Down Devils Road is Australian guitarist Graham Greene’s first full length release since Leap of Face in 2006, and it’s an album that showcases both the creativity and the craftsmanship of an artist who obviously doesn’t mind stretching and flexing his musical muscles. Incorporating tracks I already loved from last year’s EP Lord of Misrule, Down Devils Road features a wealth of new music: there are vibes and sounds of melodic rock, hard rock, blues, funk, and even jazz, all of it coming together beautifully in Greene’s skilled hands.
The album opens with “Show Me The Money” – an exhilarating, soaring rocker that is vintage Greene, with its dazzling guitar work and shimmering melody. It’s immediately followed by the hard-rocking blaze of glory that is “The Elegant Savage”, and both of these tracks allow Greene to demonstrate his considerable rock- and riff-skills – this is the guitar shaman from Oz, after all!
The album’s title track, “Down Devils Road” starts off a bit more laid-back, but once that guitar rears up, the music shifts into something seriously hot and funky: this is a track with definite sizzle.
“Bobbo’s Cafe” is a stroll down the lighter side of Greene’s work: it’s a tune that radiates an infectious sense of fun and happiness. That same playful vibe is also present in “Spirit Fingers”, a track that definitely lives up to its name as Greene lays down some just plain delicious guitar-work.
Next up is one of the album’s standout tracks: the edgy, rough-and-tough rocker “Hand On The Handle” with vocalist Donna G. adding her words and voice. Her vocals are a high point here: defiant and fiery, cutting right to the quick. It’s a terrific track, and as usual when these two get together musically, there’s a beautiful interplay between the voice and the guitar.
Another standout is the bluesy “Chicken Soup For The Soul”: this tune has a satisfying warmth and depth that I really love. It’s followed by the bold and dramatic “Tonight We Ride”, rolling out of the speakers like a soundtrack to a grand adventure or quest, with the guitar flashing both power and beauty.
My favourite track on this album is also the darkest: “Through The Dark” is an instrumental masterpiece, filled with sadness, sorrow, and deep shadows, but with a flicker of hope and warmth within. Greene’s guitar work is breathtaking here: tender and soft, and loaded with so much emotion that it actually brings me to tears when I listen to it. I’d rank it as one of Greene’s best tracks, ever.
The album closes out with two great tunes: “Race To The Eastern Sea” is a gorgeous soundscape with a swirling, eastern vibe; and “Lord of Misrule” is Greene at his best: making that guitar sing with a captivating voice of its own.
Down Devils Road is an outstanding release. Whether Greene channels his sense of musical fun and playfulness, goes for high rock’n’roll drama, or brings out the goosebumps with his guitar wizardry, he does it all with superb skill and a whole lot of heart and soul beneath those flexing musical muscles. It’s an album not to be missed.
- Show Me The Money
- The Elegant Savage
- Down Devils Road
- Bobbo’s Cafe
- Spirit Fingers
- Hand On The Handle
- Chicken Soup For The Soul
- Tonight We Ride
- Through The Dark
- Race To The Eastern Sea
- Lord of Misrule
Photo by Crosbie Photography.