Bryce Alastair and the Booze ‘N Blues is an indie band out of Jacksonville,FL.He is a young singer/songwriter who is reminiscent of two musicians who have such a unique sound that one would think it impossible to replicate such a style. “Tommy the Drifter,” sounds like a sped-up version of Johnny Cash—think “Folsom Prison Blues” and “I Walk the Line”—but instead of Johnny’s voice, it is one that is more like Tom Waits. There is an appealing raspiness to the vocals, the listener must acquire an ear for over time; it took me months of listening, pausing, reflecting, and re-listening before I came to appreciate Tom Waits.
Alastair’s music is very ‘bluesy,’ the most bluesy I have ever listened to and still enjoyed, which is likely due to the folksy elements as well. The tempo of the music is swift enough to prevent me from sinking into a depressed mood. That is the biggest barrier I have with developing a liking for ‘authentic’ blues music. I enjoy sad songs as much as anyone, but not the ones that seem directionless, and make me want to assume the fetal position.
There are straight-up,Deep South blues sounds, minus the harmonica. There are also country-sounding songs, like “Guitar Toting Outlaw.” I even hear elements of Spanish-style acoustic guitar in “Vampire Song.” Lyrically, Alastair covers current events, best exemplified by “Until the Bomb.” He also wrote a nice-sounding, but sad, love song, “To Be with U.” Note the back-and-forth between the mellow verses and the powerful chorus, the softly unfolded story of failed love, followed by the painful declaration that his dreams—his desires—never match up with his reality.
Like Bob Dylan, Alastair varies his voice, song-by-song, ranging from somewhat soft and with nice pitch, like young Dylan, to rough and tough, like old Dylan. Like blues music, Alastair sings more from the ‘soul’ than many other genres of music and musicians do. The effect of listening to his songs lingers inside you, long after you listen. His music is more than just about listening. You will know you have reached a new level appreciation for it when you will feel his music inside you.