Personnel: Simon McBride (vocals, guitar); Paul Hamilton (drums).
Audio Mixer: Peter Denenberg.
Recording information: Dragon Xing Studio, Annapolis, MD (2012); Hill House Studio, Belfast, N. Ireland (2012); Northern Ireland (2012); USA (2012).
Photographer: Richard Pavitt.
On the opening salvo of Crossing the Line, the first McBride CD to get a proper U.S. release, McBride mimics the sound of an air raid siren, perhaps announcing his intention to drop a sonic guitar bomb on unsuspecting listeners. "Lead Us Away" is actually a sedate opener, although McBride's technical skill is in evidence, even when he's holding back. With a metallic approach he groans out a catchy, Howlin' Wolf style chorus as he peppers the tune with a short, sharp, cascading lead line that whets your appetite for more, and he delivers. "Heartbreaker" is a short, snotty, midtempo rocker full of screaming guitar, a snarling vocal, and powerful support from drummer Paul Hamilton and bass man Carl Harvey. "Down to the Wire," on which he also plays credible Hammond B-3, is a slow groove that alternates his soulful vocals with volleys of grinding sustained notes. "Don't Be a Fool" is a soulful rocker with a Motown flavor, "Alcatraz" sports a strong horn section, soulful vocals, and more dazzling lead work, while "No Room to Breath" features backing vocals from Mia Simone to support McBride's tortured vocals and understated work on guitar and organ. The Belfast-born McBride started playing when he was 10 and by 15, he had won Young Guitarist of the Year from Britain's Guitarist Magazine. He turned pro in 1994 at age 16, and he's been tearing up the U.K. ever since. As Crossing the Line proves, he's ready to become the next Irish guitar hero. ~ j. poet