Black & Blues
Sunjay, he now prefers just his first name, is an excellent bluesman and for such a young musician he plays his guitar like he had it in the cradle instead of a rattle or cuddly toy.
This could be behind its raw, unpolished feel which gives it an honesty, authenticity and almost an urgency.
Drop Down Mama is one Derby-born Sunjay has been taking around on his tours for some time and now the foot stomper is down on disc it still has the feel of a live performance.
What follows is the depression era blues, Nobody Wants To Know You When You Down & Out where Sunjay shows a side to his playing that is slicker than a latex clad tobogganist who has been covered in grease and sent down an oiled slipway.
He keeps the bluesy sound but gives it the kind of polish you associate with Jake Thackray. If you want to get a feel for his skill with the frets then the next track Duncan & Brady is as good an example as any.
Sunjay has a really smooth style of playing blues. His voice lends itself more to the serpentine sound rather than the dirty or gritty vocals of legends such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters or Lightnin' Hopkins. By the time you get to St James Infirmary it's as though each track is trying to outdo the preceding one and in this song his playing seems to take on almost a classical style which reinforces Sunjay's versatility.
With Pallet On The Floor he gets almost playful with the tune. It's far less bluesy than the previous tracks but it's nonetheless enjoyable for that. He comes in with the late night blues with You Don't Learn That In School an irreverent song in which his playing is much better than his cadence on the lyrics. He sounds like he is rushing and almost forcing the lyrics to fit the timing and as such loses a little of its fluidity.
With One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer Sunjay sounds to be holding back a little too much. His guitar playing is as impeccable as ever but his singing should take on a harsher quality, be slightly more aggressive, it misses out for him not letting rip, certainly on the chorus. There is no two ways about it he is a gorgeous guitar player and brings to mind the likes of Ralph McTell who many don't associate with the blues but is an incredible guitarist.
|The new album
It's hard to believe any woman would leave after hearing his version of this. Trouble In Mind is a great way to send the album out.
His gentle, really lazy swinging-in-a-hammock intro is just so cool you could keep beers in it. Sunjay's voice slides over the top of the notes like honey over a spoon.
This album is a testimony to the skill and talent of Sunjay who is without doubt one of the slickest dudes to sit behind a guitar. He sounds cool, plays cool, looks cool so much so you almost expect a little light to come when he opens his guitar case.
Black & Blues is out now available for download and from Sunjay's website.