May 7, 2019 Danny Worsnop – Shades of Blue (Album Review)
Do you think you know Danny Worsnop? Well, the Asking Alexandria frontman is laying it all bare in his bluesy new solo effort, Shades of Blue, which arrives Friday, May 10th, 2019, via Sumerian Records. (Hint: You don’t know Worsnop!)
With his day job, some band called Asking Alexandria, Worsnop has released four full-length studio albums — ranging from the band’s 2009 debut Stand Up and Scream to 2017’s superb self-titled disc. He’s also fronted We Are Harlot, with whom he released 2015’s We Are Harlot, as well as lending his vocals to a multitude of friends’ tracks, including The Word Alive, Memphis May Fire, All That Remains, and many, many more.
But a man can’t sit idle, he has to continuously chase his muses. Doing just this, Worsnop released his solo debut, the Country-dusted The Long Road Home, in 2017. Of course, this threw some fans for a loop, as this was not the Worsnop whom they thought they knew.
With the 11-track Shades of Blue, the singer-songwriter-guitarist’s sophomore solo effort, fans must once again leave their preconceived notions at the door, because this is not Asking Alexandria: The Redux. Those that have experienced Worsnop’s previous solo album should understand what to expect: an album that crosses genres to draw together Country, Blues Rock, Soul, acoustic ballads, and boldly, bluesy stomps. From his phenomenal vocal range to his proven songwriting talents, Worsnop crafts a collection that proves he is no one-trick pony.
Shades of Blue opens to some bluesy guitar licks that lead into the infectious beat of “Little Did I Know,” a story of blindsiding love — that is sadly not returned. Worsnop takes the heartbreak in stride with this upbeat, catchy, and fully relatable bop. This leads into the full-blown sultry, soulful Blues beat of “Best Bad Habit,” a rocking and rolling between the sonic sheets that goes massive in the name of relishing in sin. This is love gone deliciously wrong!
Acoustic guitar opens the blatantly honest ballad “Tomorrow,” a Country-soaked confession that someone’s heart will be broken. This shows perhaps the softest side of Worsnop that we’ve seen to date, a singer-songwriter who can craft a tender, poignant divulgence that will sucker punch you directly in the feels. Lest you worry that your British lad is getting too serious, he amps it back up for the bold, brassy opening of “Keep On Lovin’” with its sassy finger-snappin’ beat. Here, the gritty notes return to Worsnop’s powerful voice, segueing him perfectly into the soulful rocker “Am I A Fool.”
The minimalism of “I’ve Been Down” sees Worsnop laying his heart and soul bare in a truly show-stopping moment on the collection. There’s an intimacy to the track, one where his vocals are complemented solely by soft acoustics, and a candid confession that this man has been up and he’s been down — and he’s learned to take nothing for granted. The best music comes straight from the heart and provides its listeners an unfiltered insight into its creator, and “I’ve Been Down” is some of the best in Worsnop’s oeuvre to date.
But you can’t keep a good man down! “Edge of Goodbye” returns to languid bass and a hip-swaying pace for a smoky blues duet. This transitions the vocalist into the soaring jam of the ironically-titled, celebratory “Heaven Is A Long Way Down,” and the delicate slide-guitar of the bittersweet nod that is “Tell Her.”
As the album winds down to a close, Worsnop puts his storytelling skills back to work for the autobiographical “At The Time.” A deeply personal glance backward, here we rewind to junior high and old best friends, troubles with family and beyond. Worsnop explores pride and loss, again laying his heart bare in a beautifully delicate Country-dusted ballad. Ultimately, he ends the collection with the grooving rocker “Ain’t Feelin Sorry.” As the album stomps to a close, he sings, “I don’t feel sorry for myself, it’s all my fault!” You can’t help but smile at the man’s candor.
Not to overstate the obvious, but this is not the Danny Worsnop that some fans might expect. Shades of Blue crosses into Blues Rock, Country, Soul, and beyond to allow the singer-songwriter to tell his personal tales of love, loss, and redemption. His vocals soar as he lays his soul bare, proving that he’s been both smitten and heartbroken, prideful and chastened. It all amounts to a truly impressive collection that proves that Worsnop, yeah, he knows a little something about that gritty, dusty, bluesy thing called Rock-n-Roll! For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Shades of Blue 4.5 of 5 stars.