SWAMP THING: Balladeer
By Bing Turkby
If you’re a fan of roots/blues/rock then you will love this album. Swamp Thing is a duo consisting of Grant Haua (acoustic guitar/vocals/harmonica) who was featured in the last issue of NZM, and Aussie-based drummer (plus vocals) Michael Barker. Kicking off with incredible energy and formidable tightness, everything about the album is impressive; from Haua’s gravelly, commanding vocals and soulful, nimble guitar work, to Barker’s driving beats. Recorded at Roundhead and mixed by Eddie Rayner, the band is in fine form. At only two minutes in I was especially impressed by how tight the duo were during an instrumental breakdown, and their energy is backed up with great technique and musical rapport. So I was not all that surprised to subsequently learn that Barker spent a long time playing with the John Butler Trio and has toured with other big-name acts. What does surprise me is how I have managed to not catch a talent like Grant Haua before now. I do think that now these two have teamed up we’ll all be hearing a lot more from them.