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Sunday Mornings in Summer...

By Stéphane Deschamps |

This is the deep south. Not that of the United States, but even further south...

New Zealand, that double confetti of islands close to Australia and not so far from Antarctica. So far away from everything that people there are probably a little freer than elsewhere, unaware of certain conventions in force in the rest of the world.

Take Grant Haua, for example. He plays the guitar, but not like everyone else. He plays like a frustrated percussionist, tapping the strings at full speed. Or like a banjo player in a bluegrass band. He's a virtuoso, but out of the ordinary. It's this sizzling, fluid guitar playing that you hear in Awa Blues, his first record for the French label Dixiefrog… Then comes the voice. The voice of a man who must have sung extensively in bars when the evening was well underway and who himself had to pay for a few drinks. A strong voice, seemingly rustic, but beneath which hides soul and emotion.

This blues, the one mentioned in the title of the album, Grant Haua rarely plays it in the strict sense. He prefers to wrap it in rock, folk or pop depending on the mood of the moment, but always flavours it with southern influences. Acoustic guitars, an organ and a little harmonica make these songs a pleasurable listening experience for Sunday mornings in summer. They will remind you of those from the American Greg Brown, or Tony Joe White. A warm, inviting record!


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