Grant Haua: Knucklehead
By Tim Gruar
If you’ve kicked around the BoP in the last few years 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 six string into a blitz of sonic emotion. ‘Knucklehead’ is one slick, bitter-sweet package, knockouts like Shame on You and Bad Man showcasing his phenomenal talent. The influences are far reaching. I can hear a little Stevie Ray Vaughan, 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 remain distinctively Haua’s own. In the liners, Haua proudly writes that these are first takes with no overdubs, resulting in crisp clean and highly intimate performances. There is the feel that it’s just you and him in the room, so get comfortable and let Haua’s blues wash over you.