Blues Rock
35 - 0366205
  • Artist: Amacher, Marc
  • Format: CD
  • Order No.: 0366205
  • Release Date: 31.01.2022
  • Label: Jazzhaus Records
  • Genre: Blues Rock
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If you like your blues loud, raw and unconventional, then Marc Amacher is the just the thing for you. Those traits go a long way in defining this exceptional Swiss musician and were more apparent than ever on “Roadhouse” – the 2019 release with which he toured successfully in several European countries. Now, two years later, he's back with a new album and ready to conquer the international scene: Together with colleagues Norman Süsstrunk (bass), Dave Flütsch (drums) und Phipu Gerber (guitar), Amacher pushes the blues envelope on “Grandhotel”.

The title of the new album is symbolic. Two years ago, the singer, guitarist and songwriter was hanging out at the Roadhouse – that infamous, open-all-night joint at the end of the road where nobody asks any questions. Germany's premiere classic rock magazine ROCKS saw the album's "extremely intense" 13 tracks as an expression of Amacher's "undying love of the blues." A review on the website praised Amacher's "raw, deep voice," the "cool guitars" and the excellent musicianship of the whole band. But more than anything, the straightforward, unfiltered live takes on Roadhouse were a surprise to anyone familiar with Amacher only through his earlier studio albums, where the production was much slicker, or through his appearances on the popular TV show The Voice Of Germany in 2016. (Contrary to his own expectations, Amacher reached the series finale.)

Now, Amacher's musical travels take him a bit further on up the road to the “Grandhotel”. The name suggests luxury and perhaps a return to his former "digni-fied" ways. But make no mistake: The broad range of styles on “Grandhotel” sounds nothing like a fancy dress evening in the ballroom of a five-star accommodation, but more like a free-and-easy rock'n'roll party in one of the back rooms.

The first thing served at this party is a shot of adrenaline: Thundering guitars and full-bore vocals juice up Amacher's version of the Motörhead classic "Stay Clean." The band continues in the hard rock vein with "Ride" (sounding much like Bon Scott-era AC/DC) but then make a definite turn into the realm of stoner rock, starting with the nearly eight-minute, sombre-sounding "Devil". Here, Amacher and second guitarist Gerber trade heavy licks, poised atop a solid rhythmic foundation built by drummer Flütsch and bassman Süsstrunk. "STFU" – similarly distorted and psychedelic – leads

into one of the album's experimental highlights: The spaced-out "Berlin" evokes im-ages of a storm cloud in which the ghosts of Howlin' Wolf and Junior Kimbrough are hovering about.

Still, this is followed by a menacing (and convincing) reinvention of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," leaving one to wonder for a moment if Amacher has chosen “Grandhotel” to take a conscious step away from his blues roots. But the impression is only temporary: The remaining songs on the album are all blues-based, from the minimalism of "Judgement Day" und "Rocket Man Blues" and the jazzy "My Way" to "Diving Duck," which shows off Amacher's skill – already apparent on Roadhouse – in taking familiar blues standards of the past and turning them into something new.

As the party nears its end, we're invited to stretch out on the sofa and chill out to "Rocket Man Blues (Reprise)" … two chords that alternate endlessly deep into the night – carrying the listener to far-off places – until somewhere around dawn, they slowly fade away.

"I've never aimed to be the fastest guitar player on earth or the best at copying a song note for note," says Marc Amacher. "I've always wanted to do my own thing." If that is his ultimate goal then his stay at the “Grandhotel” has brought him one step closer to achieving it. Amacher is no copycat. His new music is not generic blues, nor does it fit conveniently into any other common category of rock music. It is merely the next stop in the journey of a musician driven by his own curiosity – one who'd rather enter unknown territory then go down a path worn out by previous generations.

  • Stay Clean
  • Ride
  • Devil
  • STFU
  • Berlin
  • Personal Jesus
  • Judgement Day
  • My Way
  • Rocket Man Blues
  • Diving Duck
  • Rocket Man Blues (Reprise)