Riding the Waves of Emotion: A Journey Through Big Wolf Band’s “Rebel’s Journey”

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Review By Halina Wegner

Big Wolf Band’s latest offering, “Rebel’s Journey,” isn’t just an album; it’s a testament to resilience, creativity, and the power of music to transcend personal struggles. Nominated for “UK Blues Band of the Year” at the prestigious 2024 UK Blues Awards, this album solidifies Big Wolf Band’s position as a powerhouse in the blues-rock genre.

At the heart of “Rebel’s Journey” lies the personal odyssey of frontman Jonathan Earp. Battling with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, Earp’s journey through physical and mental challenges is laid bare in tracks like ‘Standing in the Rain,’ ‘Black Dog Blues,’ and ‘Living on Borrowed Time.’ Yet, amidst the shadows, glimmers of hope emerge, beautifully captured in songs like ‘Empire and a Prayer’ and ‘Rise Together,’ co-written with Justin Johnson, which exude resilience and the power of love.

But “Rebel’s Journey” isn’t solely a sombre affair. Tracks like “Empire and a Prayer,” “Got Me Reeling,” and “Rise Together” showcase the band’s ability to infuse hope and positivity into their blues-rock sound. Earp’s collaboration with Justin Johnson brings a refreshing dynamic, adding layers of light and love to the album’s narrative.

The musicianship displayed throughout the album is nothing short of exceptional. Jonathan Earp’s lead guitar and vocals soar, supported by Mick Jeynes on bass, Tim Jones on drums, Justin Johnson on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Robin Fox on piano and Hammond organ. Special mention must be made of Zoe Green’s backing vocals, which add depth and richness to the band’s sound.

Production-wise, “Rebel’s Journey” is a triumph. Mark Stuart and Jonathan Earp’s collaboration as producers has resulted in a cohesive and polished sound, while Sheena Sear’s mastering brings out the best in each track. The addition of Tracey Earp and Sheena Sear’s vocals on “Rise Together” adds a personal touch, making it a standout moment on the album.

As Big Wolf Band celebrates their 10th year together, “Rebel’s Journey” serves as a fitting testament to their evolution as a band. From humble beginnings to sold-out shows and international tours, their journey is reflected in every note of this album. With its diverse range of songs and unwavering authenticity, “Rebel’s Journey” solidifies Big Wolf Band’s status as one of the most compelling acts in the blues-rock genre.

Track Listing:

  1. Empire and a Prayer (3:57)
  2. Valley of the Fallen Kings (5:58)
  3. Lay it on the Line (3:48)
  4. Rise Together (4:06)
  5. Six Strings Loaded (4:19)
  6. Black Dog Blues (6:07)
  7. Standing in the Rain (7:24)
  8. Living on Borrowed Time (3:46)
  9. Got Me Reeling (4:32)
  10. Crazy Love (3:32)
  11. Darker Side of You (4:40)
  12. Just a Little Bit (5:26)
  13. Too Many Times (4:20)

Production Credits:

  • All songs written by Jonathan Earp except where noted.
  • Lead guitar and vocals – Jonathan Earp
  • Bass – Mick Jeynes
  • Drums – Tim Jones
  • Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals – Justin Johnson
  • Piano and Hammond organ – Robin Fox
  • Backing vocals – Zoe Green
  • Additional Vocals on Rise Together – Tracey Earp and Sheena Sear
  • Shaker, Tambourine, and kitchen sink – Mark Stuart
  • Produced by Mark Stuart and Jonathan Earp
  • Mixed by Mark Stuart and Sheena Sear
  • Mastered by Sheena Sear
  • Recorded and mastered at M2 Studios
  • Album artwork – Daniel Lloyd
  • Single Artwork – Jonathan Earp and Daniel Lloyd

“Rebel’s Journey” is not just an album; it’s a testament to resilience, growth, and the power of music to transcend adversity. With its blend of introspective lyricism, masterful musicianship, and unwavering passion, it’s a must-listen for blues enthusiasts and music lovers alike.

Rebel’s Journey 2024 Tour Dates

Tickets: www.bigwolfband.com/tour-dates

29 March – The Bear, Luton
31 March – Nantwich Jazz and Blues
5 April – Temperance Leamington Spa.
12 April – Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury
14 April – Bromley Blues Club
20 April – Blues at the Barleylands, Billericay
21 April – Hope Tavern, Market Rasen
26 April – Bosworth Blues Festival

11 May – Macclesfield Beer Festival
24 May – Saltburn Blues Club, Redcar
25 May – Booze and Blues Leicester.
7 June – Lamp Tavern, Dudley
13 June – Red Arrow Music Club, Ramsgate
16 June – Blues Weekend at the Toorak Hotel
23 June – Bluefunk Rhythm and Blues Club, Poynton (double Header with CBO)
5 July – Alfold Rock and Blues Festival, Alfold

9 August – Darlington R&B Club
16 August Warrington Blues Club
17 August – Old Bush Blues Festival
23 August Colne R&B Festival
24 August – Rory Gallagher Festival, Nantwich
25 August – Congleton Jazz and Blues

6 September – Nene Valley Festival
15 September – Red Lion, Stevenage
20 September – Joe Joe Jim’s Birmingham
4 October – Backstage at the Green – Kinross
5 October – Calendar Jazz & Blues
12 October – Boat shack, Upton Warren

1 November – Colne Delta Blues and Americana Club
23 November – Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton
13 December – Emsworth Music Club

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