Sunrise Over Sea – The John Butler Trio

At the age of 16 American born Australian roots & blues singer / guitarist John Butler learned to play guitar on his grandfather’s dobro given to him by his grandmother. Based around the city of Perth, John started busking before achieving his current fame. After starting the trio, two of the band’s albums — Three (2001) and Living 2001-2002 (2003) — have gone platinum in Australia and reached the top ten of the Australian album charts in those years. The 2004 album Sunrise Over Sea debuted at number one on the Australian charts on March 15, 2004 reaching gold record status in its first week on sale. The John Butler Trio: John Butler (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar); Shannon Birchall (double bass); Nicky Bomba (drums, djembe, percussion).

Treat Yo Mama Butler demonstrates he knows how to do commercial singalongs too with the obvious crowd pleaser, in a cigarettes & whiskey roots blues track about Mother Earth. Peaches & Cream shows his nod to reggae and the song, from where the album title is taken, is a nod to his home in Byron Bay. I absolutely love the beginning of Company Sin; shame on you if the catchy chorus doesn’t repeat in your head over & over again. It also had a bluesy guitar solo that fits the song, about eradicating large corporates, perfectly. Butler’s voice starts resembling RHCP’s Antony Keidis from this point onwards. It’s about a young man, Ben, who joins work in the mines in Australia and is plagued by guilt on his company’s sin – the destruction of land which is sacred to the Aborigines. He gets relieved when he finally gets sacked.

What You Want is the first single, a song that reminds me of the ocean, is about a breakup. Damned To Hell is a song about how the greedy cannot find absolution in heaven and will be damned to be punished in hell. Hello is a wake up call to someone who wastes their life away to drugs or some other addiction and tells them that they are missing things. Bound To Ramble is about loving life on the road and the love of travel in Australia. Seeing Angles is about someone who changes your life. There’ll Come A Time is about what will happen if we continue to rape the earth.

Zebra is the first single off the album, about all the different things he could be, representing the different types of people that populate this world, and accepting each of these people for who they are, about diversity if you will. Gotta love the wah pedal drenched guitar solo in it man. Mist is this celtic vibe instrumental piece that if you close your eyes, will take you away to Ireland & Scotland. Old Man is about aging and how life eventually comes to an end. Album closer Sometimes is about making compromises with people you don’t agree with for the betterment. It starts so gently and slowly and then builds up in volume.

The result is a diverse album of mixed influences yet the final mix is a heady potion that is one for the ages.

Song for the day – “Company Sin” – THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO