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Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards "Live At The Acoustic Grill"
"Live At The Acoustic Grill" marks the second Album of Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards' that I have reviewed in as many years, with the first being the critically acclaimed release "Redemption". When I first listened to "Redemption", it was in more of a party setting, so while I got hints that I was listening to something good, it was not until I listened to it again, in more quieter surrounding, that I realized just how good it was. A hint about how much I liked that Album are in the last paragraph of that review, "Redemption" gets a resounding high five from me via my highest rating of 5*****. Brilliant and Fresh Blues/Rock, all in one fabulous package. Ross Neilsen and the Sufferin' Bastards are not only going places, but they are also going far." In addition I also chose "Redemption" as the Best Canadian Blues/Rock Album in my Blues Underground Network's Year End Review 2010. Now with the Release of  "Live At The Acoustic Grill", I am once again treated to a virtual Tornado of Talent that is Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards.
"Live At The Acoustic Grill" is part of the Bands Official Bootleg Series and marks the third such release since 2009, the first being Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards "What You Need Vol. 1" (2009) and the second being Ross Neilsen "Alone Vol. 1" (2009). As the name implies, this Album was recorded at The Acoustic Grill in Picton, Ontario, in the Fall of 2009 and like "What You Need Vol. 1", it consists of the full band. I must say that when I realized that this was a Bootleg, I thought I might be in for perhaps a little less then a top notch production, but I was wrong. This one comes across bright and clear with the only noticeable imperfection being the odd off/on approach to a few tracks instead of a more fade out/fade in approach. Other then that microscopic thing this, Album really is a very good production for a Bootleg.
"Live At The Acoustic Grill" consists of 9 Tracks, all Originals from previous releases except for the new song Track 7 "Daddy Taught Me", and of course this time around they are done acoustically. Now for those that have seen Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards Live, or have had the chance to listen to "Redemption", you may think that the softer quieter music of an acoustic set would not be in their vocabulary, but it is, and they pull it off in a mighty good way. I always have a lot of respect for Artists that take the chance of doing their previous work Acoustically, for I feel it paints a better picture of the Artists true talent and if done right, as "Live At The Acoustic Grill" was, it can give you a whole new appreciation for the Performers.
"Live At The Acoustic Grill", as with most other good Live Albums, has a fair bit of spontenaity and creativeness to it, both in the conversation that goes on between Ross and the audience and with slightly different ways some songs evolve. One such song was Track 3 "Walk In The Sun" which about half way through turns into "Spirit In The Sky", "a song written and originally recorded by Norman Greenbaum and released in 1969" and one that I got familiar with in the mid 80's. Near the end, the Track returns to it's original self. Another interesting song on this Album was Track 4 "Jelly Bean", a song that Ross wrote while working at a Chocolate Factory, a job he describes as his worst ever and a song he describes as nothing to do with Jelly Beans, as you will realize shortly after the song starts.
One thing I really noticed on "Live At The Acoustic Grill", was how musically tight everyone was, and I am guessing this comes from the Monster Canadian Tours they have been on over the last few years, with 2011 being no exception with a 60+ date Summer Tour, which started May 26th and runs till September 18th, from coast to coast to coast. With all that touring, there really is no excuse not to have seen Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards, at a venue close to you.
"Live At The Acoustic Grill" is yet another great opportunity to get acquainted with or better acquainted with this amazingly popular and talented, Canadian Blues/Rock Inferno. Those that have not heard Ross Neilsen And The Sufferin' Bastards in a strictly Acoustical sitting, but are familiar with their music, will be quite happy with the this latest offering.
All in all, a very fine Live release from an extraordinary talented Band. "Live At The Acoustic Grill", is not an Album you should miss out on.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Additional Info
1. Devil Knows Your Dead
2. Afflicted
3. Walk In The Sun
4. Jelly Bean
5. Don't Need Love
6. Mailman
7. Daddy Taught Me
8. Badlands
9. Call Me Gone