Outside Looking In

Chances are somebody has already labeled this guy the Australian Blue Thunder from Down Under. For some reason that title keeps kicking around in my head as I listen to this cat. But I honestly can’t think of a much better handle to attach to somebody who attacks music like Dave Hole.

I don’t know what’s going on in Australia to give anyone these blues. But the powerful emotions he squeezes from the neck of his guitar aren’t the kind that could be forced out, even at the ugly end of a gun, by anyone who didn’t possess the authority to speak a certain truth.

Dave Hole plays the kind of hardcore electric blues that is steeped in the Delta tradition as far as the feeling and the rhythm of the music is concerned, but with considerably more voltage and electricity. That probably sounds like what happened to the blues once it hit Chicago and was rewired by masters such as Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, and the Chicago style is somewhat in evidence. But for some reason, Hole sounds a little closer to Texas. Considering how hot and barren the outback of Australia can be, that might explain some of the similarity in sound. Mind you, this is just a guess.

But whatever the reason, the important thing to know about this CD is that Dave Hole, who used to be a fairly regular visitor at the old Sisko’s bar in Taylor before it closed down, is one of those blues guitarists who plays like someone who doesn’t have a choice. And that’s the only way the blues can honestly be played.

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at [email protected].

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