Nicholson got asked to do that slot about three years ago, and eventually the players evolved into a band, The Eastenders, that he just had to get recorded. The band features Brian Bourne (Rawlins Cross) on Chapman Stick (think bass-plus), James Logan (Drum!) on guitar, and Doug MacKay (Sam Moon, Minglewood) on drums.
In case you haven't heard him, Nicholson possesses one of those remarkable set of lungs that have always been the great weapons of the blues rockers, from Paul Rodgers to Steve Winwood to Robert Plant, just full of volume and energy, enough to keep up with a powerful trio. And once you have the right four people, there's an undeniable power. The next step is the right material to dig into, and I think the group has done a solid job picking the songs, including some surprising choices.
The album opens with a somewhat obscure Gene MacLellan track, Won't Talk About Love, and the group looks at the dark edge in the song. An older Johnny Lang track follows, and the Eastenders show they can get a groove on for Stop Pushin' On Me. There are only a couple of classic blues, the standard Key To The Highway, and the old Depression number Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out, both showcases for Nicholson's expressive side. Harder numbers such as So Far So Good let Logan sizzle on guitar, and the most fun choice is a radical remake of Dylan's Watching The River Flow, which keeps the humour but toughens up the tune. It might be just one interpretation of the term, but to me, this feels like Maritime roots music.