I picked up a copy of John Butler’s CD “Sunrise Over Sea“. I’m enjoying the album as a whole (I can hear some of my friends chuckling already). It’s very good, falling a little short of excellent. I have a lot of respect for John Butler as an artist and someone who has gained success through sheer hard work. My main criticism, if you could call it that, is that on some tracks the vocals seem a bit unsure – but I’ll definitely be picking up the next one if/when it arrives.
One thing that really stands out is how damn fine Shannon Birchall’s upright bass work is. Every time I listen to the album I really get into the bass work. Very, very nice. Makes me want to go and pick one up and start woodshedding.
There are some amazing upright bass players around in the jazz world (Christian McBride immediately comes to mind, but there are many others), but very few that are part of a band that is achieving mainstream success (Scott Owen from The Living End is one of very few Australian examples I can think of).
It’s been years since I played upright. There’s something especially tactile about it – you can really dig in and get a lot of nuance. I was never particularly good at it, but it’d be fun to get into it again.