Any new release by Keith Thompson is always very welcome. As he says, this is a natural follow up to his last band album, "Catch The Fire" from 2014, which included guest appearances from Buddy Whittington and Laurence Jones, and remains one of the best albums that year. Since then there's been the excellent acoustic album "Two Minutes To Midnight", but this time the band is back, and the cover gives a clue.
"Catch The Fire" had Keith's guitar on fire, this time he's surrounded by lightning. They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but in this case it does. Like "Fire" it's a superb album, by a band well and truly on fire with great music, all self-written. Thirteen full songs that offer so many differing styles but well and truly rooted in the blues, both in the rock style and a hint of a more traditional style. Of the band, Keith says after several tours in Poland, and a set of circumstances, he met in a car park the two men who make up his band for this release recorded partly in Poland and in the UK at his own studio. Arthur Malik and Jacek Chruscinski were then his band for a gig that night. They gelled perfectly and this album is the outcome, plus a guest slots by Patsy Gamble who's worked with Keith many times over the years and Gary Hunt who added some backing vocals.
The two opening tracks on this set are rock solid Keith Thompson playing blues, his guitar and harp lead things along, and as throughout this release the rhythm section is solid, giving him all he needs to build his songs upon. Although he leads mainly on guitar, both electric and acoustic, Keith as said, brings in his harmonica as well as some keyboard to add depth to some of the tracks, as does creating extra vocals to fill the chorus sections.
The openers; "Backwater Blues" and "Like A Stranger", of feeling through politicians a stranger in his own town; surely modern day blues with a foot in the past on social issues. There's "Thin Ice" that opens as if Pink Floyd had entered the studio, but soon this develops into a great blues groove. To the railroad sounds introducing "Working On the Railroad" accompanied by some lovely acoustic slide, this is real down home blues "Just Working on the Railroad" all about making a living and making life work. "Hesitation Blues" has that guitar style that reminds you of the Spanish or Tex Mex sounds, again Keith's playing is outstanding. Add Patsy Gamble's sax and you have one of the best tracks among very many here. For lovers of the Peter Green guitar sounds then "Surrender" will be an absolute treat. Think "Need Your Love So Bad" and you're a little near the style here, again Keith's playing is just pure magic. Then, "Never Happy Unless I Got the Blues"! This will become an absolute live favourite, a full rich sound where the whole band excels, with a hook that soon gets those feet moving. As said this is without any doubt a blues based album, but in it's many styles, in twelve albums so far Keith Thompson has never failed to produce anything but great music, but you know, overall this could be his best yet, so full of good things, the playing outstanding, Keith's voice at its very best, one that suits his songs so well. To the closing and very atmospheric opening of the title track, this is progressive blues. Just let this music transcend you to a place you know you're going to enjoy the best part of an hour in some very fine musical company indeed. A hugely enjoyable and must have blues release!

Pete Clack.