If you’ve kicked around the BOP in the last few you would have seen bluesman Grant Haua on a pub or festival stage at some point. His sweet, gravelly voice and trademark rapier sharp guitar playing is instantly recognisable and definitively his own product. Like Paul Ubana Jones he can turn a simple 6 string into a blitz of sonic emotion. Knucklehead is one slick, bitter sweet package. Knockouts like Shame on You and Bad Man show case this phenomenal talent. The influences are far reaching. I can hear a little Stevie Ray Vaughn, a little Muddy Waters and Eric Bibb, especially on the title track. At other times Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, and even Hooker shadow these songs. The clearest example is the mud-dirty slide and rough as guts coda on Hard on me. But what’s really great is these tunes are distinctively Haua’s own. In the liners, Haua proudly writes that these are first takes with no over dubs, resulting in crisp clean and highly intimate performances. There’s clearly the feel that it’s just you and him in the room. So clear everyone out, get comfortable and let the blues wash over you. This stunner demands your time, your heart and your ears.
Published in NZ Musician July 2011