Grand National

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
It's been a few years now since John Butler and his trio first cracked the American market, but he's never had quite the same success in the U.S. as he has had in Australia, his father's homeland and his own residence for the past 20-odd years. Butler, however, should feel confident that he can hold his own against any of the Dave Matthewses, Ben Harpers, or John Mayers (all three of whom he can be easily compared to) out there. He's playing pop music, with all the sentimental, occasionally trite lyrics and clean major chord phrasing that accompany that style, but it's pop music done well, with impressive musicianship from Butler (on banjo, lapsteel, and acoustic and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
It's been a few years now since John Butler and his trio first cracked the American market, but he's never had quite the same success in the U.S. as he has had in Australia, his father's homeland and his own residence for the past 20-odd years. Butler, however, should feel confident that he can hold his own against any of the Dave Matthewses, Ben Harpers, or John Mayers (all three of whom he can be easily compared to) out there. He's playing pop music, with all the sentimental, occasionally trite lyrics and clean major chord phrasing that accompany that style, but it's pop music done well, with impressive musicianship from Butler (on banjo, lapsteel, and acoustic and electric guitar), percussionist Michael Barker, and bassist Shannon Birchall. Nearly every song on Grand National features at least one instrumental solo, the kind that rolls and sings and grooves and would make Robert Randolph proud, moving close to jam band territory without immersing itself fully in it (only one song, "Gov Did Nothin'," reaches far past the four- or five-minute mark, much in part thanks to a great New Orleans-styled brass band that plays the piece out to a close, and is worth every second). His willingness to explore other genres besides bluesy folk pop -- reggae in "Groovin' Slowly," hip-hop in "Daniella," and modern rock in "Devil Running" -- certainly adds a nice diversity to the album, but unfortunately this talent is double-edged, as it also becomes the album's greatest flaw. Butler often tries to encompass too much, to do too much, and because of this, comes off sounding a little corny (in the aforementioned "Daniella," for example, which is more embarrassing than anything else), truncating words in a weird Dave Matthews-meets-Adam Sandler kind of way that's too forced and unnatural to sit well. And though it's nice to hear, in "Funky Tonight," for example, that he doesn't take himself too seriously, his simple rhymes and delivery are a bit too silly when they're about love and dancing. When he uses them in his socially and politically oriented pieces, however ("And with God on both sides/If death is justified/Whatever the name/Then we're all to blame," he sings on "Fire in the Sky"), they ring more truly, or at least more originally. But what Butler does best -- writing and performing well-crafted pop songs, and sounding like he's having fun all the while -- is good, and though Grand National still may not be his entry up the Billboard charts, it's a welcome entry nonetheless.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/27/2007
  • Label: Atlantic
  • UPC: 075678999642
  • Catalog Number: 101649
  • Sales rank: 22,604

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Better Than - John Butler (3:29)
  2. 2 Daniella - John Butler (4:17)
  3. 3 Funky Tonight - John Butler (5:28)
  4. 4 Caroline - John Butler (3:48)
  5. 5 Good Excuse - John Butler (3:26)
  6. 6 Used to Get High - John Butler (4:29)
  7. 7 Gov Did Nothin' - John Butler (8:05)
  8. 8 Groovin' Slowly - John Butler (4:33)
  9. 9 Devil Running - John Butler (4:51)
  10. 10 Losing You - John Butler (3:47)
  11. 11 Nowhere Man - John Butler (3:22)
  12. 12 Fire in the Sky - John Butler (5:36)
  13. 13 Gonna Take It - John Butler (4:43)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Butler Trio Primary Artist
John Butler Indexed Contributor, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica, Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Vocals, yidaki, Lap Steel Guitar, Guitar (Nylon String), Guitar (Resonator), Weissenborn, Guitar (11 String)
Linda Bull Background Vocals
Vika Bull Vocals, Background Vocals, Soloist
Money Mark Clavicembalo
Ray Pereira talking drum
Sue Simpson Violin
Helen Mountford Cello
Jex Saarelaht Piano, Hammond Organ
Bobby Singh Tabla
Janette Mason Violin
Michael Barker Bongos, Conga, Drums, Glockenspiel, Marimbas, Tambourine, Timbales, Background Vocals, Kalimba, Claves, Timpani, Vibraslap, Vibes, Shaker, cowbell, Beat Box, Tubular Bells, Tongue Drum, Crotale, Cabasa
Nicky Bomba Vocals, Chant, Hand Clapping
Charlotte Armstrong Violin
Andrea Keeble Violin
Shannon Birchall Violin, Bass Guitar, Background Vocals, Double Bass
Danielle Caruana Vocals, Background Vocals, Chant, Hand Clapping
Eugene Ball Trumpet
Aaron Barndon Violin
Michael Caruana Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer
Jessie Goninon Vocals, Chant, Hand Clapping
Stacia Goninon Vocals, Chant, Hand Clapping
Chad Hedley Turntables
Stephanie Thom Violin
Erkki Veltheim Viola
Technical Credits
Mario Caldato Jr. Producer, Engineer
Michael Barker Producer, Contributor
Tom Walker Artwork, Concept
John Butler Composer, Producer, Artwork, Concept
Shannon Birchall Composer, Producer, String Arrangements
Robin Mai Engineer
Carmey Ground Packaging Manager
George Nikoloudis Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic live performer

    I cannot fathom why the John Butler Trio is not a major hit in the US. I have seem them three times in San Diego, at the House of Blues twice and small intimate venue hosted by KPRI, a local radio station. Whether in a full-on electric roar or an acoustic setting, they are superb musicians and seem to be digging every second of their performance. This album is a great example of their style, although Sunrise Over Sea probably has more "shouldabeenahits" than this collection. Their music is so organic and alive and fun, instead of the over-produced sound-a-likes that are getting huge playtime. Buy their albums, go see them live. The only fear I have of their success is that they won't play smaller venues anymore.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews