Skidders is from the Black Country at the heart of industrial England. As a solo artist, he has performed sets of self-penned acoustic instrumental songs; through to electric blues & rock tributes to Clapton and Robert Johnson. Skidders’ debut album “Skidderslectric” was released 4th May 2015 on Force 8 Records. Available in CD & digital format, the album includes eleven eclectic tracks ranging from rock, to blues and jazz.
“Skidderslectric” seems to fit Skidders’ frantic guitar runs, his sonic bends, his unique phrasing, and his sweet-hot tone like a glove. It is doubtless due in part to the instrumental nature that this album is in his total comfort zone. Skidders doesn’t have to battle a vocalist; he simply steps into the spotlight and wails. His wife, Terryann comes close, in “Just Boozin”, but in the end, no singers can keep up with him. So rather than play tired pop songs or try to make something work within that formula, Skidders chose to move into the world that best suits him – instrumental music.
Of the album Skidders said: “I’ve been working on Skidderslectric since we [Bukechi] completed our debut album in 2009 – so around 6 years! I’ve written, produced, recorded and played all instruments on the album – and it’s been a labour of love. I am very pleased when I listen to the finished product – and especially grateful to Paul Hogg for the excellent Sound Engineering.”
Right from the opening thrust of “Where Am I”, with its powerful drumming and wonderful guitar/keyboard interplay, you should know that you’re in for a thrilling, rocking good time with no regard for boundaries of genre. And if that doesn’t capture you, “Dipso Facto” – complete with Skidders heavy, creative guitar playing, a surprisingly progressive-rock influenced bridge, and great bassline should. Another real classic of the record, though, is “Chillax”. A jazz-fusion influenced piece, which transforms in to a vehicle for Skidders clean, emotive soloing with a guitar tone that changes so much, you’d think there were four or five guitarists playing together. On top of that, he puts so much soul in his playing.
Then it’s back to rocky goodness on “O’Larso”, which if you ask me is a few minutes too short – I could listen to Skidders trading solos with himself for quite a long time ( as he changes tone so often). “Masala Rock” and “Battle Cry Revisited” are also fantastic, where Skidders shows us why he pretty much blows all of his competitors out of the water, playing speedy but intelligent passages that never seem like flash for flash’s sake – a trap many guitarists with quick fingers fall into. He’s too smart for that, and far too an experienced guitarist.
“Skidders Row” displays heavy traces of Hendrix’s psychedelic sorties, and Skidders own need for developing, really expressing his emotions, without any frontiers. Some songs, like “One For The Road” are pretty jazz-like, while others are more blues-rock oriented. But they all have one thing in common – a really great guitar sound.
If anything, “Skidderslectric” teaches us one thing about Skidders. The man can’t sing. The man can play. What a revelation!