Country boy Drew McAlister, one half of acclaimed duo McAlister Kemp is finally stringing up his guitar for a solo venture. Black Sky is the debut release from this Australian native and he’s using this album as a vessel for an earnest journey.
Hitting the heartstrings hard is title track, and album opener Black Sky and it’s essentially an affirmation to those who may be struggling while enduring the many hardships of living rurally. It’s a track that’s full of reality, starting off strong with the line “sweat dripping off a young mans brow, he’s working hard at working it out”. Keeping on with tugging tales of the heart is track Storm Front, a romantic tale with lyrics spouting love and commitment, “Ain’t a storm front we can’t walk through, just know I’ll walk it with you” toughened up with a rhythmic beat and rock inspired riffs. While Last Night On Earth and Miracle On The Way slows down the melody a touch and lets the emotion and desire exude from McAlister’s rustic vocals.
However many of the songs on Black Sky are serious and full of sentiment a few of them don’t have an instant connection with your heart or ears, You Get Me, More To It and Let It Ride basically disappear from memory after an overall listen. But there are tracks that are less emotional baggage for your journey; In A Band and Clyde are much lighter themed tunes spinning the ideas of dreams and fantasy but musically still keep with the hard country harmonies of the rest of the album.
Drew McAlister has a true gift when it comes to translating stories into song. Black Sky is essentially a collection of tales from rural Australia and the heart, all told with his signature twang and an up tempo country melody to really pack in the emotion. It’s a genuine, hearty Australian country-rock release full of depth and personality.