Ajay Mathur – Talking Loud
This gets off to a blaring energetic start but it’s what good Americana R&R is about & Grammy-nominated artist Ajay Mathur certainly knows how to dole it out MMA style. This 15-track CD is not just played it’s performed with gusto starting with “Sooner or Later.”
Mathur (electric/acoustic guitars/e-bow guitar/organ/keys/field recordings) has sparkling arrangements & an extremely tight band. They obviously understand the thrust of the genre better than most. The music excites & entertains.
Ajay has the perfectly ambitious voice & reminds me of Steve Swindells (“Fresh Blood” LP) — a rocker who recorded for RCA & later Atlantic Records that had stridency though his was a bit darker lyrically & had aggressive melodies. Ajay has the musical muscle too, but his approach is more commercially acceptable with this ambitious distinguished material.
Even on slower songs like the piano-driven (“Anytime At All”), Ajay maintains the strength & stamina of the genre with no pomposity. Talking Loud (Dropped March 4–Independent) was self-produced & recorded in Switzerland. “Don’t Want The Phone To Ring,” exemplifies soul, the plodding beat & melodic guitars reinforce the seldom chosen musical theme. The underlying hook “I’m a million miles away,” is infectious.
Born into a musical family in India, it’s chilling to listen to someone like Mr. Mathur who has absorbed this music thoroughly like a sponge. As well as the many musicians who perform on this.
It isn’t new that foreigners have been exceptional in this musical area. It isn’t wholly American anymore. The late Greek-singer Demis Roussos, Italian rockers Eugenio Finardi, Francesca Chiara & the late Lucio Battisti have done it. Some even sang in English quite well. Especially the Milan-born Finardi who charted with an all-English blues LP in Texas with a near-Tom Waits tone. Ajay has hit that heavy hammer at the carnival & it went directly to the bell.
I have heard many rock singers to know who has the mojo & who just goes through the motions. Ajay is authentic & has confidence. A fine example splashes from “Stuck on 75,” with its bellowing horns & bright 60s melodic chiming guitars.
Accompanying him on varied diversified songs are Fausto Medici (drums/percussion), Richard Hugener (bass), Christian Winiker (lead/rhythm guitars/lap steel/horn arrangements & bass on “Common Mistake”), Antonia Gasser, Adriana Husy & Patrizia Scarnato (bv), Samuel Blattler (trumpet), Rolf Ambauen (sax), Kalyanjit Das (sitar), Sandip Banarjee (tablas), Toni Nesler (string quartet/orchestra arrangements), Yulian Heroim (strings/string arrangements), Michael Dolmetsch (piano), Steve Birrer (pedal steel), Gregory Schaerer (bass), & Stevie Blacke (string quartet). The final 2 cuts are remixes/alternates of 2 songs earlier on the CD.
Fasten a seat belt in your recliner, pour some legal lubricant & listen to this broad range of well-cooked songs.
B&W photo: Paul Pacitti & color image from Ajay’s website. The 58-minute CD is available @ https://www.ajaymathur.com/home