Home Read Albums Of The Week: Son Of Dave | A Flat City

Albums Of The Week: Son Of Dave | A Flat City

The one-man bluesnado proves you can go home again on his 11th studio album.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Being back in the Prairies after decades away opened up boxes of tightly wrapped bizarre things, memories and grief,” says Son Of Dave. “The joy and sorrow of the place drove me into the Alternative Blues studio to make more art for you. It’s made with big heart from way out West, to keep us alive and virile. Welcome back. Where’s the party at?”

Son Of Dave’s 11th album kicks off with homecoming outbursts. After 26 years in London U.K. he’s back in the Canadian Prairies demanding as much attention as always. Themes of flat Midwest cities, classic-rock lovin’ truckers, and a weird call for more mayonnaise will keep his multitude of international fans chuckling. The usual Son Of Dave bag of tricks colours the album: Blues-harmonica, beat-box, cheap electric guitar, and that voice that shouts and croons his own brand of blues-infused old-school R&B.

As always, he messes with different rhythms. But whether it’s funk, boogaloo, rock steady or techno, he’s always doing it his own way. How do you categorize a Son Of Dave album? He’s become his own style, loved and shared by millions of fans worldwide. That’s why you’ll find his music in the Breaking Bad soundtrack and many more. You’ll hear it on the hippest college radio or boomer generation blues programs from Switzerland to Argentina. A true maverick bluesman. But enough with the intro. On to the big show:

A Flat City’s slick opening tune Where’s The Party At features Celeigh Cardinal, soul vocalist and Indigenous Canadian artist A-list. Try A Little Hound Dog, the next song, lurches into classic Son Of Dave blues party terrain with a shout-out to Hound Dog Taylor and a great party tune. The video is upclose and wild. See for yourself at the bottom of this post.

The blues techno dance vibes of He Likes That Classic Rock are sure to get hardcore fans grinning. Spoiler alert: it’s not classic rock. There’s hardly anywhere you can go in Western Canada without encountering that stuff still. This politely takes the piss, as they say in Blighty. And then from further left field comes title track A Flat City with pure ska/rock steady vibes. Anyone looking for blues normality will have given up by now. And yes, it’s in A-flat.

Take Your Baby To A Jazz And Blues Bar takes a James Brown approach to the subject of what to do on a first date. In fact, “take the whole damned family to the jazz and blues bar,” the Son prescribes. Sound advice. More Mayonnaise is perhaps the first boogaloo to feature harmonica and nonsensical grunting. Why shouldn’t it demand more mayo? Just what the world needs right now. Obviously, this one is Son Of Dave’s personal fave.

Yahoos is not going to make any friends round here. But it’s gotta be said. Luxury truck culture has become fanatic. Dave (RIP) used to curse ’em regularly. Son brings in the Wurlitzer electric piano for Hogshed. A love song about spending the night with the pigs. Like they do down south? Oh dear.

Returning to more moody live-off-the-floor vibes for I Told You All I Know, we get that haunting heartache blues. “I get mad and it’s a shame, but please don’t give up on me,” says SoD. Hairs stand up. Neighbours call the cops. Werewolves Of London is one for the fans who love Son Of Dave’s cover tunes (see Explosive Hits album). This classic Warren Zevon tune fits him perfectly and stirs memories of being back in London.

The year 2023 was a hard one. Son Of Dave lost David M. Darvill, along with other dear friends and relatives. Everything Goes is about grieving, what to do with the belongings, memories and emotions. This song is as personal as SoD gets. It’s hidden there at the end for those that take the time. There have been other songs about old age and dying on recent albums for those who appreciate the mournful side.

Most of the record is done completely himself. All writing, instruments, editing, recording, mixing and artwork. You’re welcome. Three exceptions are Where’s The Party At, produced by long-time collaborator Tim Gordine in London, and two recorded on Vancouver Island by Zac Cohen at lovely Woodshop Studios — Yahoos and I Told You All I Know.”