Critic's Choice for top overall album in 2001. Also the acoustic song "Adam
& Eve" won an Independent Music Award Finalist.
Australian Geoff Achison has been rocking the world from Melbourne to
Memphis, where he won the prestigious 'Albert King Award' for the Most
Promising guitarist and a Gibson Guitars endorsement in 1995. Born in
country Victoria, he headed for Melbourne to find his way in the world.
He learnt from local blues legends before stepping out on his own and
forming his own band, 'The Souldiggers'.
Since 1994 he has released six albums winning high praise from
international critics: The debut album "Big Machine;" the award winning
"Genevieve" in 1995; his rootsy acoustic tour de force "Mystery Train" in
1996; the blues-rock kicker, "Gettin' Evil" in 1999 featuring his Portland,
Oregon Souldiggers; the live electric jamming "Live at St. Andrews" with
his hometown band in 2000; and most recently, another live effort with his
British Souldiggers - "Souldigging in the UK" which is half acoustic and
He's won a swag of awards and established himself as a blues-rock
guitar virtuoso and songwriter who excels in both acoustic and electric
settings. His playing also features bursts of jazz, funk and soul. Mix this
together with Geoff's gravely vocals and you have a world-class,
Touring non-stop, Geoff built his reputation on his live performances, full
of energy, artistry, complexity and simply great playing. A reviewer in
Atlanta noted "his mastery of both the acoustic and electric allow his
guitars to achieve heights never reached by most accomplished rock
This has built him a loyal cult following among fans not only of blues,
but of great guitar players in general. While deeply acknowledging his
blues predecessors, his sound is a unique blend of rock, blues, soul and
jazz. Those who know claim "Geoff is at the top of the pile of
contemporary blues artists."
In 2000, he did a US national tour with the legendary Hot Tuna, which
introduced Geoff to many new fans. He has been invited 5 years in a row
to Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Guitar Ranch, where he instructs
students on his distinctive electric and acoustic styles.
Wherever he plays, whatever he plays, Geoff Achison is a performer of
the highest order.
Here is a review of a Souldigger show in the UK that gets it just right:
Live Blues Reviews - Stoned Free Publications, London UK
Geoff Achison and The Souldiggers
The Spitz, London June 12, 2001
Every one or two years, if you listen to enough music and go to enough gigs you finally get to hear something exceptional and Geoff Achison is exactly that. No-one else has stood out as being so excessively gifted since I saw Carvin Jones in action about two years ago, and the choice of material at the Spitz was faultless.
Achison is unique in that he runs two sets, a John Hammond-like solo acoustic section and a second set with full electric band: not only does this display his versatility but allows his material to run the gamut stylewise. Opening with "He's Got Away With Women" recalls the easy going humour of Dave Van Ronks' "Gaslight Rag" or Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps". Achison's composition "Beggin' Bowl" follows with the warmth and fludity of John Martyn's "Jellyroll Blues" and a total re-vamp of the Neville Brother's "Voodoo" is dispatched before the daunting task of the Allman's legendary "Whipping Post" arrives. Most bands would quake at the thought, Achison merely deconstructs it and re-builds it into his own monumental tour-de-force, if it wasn't so damn good you'd think it was unbelievably arrogant. "Hi my name's Geoff Achison and I'm about to play Layla on solo acoustic, don't worry though it'll be different but just as good as the original".
The full band joins Geoff for the funky "Getting Evil". It's at this point the semi goes into retirement and Geoff switches to electric, it's like watching a cat on a hot tin roof there's so much energy flowing through this band. Whether it's the slow blues of "Careful What You Wish For" (which shows why Kelly is so highly rated), the killer guitar solo on "Someone Tell Me Something I Don't Know", or the reggae pulse of the re-jigged "Years Go Passing By", it just gets better and better.
By the time Achison gets to "Souldigger" he's on fire, at this point it like watching lightning strike, just enough control to direct the firestorm. Willie Dixon's "Same Thing" has been re-designed and now recalls the easy grooves of Little Feat's "Spanish Moon" and also displays Geoff's uniquely subtle facility to play at extremely low volumes as on the outro. "Natural Facts" has the blues rock dynamics of prime time Jon Butcher before the "Willie and the Handjive"'s version of Johnson's "Walkin Blues".
The encore of "Overtime" is complete overdrive with Kelly in particular showing his mettle, and also "Hold On to what You Got" with its quote from "Third Stone From The Sun". One of the prime attractions is that although Achison may briefly recall anyone from Larry Coryell, through Peter Green to John Martyn, there is no overt influence but merely a brief flicker of recognition before dipping into the next way-station- Geoff Achison is simply his own governor.
Geoff's appeal is manifold, whilst being an exceptional player and playing his fair share of solos, he doesn't lean on extreme virtuosity, the song and the groove is king. Geoff, rarely overstays his welcome. To be honest Achison and Souldiggers are going to have a hard time improving on this because you don't get much better. Whilst the race to canonise him in the same way as Clapton or Hendrix may be slow, those that get to see and hear him will recognise that Achison and the Souldiggers are a major musical talent at the peak of their profession.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Comin' Ta Getcha
2. Be Careful What You Wish For
3. Tell Me Something I Don't Know
4. Gettin' Evil
6. Adam & Eve
7. Help Yourself
8. Hotel Room
9. Natch'l Fact
10. Don't Play Guitar Boy
11. Take What You Can Get
13. End of the Line