June 17, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

CD review: Julian Sas – Stand Your Ground 2019: Video, CD cover

The Netherlands is the home of blues rocker Julian Sas. He has been making music for almost 25 years.  His 4 piece group consists of Sas (guitar & vocals), Rob Heijne (drums), Roland Bakker (Hammond B3 & piano) and Fotis Anagnostou (bass). 

This is his 10th studio release, with an additional 6 live recordings/DVDs. The band tours around Europe, increasing their fan base.  Stand Your Ground was analogously recorded in the completely renewed The Van Studios of Jan and Paul Schuurman in Spakenburg, Netherlands. All of the tracks were written by Julian Sas.

The opening track is “Runnin’ For The Money”. I like the B3 work by Roland Bakker and the fine guitar work by Julian Sas.  This tune has a great modern blues rock feel.  The 2nd tune is “Don’t Let Me Down”.  This cut is a slower blues rock tune, but with a nice dose of power in the music. The band cuts loose on “Stand Your Ground”. This cut is powerful blues rock, with stinging guitar. There is a great guitar solo that does not go to excess, and a 70’s Deep Purple feel B3 solo too.  It is my favorite on the release. Up next is “Anything”. I like the feel of this ballad. The solid back beat of Rob Heijne gives the rest of the band a platform to layer their sounds over. Clocking in at just over 8 minutes, the band really gets to stretch out on this tune.

“Howlin’ Wind” is another long slower blues rock tune. The band sounds good on this one with the B3 and guitar weaving their magic together. I like the sound of “Get On Up” The pace is quick and they band members play together as a unit. On “Tell Me Why” there is a very good intro with the bass and then the sound builds from there.  It is a powerful tune without any overdone playing. Closing out the release is “These 18 Wheels”. The pace is high on this 70’s period rocker.

Overall this one hits much more to the rock side of blues rock spectrum. I like the sound mix, but I would have liked the vocals a bit higher in the mix sometimes. I am a fan of the B3 and guitar interactions here, but others may not. Blues fans away from the blues rock vein may not enjoy this one as much.

Stand Your Ground is well written and performed. Julian Sas is a veteran blues rocker with a cohesive set of band mates. The music he makes has always straddled the blues rock line and always will.  His formula for all these years works. Sas plays for himself and his fans and that is what matters. There is not excess in the playing which I applaud. Without covers we listeners must pay more attention to the music as it is a new discovery. I found that easy to do on this release.  Overall this is a very good effort for music of this vein.  Go give it a listen.

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