Allan on drums. Hall has one of those classic blue-eyed blues/soul voices that always seem to sound positive and uplifting. Sydneysider Dow wears a perpetual “guitar face” as he twists and contorts body and expression, as if to drag every last bit of feeling out of his Stratocaster. He is in total control of his tone, utilising every nuance possible to provide plenty of variety, both clean and slightly overdriven. Allan is solid as you like on the kit and drives it all along relentlessly without fuss.
There are plenty of collaborators on the album, including lyricist Sue Neudegg, who contributes to six tracks with main writer Hall; two Pat Dow songs are also featured.
Well-known Adelaide blues-scene players who appear on the album were called to the stage at The Prom throughout the evening and made excellent contributions, including blues harp player Roger Smith, double-bass player Quinton Dunn and Hammond maestro Michael Meston. It was a good fun evening and many familiar faces in the audience were on hand to support live music.
The gig closed with a more open structured jam, with Barrie Pinder joining on harp, Evan Whetter from Lazy Eye on Hammond and singer Bonnie Galea, who wowed everyone with a killer version of the classic “Summertime”.
You couldn’t ask for a better venue than The Prometheum for an album launch. It has great atmosphere, excellent sound production and staging, cool seating arrangements and a more-than-adequate beverage selection.
More information about the Keith Hall and Pat Dow Band can be found on their official Facebook page.