JT Butler – Review

JT ButlerTexas-born JT Butler is a lifelong devotee of music. Raised in Gospel, and steeped in Soul, Blues, and R&B, the 5th generation musician has been pursuing his passion his whole life. As a singer and guitarist, the Bakersfield, CA, performer fronts the Horizon Blues Band, amongst other performance engagements. His devotion to music is immediately evident, and his emotional delivery conveys this love of music to his audience.

JT Butler

“Night Breezes” is loaded with longing and desire. The listener is easily swayed by Butler’s yearning as he sings “Lord I miss your body / and your gentle ways” with all of the passion one would expect from a heartbroken individual. His guitar playing is as brooding as his vocals; bended notes echoing his cries of pain. As he arrives at the line “Night breezes / remind me of a soft embrace by candlelight” the song reaches a zenith, but not a sonic crescendo. The ending reflects the emptiness Butler feels at having lost love.

On “Life On The Mainline”, a syncopated and bluesy shuffle brings the listener into a warning by Butler: “Life on the Main Line / ain’t no sunrise babe / when you get there / be prepared for anything.” The vocals augment the push-pull of the music; the syncopation of the drums intertwining with melodic bass allows Butler an exciting canvas over which to paint his lyrical story. Tense minor harmony resolves itself, but not after keeping the listener on the edge of their seat. As Butler launches into a passionate and bluesy solo, one has to wonder whether the guitar is his “true” voice; this is not a critique of his singing but rather an illustration of his instrumental prowess.

On “JT’s Blues/Thank God I’ve Got The Blues”, the band jumps right into full sound and energy. Butler recounts the days when “the Blues got me”, the time in his life when he fully fell in love with blues music. The production feels slightly artificial here, but the band makes the most of their delivery, exuding power throughout the recording.

“Baby I’m Just Window Shopping” is a mellow minor march, detailing the perils of having a wandering eye. While the music broods underneath, Butler sings “The girl looked so good / my eyes started poppin’ / of course here came my wife / I told her baby, I’m just window-shoppin’,” phrasing which he humorously acknowledges is probably not the best of choice of words for pleasing his wife. The darker tone of the harmony is offset by the playful lyrical topic and the low-key rhythmic accompaniment.

A bluesy rendition of Bill Withers’ classic “Ain’t No Sunshine” is right at home amongst Butler’s originals. Were it not for the popularity of the song, it would be easy to mistake for one of his compositions, the style and feel are a perfect match. Twin guitars trade solos, the first employing jazzy, muted tone with plenty of low-end, the second a more raw, trebly, and distorted tone, elevating the mood and emotion of the music to a crescendo.

JT Butler has been playing music his entire life, writing powerful originals and impressing listeners with his emotional guitar playing. Hopefully he keeps on rockin’ for years to come. We want to know what YOU think about the music of JT Butler Jr! Let us know on social media and also let JT know that you heard his music here first on Indie Music Plus! As always, thank you for reading and continuing to support indie music of all genres from all over the world!

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