Jimi Beavis’ Gentleman Giant has been an album in the marking since he was 19 when he developed a desire to one day put the songs he was writing into an album form. Or perhaps as a 16 year old, fuelled by his discovery of music of Bob Dylan and his contemporaries and then tracing back their influences to the blues and folk of the 1950s and earlier. His songwriting has improved since then and along the way he has amassed a knowledge of roots music from all areas, as well as formidable harmonica chops.
After recording two EPs as a solo artist, Jimi collected his favourite blues originals and his band and started recording Gentleman Giant in Brisbane’s humble Parsonage Studios with producer Steve Robin. The band laid down three songs over a weekend and returned in May to finish the rest off, along with two B-sides.
As with his previous recordings, the basic recordings were laid down live for drums, double bass, guitar, harmonica and vocals.
“The best blues is made with the musicians all perfoming at once, reacting off each other to make the music seem real,” said Jimi. “Some of my favourite blues albums, have that feel – listen to Muddy Waters’ Hard Again or Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues. The music feels like it is a living, breathing being.”
After the basic tracks were recorded, horns, percussion and piano were added for dramatic effect. Jimi even adds banjo and slide guitar on some tracks. Steve then makes the final mix through his ancient tape machine for old, warm sound of Jimi's favourite blues recordings. However, while Jimi loves the blues of yesteryear, he is also keen on doing something different.
“By no means am I rewriting the book on blues,” said Jimi. “But if I can find a different way of writing a blues song while keeping it authentically blues, then I will. At the same I think it is necessary to make my lyrics reflect my personal experience rather than echo the exact same kind of song as Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson or Willie Dixon – they had a different culture, they have a different way of doing things.”
released 27 November 2013
Jimi Beavis – vocals, harmonica, banjo, slide guitar, percussion, backing vocals and grunts
Dave McGuire – guitar and dry witticisms
Costas Constantinou – double bass and wet witticisms
Scott Nosworthy – drums on tracks 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and the general vibes, man.
Joachim Alfheim - drums, percussion on tracks 1, 2, 4 and backing vocals on track 1 and his amusing anecdotes about driving.
Trav Jenkins – piano on tracks 1, 4 and 5
Steve Robin – extra percussion, backing vocals and keyboards
Papa Joe Roberts – baritone sax on tracks 3 and 9 and clarinet on 10
Dan Quigley – trumpet on tracks 3, 5 and 10
Andrew Garton – tenor sax on tracks 3, 5 and 10
Ronan Lock, Ngaire Lock, Niyi Adepoyibi, Lauren Lucille and Ryan Wijeratne – handclaps, percussion on track 6 and party noises, percussion and backing vocals on track 10
Engineered, produced, mixed, mastered by Steve Robin at The Parsonage Studios. Ably assisted by studio owner Mr Geoff Parsons himself.
Cover Design by Brett Harris.
Cover Photo by Amanda Buckley and starring Jimi Beavis and Flash the Great Dane. Photography assisted by Flash-wrangler Catherine Smibert Toomey.
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