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Sunrise Over Sea may be the John Butler Trio's American major label debut, but it's hardly your typical introduction to a new artist. The album's mesmerizing 13 tracks deliver a perfect eclectic blend of blues, reggae, classic country, Appalachian folk, funk, rock and hip-hop beats in a form and style that can ony be classified as...well, the John Butler Trio.
The John Butler Trio's U.S. debut album, Sunrise Over Sea, is phenomenal -- from the opening notes of "Treat Yo Mama," a muscular and soulfully expressive roots rocker, to the final strains of the expansive, ten-minute-long opus "Sometimes." The John Butler Trio is arguably the best musical group Australia has to offer in 2005, and Butler's superb, bluesy riffs and innovative melodies are only part of the JBT musical equation. The sturdy rhythm section of Shannon Birchall (on bass) and Michael Barker (on drums) gives added life to hit contenders like the powerful "Company Sin" and the buoyant, breezy "Better Man." If the mid-album blues vignette "Damned to Hell" seems an ill fit at first, its lo-fi, banjo-strummed presentation shifts effortlessly into the warm, heartfelt "Hello." On occasion, as with the uplifting acoustic number "Peaches & Cream," Butler's voice recalls the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis, but Butler and his bandmembers are without question on their own trip. And one only needs to hear the magical love song "Seeing Angels" to feel the trio's transcendental power. ~ John D. Luerssen
Born in California but raised in Australia, guitarist John Butler debuted with his self-titled album in 1998. Fostering a laid-back style incorporating jazz, folk, and world music influences into his mellow singer-songwriter pop, Butler and his rhythm section made a belated American debut with 2001's THREE. The live set LIVING 2002-2003 cemented his popularity on the jam band and contemporary singer-songwriter circuits, as did studio albums like 2004's SUNRISE OVER SEA and 2007's GRAND NATIONAL.