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(Independent) Out now
Jac Dalton was born and raised in North Carolina before moving to Adelaide, Australia – the place he now calls home. Dalton has always been a world-class performer and musician but when he’s not producing his own unique brand of guitar driven rock music, then he’s living a normal life as a chiropractor and Functional Neurologist.
Powderkeg’ is Dalton’s third full length album and it sees his trademark of soaring vocals, intricate harmonies and inspiring screaming guitars sending out positive uplifting messages in an edgy blend of classic melodic rock that pays homage to the Great Southland while still managing to forge an unmistakable international identity.
A couple of tracks here may be familiar to the casual listener and certainly to the team here at MetalTalk Towers. 'Roll With The Punches' was released as a single back in June 2014, so it’s inclusion here while not entirely unexpected, it’s not disagreeable either.
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The main guitar riff drives the track and there’s a really good guitar solo courtesy of axeman Graham Greene that takes centre stage before the main guitar riff provided by talented guitarist Annemieke Heijne makes a welcome reappearance as the song rolls (no pun intended!) on towards its finale.
The second track is a cover of the Aerosmith classic ‘Sweet Emotion’ and I’m slightly confused as to its inclusion here. I don’t mean that in a bad way don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song after all and this is a really good version of it, but I just wonder why Dalton chose to insert a cover song when his own material is so very strong.
Having said that, this particular version of ‘Sweet Emotion’ features some really good harmony vocals showing no lack of talent within Dalton’s recording band, while both Graham Greene and Heijne equip themselves well with the guitar track while drummer Troy Brazier plays a simple and sympathetic beat.
As far as the other tracks included here goes, you have a real rocker in the form of the title track, ‘Powderkeg’, which pulls no punches as the guitar riff is in your face from the get go.
Brazier’s drums fill out the rest of the number really well while Donna Greene steps up with some great backing vocals that are prominent in the mix, creating a counterpoint to Dalton’s vocals, but it’s easy to see why this was chosen as the albums title track.
‘Just Enough To Believe’ is another great song which bounces along. It has a different sound, being a bit more lively sounding than some of the other tracks, probably due to the guitar being positioned very much in the background, allowing Dalton’s fine vocal performance to come to the fore.
You could be forgiven for thinking that a track titled ‘Hardcore Superstar’ would be a fast paced rocker but you couldn't be more wrong here! The track may be heavy yes, but it’s more of a slow paced burner that allows the guitar to be the star.
From the heavy basic riff to the more intricate stabs, this song is all about the guitar. Likewise, ‘When I'm Alone With You’ is another slower paced number with the guitar, again, front and centre. Dalton gives a more bluesy performance here with his lyrics punctuated by the guitar while the guitar solo from Graham Greene is among the best.
There is, of course, a ubiquitous ballad on the album, and ‘One Heart One Land’ fits this role perfectly. It’s a song about Dalton’s love of Australia, which has the piano and guitar working together on a track that obviously means a lot to Dalton. He gives an incredibly sincere and passionate performance which is backed up with vocals from Donna Greene giving it an almost Gospel feel at times.
In fact, the advance version of the album I’ve got has this track not once, but twice. The standard version and a hidden version right at the end of the album. This second version is a simplified acoustic version, which is an unexpected but delightful end to the album with just vocals (from Dalton and Donna Greene) along with guitar and some light percussion. The electric version is great but the acoustic version is just something else completely.
Listening to this album as a whole, there’s no doubt that this is Dalton’s most accomplished work so far, and it’s clear his career trajectory is still well on track so let’s hope that his ambition matches his song writing potential and that he’s got the drive to follow through with future albums.
As Dalton himself says during the title track, "Tick tock, Let's rock!"
You can see the official video for the track ‘Powderkeg’ here:
You can see Jac Dalton live here:
Saturday 14th November – t.b.a. (Chloe Valentine Foundation/Official Powderkeg Album Launch)
‘Powderkeg’ Track List:
Blow Me Away
Roll With The Punches
Just Enough To Believe
Can't UnRock Me
Let It Go
One Heart, One Land
Jac Dalton’s recording band are:
Jac Dalton – Vocals
Graham Greene – Guitar
Annemieke Heijne – Guitar
Donna Greene – Backing Vocals
Jim Awram – Bass Guitar
Troy Brazier – Drums/Backing Vocals