Julian Sas’ new studio album is called Bound To Roll. Like a big freight train the Dutch blues-rocker adds in the album’s title track and that’s a pretty accurate description of his approach to making music. Honest, unstoppable, never looking back, accelerator on the floor With a Gretch, a Fender or a Gibson, using fingers or a pick, a moving ballad or a heavy rocker, Julian and his musicians Tenny Tahamata (bass) and Rob Heijne (drums) only recognise one level of commitment and that is always much more than 100%. That drive combined with great musicianship made Sas and his compadres into a phenomenon; a top act with a large fanatical following, respected by fellow musicians and a welcome guest in sold-out venues and on festivals throughout Europe. And Sas himself arguably into Europe’s best blues guitarist and a very soulful lead-vocalist.
Already way back in 1999 Julian Sas and his band were headlining the legendary Fehmarn Festival, a German Woodstock equivalent dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. Another hero of Julian is Irishman Rory Gallagher. Not only was Sas many times top-of-the-bill at Festivals held in his honour, he also stepped almost in literally in Rory’s hoes. Several times as a matter of fact. Like headlining the annual Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland, Rory’s place of birth. Sas also performed more than once with the former members of Gallagher’s band.
Bound to Roll , Julian Sas’ eight studio album, is a record that took time to make. More than two-and-a-half years, tells the Dutch blues man, I had tons of ideas and was writing constantly but a lot of that went straight into the bin. ‘Bound to Roll’ is a very personal record. This album is about pleasure, enjoyment, love, loss, pain and sadness. About real life, about the blues, about experiences that, I hope, made me stronger and a better human being. For me making this album was a way of dealing with my emotions.
Besides 9 new Sas originals, Bound to Roll also features three covers; Rory Gallagher’s Shadow Play, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Humble Pie’s 30 Days In The Hole (their seventh single and also included on their Smokin’ album) About the choice of these songs Julian explains: ‘Shadow Play’ totally reflects my feelings about the recent period of my life. Especially the text. The song fits perfectly with my own songs. Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited’, is just a killer song, the groove, the lyric – everybody needs to get rid of something on Highway 61, personal or other. This is also the track that made me fall in love with playing slide. ‘30 Days In The Hole’; Steve Marriott is one of my favourite singers and writers. This song I wanted to record because of the aggression of the riff, a lot of anger, one of the greatest rock-riffs ever. All great songs to play!
Bound To Roll is an album Julian Sas and his partners Tenny Tahamata and Rob Heijne should be proud of. It’s a riveting listen and bursting to the gills with craftsmanship, inventive playing and emotion. The blues as it should be.