• Gloria Tang

Daxton's New Album Electric Satellite

Daxton is a blues player, and his album Electric Satellite is a powerful, 12-song set of explosive tracks. Although it’s blues-based, Daxton plays these songs with an alternative rocker’s edge. There’s a lot more going on, stylistically, than you might at first think.


Listen to the Album here:


When it comes to naming his songs, Daxton appears to believe in brevity. Noting here is longer than three words, and most of these are no more than two words long. There’s lots of grungy slide guitar throughout, and Daxton sings his songs with a scratchy, harsh, but always sincere voice.


One of the early tracks on this release is titled “Groovy Love.” Ironically, though, it doesn’t really contain irony in its performance. ‘Groovy’ is one of those words that went out with bell bottoms and lava lamps. Who knows, though, maybe it is (or will be) making a comeback. Everything comes around again, at least with regard to fashion, so it’s entirely possible that seemingly dated words will regain relevance again. The very next song, “Spaces,” is a quieter, more moody recording. It sounds a little bit like a Dire Straits album cut, more than anything that might pass for the blues.


Daxton gets back to playing the blues with “Otherside,” which also carries with it a slightly western musical tone. Daxton has said he enjoys most singing about “life and death, the yin and yang of life, love and loss” and this song, which sounds to be about life after death, fits right into the artist’s thematic wheelhouse. The album’s title track, “Electric Satellite,” is one of the recording’s most alternative rock-ish entries. It’s performed at a fast, rocking pace, complete with plenty of tasty electric guitar.


“End Of The Road” kicks off with a spoken word part. It soon shifts up into a rollicking electric blues groove. Many of its lyrics incorporate familiar blues themes, including roosters crowing and such. The track is propelled by wonderful slide electric guitar. It feels like Southern rock in places, too. “Don’t be afraid of freedom,” Daxton reminds us, in that scraggily voice of his.


“Devil’s Train,” which once again leans lyrically to spiritual themes, is a mostly acoustic blues track. Trains have historically been used to describe morality travel vehicles. You don’t want to ride that devil’s train because it’s a nonstop journey to hell. Instead, you always want to catch that Heaven Southwestern, instead, which takes you to stuff like streets of gold. Nevertheless, there are those that feel destined to ride the devil’s locomotive, even though they know exactly where that big, bad, black engine will take them.


With “Magic Morning,” Daxton colors a kind of grungy rock tune with Neil Young-ish harmonica. The rhythm is much more rock & roll than bluesy on this track. The album closes with the song “Memphis,” where Daxton finds himself on a train again. Only this time, it’s the last train to Memphis, a city with plenty of blues and rock tradition. This one also includes lots of enjoyable harmonica and slide guitar.


Sure, blues music may be Daxton’s biggest music inspiration. However, it’s obvious he’s listened to plenty of rock and roll styles, as well, throughout his life. Thus, there is much more variety than you might expect to find on Electric Satellite. You may want to call this album one eclectic satellite of sounds.


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-Dan MacIntosh