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Album Review

Swamp blues twosome Moreland & Arbuckle, with assistance from drummer Brad Horner, graduate to the relative big time with their debut for the high-profile Telarc label. The hundreds of one-night stands in dingy blues clubs and as support for other roots artists yield a tough, no-nonsense set that barrels through 50 minutes of highly charged Delta-styled blues and blues-rock. Like Billy Gibbons, guitarist Aaron Moreland gets a lot of gritty sound out of his guitar, in his case a custom cigar box contraption with three guitar strings and two bass strings. A bassist contributes to three tracks, but Moreland's attack is so powerful that he doesn't need the help. Singer/harpist Dustin Arbuckle blows like a combination of Little Walter (whose "Hate to See You Go" is one of the album's few covers), Paul Butterfield, and Jason Ricci; in other words, plugged in and spitting blood. He's also become a convincing singer with a dynamic and powerful voice able to infuse emotion into the few ballads that provide a brief respite from the locomotive attack. His emotive croon on the acoustic "Your Man Won't Ever Know" is spooky and threatening. Less successful is the standard Chicago groove of "Don't Wake Me," a by-the-numbers shuffle that changes the disc's more raucous tempo but doesn't take the band, augmented by a pianist on the track, anywhere others haven't already been. But you're never far from a blistering, midtempo Mississippi blues like "In the Morning I'll be Gone," where the guitar and harp lock together on a grinding riff, then skirt around each other until the chorus. Moreland's banjo on the closing "Can't Get Clear" (an earlier creeping six-minute electric version is another album highlight) shows that he's far from a one-trick guitar pony. The band veers into acoustic country dirt on "Can't Leave Well Enough Alone" and "Red Moon Rising." Both changeups complement the more rugged, plugged-in territory plowed on the majority of this impressive disc. The pair's raw talent and gutsy approach, honed by a decade of roadwork and musical empathy, are evident throughout this inspiring, energetic, and dynamic release.

Customer Reviews


Fantastic new effort from Wichita's own Moreland & Arbuckle. Finally - John Henry on CD! This release sounds more like they are live, which is INSANE. It's all too rare we get to see at them play at home, but we locals were treated to an amazing show this past Friday. Their musicianship is hitting new highs, as if that was possible. Great cd, great band, jump onboard.


Just saw M & A at the North Atlantic Blues Festival, Rockland, Maine. They blew the crowd away!! Great sound, heavy rhythm and harp on hard driving Blues! Will get your Mojo workin'. Highly recommended.

Fired Up Blues

Moreland and Arbuckle opened for George Thorogood in Tucson but, only got to play for 30 minutes. What they showed us, however, was great guitar work and harmonica. The cigar box guitar was especially cool. These guys can rock and I recommend you check them out if given the chance. They certainly got the crowd going for the Destroyers!


Formed: 2001 in Wichita, KS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Guitarist Aaron Moreland and harpist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle have fashioned an old/new 21st century roots sound by merging several American musical strains, from blues, folk, and country to rock and soul, and when at their best, they do it all with a raw and energetic passion. Moreland and Arbuckle met at an open-mike session at a club in Wichita, Kansas in 2001, and since both were exploring country blues, they began playing together, starting a quartet called the Kingsnakes. Personnel came and...
Full Bio
Flood, Moreland & Arbuckle
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Customer Ratings