Quinn Sullivan

Midnight Highway

(Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group)

You want the best news about this label’s latest signing? – You’d hire him as a vocalist ! not to downplay his dextrous and very wide-ranging guitar skills but quite how he has attained such a rich and authoritative voice in his teens is pretty remarkable. Quinn has a pleasant personality and deep musical knowledge as you will discern from Glenn’s chat with him and it is little wonder that the canny blues legend Buddy Guy has put the spotlight on Sullivan in his quest to keep the blues as vital part of our culture and push the age range appreciating the music.

Producer Tom Hambridge is of course a great singer drummer and writer in his own right and knows exactly how to capture a young firebrand’s style and sass as regards variety of mood, empathy of backing and honing of guitar tones. I think Quinn must realise just how lucky he is to be working in such company.

The programme starts with Something For Me which starts with a slide whine and disembodied treated vocal over a hint of voodoo. It’s striking and the rolling beat and tinkling piano shouts Saturday Fish Fry. The sharp guitar stings its way across the mix. Maybe our man Jonny Lang is an influence?

Tell Me That I’m Not Dreaming is not the similarly titled Was Not Was funk workout but a ringing-guitar-led country rocker that sounds fresh and heartfelt. Insanely catchy chorus, to boot and the guitar having just as much bite as the opener, in a different vein; Midnight Highway has beautiful acoustic intro, warm Hammond and a John Hiatt moody backdrop with a sweet melody worthy of the Marshall Tucker Band.

Crazy Into You is choppy funk brilliantly handled, excellent vocal, tight production, just-so fuzztone and keys-soaked bridge ; Eyes For You is an acoustic tumbler and a different vocal timbre. Lifting Off drops us back into the funk and at a brisk tempo, more great singing, romantic lyric..OK, edge-of-lust really.

She Gets Me is altogether folkier, a tinge of David Crosby maybe? Maybe the best singing here, key perfect, phrasing is own, with the backing kept minimal til mid-point. Rocks throws the dirt in tour face, delay on the vocal track. Could almost be a Yardbirds nod! Going takes gentle route into a rather mystic soundscape; Graveyard Stone – one of three bonus tracks – has a big sound, the kind that Hambridge gives a Yank Faces vibe to and pulls off. Big Sky is soaked in the evening air over crystal piano and could be the start of a Quicksilver jam as it opens, very beatific and soothing. While My Guitar Gently Weeps has been recorded a little too often to sound really fresh here, but is listenable enough in this company and is very well sung. Closing cut Buffalo Nickel is a graceful cowboy adieu.

A lot more than the latest young gunslinger, Sullivan’s vocal and instrumental talents are superbly showcased here on some exceptional compositions. He is using technique to deliver soul, whatever the style selected.

Pete Sargeant

(Many thanks to Mascot Label Group for help with this review)


Quinn Sullivan’s new studio album ‘Midnight Highway’ is out now worldwide on Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.

For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2mWGGYF

Quinn Sullivan
Quinn Sullivan