Music Review: Big Wolf Band – Rebel’s Journey

Written by: Nick Ashton


Album Title:

Release Date:

Big Wolf Band

Rebel’s Journey

19th April 2024

Rebel’s Journey, which is the second of a planned trilogy of releases, represents a very personal journey for frontman Jonathan Earp. Jonathan struggles with his health as a result of a rare condition known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which affects the body’s connective tissues and leads to the dislocation of joints, and this battle is reflected in a number of songs.

Black Dog Blues is a traditional blues song which talks about the depression that he deals with due to the pain associated with his condition. Underpinned by a lush Hammond organ sound and backing vocals from Big Wolf Band alumna Zoe Green, the plea to take the pain away is mirrored by an anguished guitar tone which makes for a heart-felt solo at the core of this song. Standing in the Rain also addresses Jonathan’s bouts of depression, and a feeling of detachment from the surrounding world; but at the same time it is uplifting in a way that only the blues can achieve. While lyrically the song might be about the darkest moments in life, that beautiful crying guitar tone really hits the spot, conjuring up a mixture of sadness and elation as you surrender to the solo which slowly builds and builds towards a crescendo. This is certainly a song that promises to be a big set piece in the live set and is sure to receive a rapturous reception. The third song addressing the theme of depression is the more upbeat Living on Borrowed Time, which comes out fighting from the start. There is more of a rock sound to this song, which is driven forward by an insistent drum beat and a distorted riff underneath the bluesy lead guitar tone. Bolstered once more by Hammond organ and Zoe’s backing vocals, the sound is full and luxurious belying the feeling of despair in the lyrics.

If this talk of depression and misery is getting you down, then fear not because the blues can be upbeat too. Empire and a Prayer is a pean to the open road with a driving rhythm and positive, summery vibe. Built around a simple keyboard refrain and short but sharp guitar solo, this will get your toes tapping. Rise Together, which has a country feel thanks to the harmonies provided by Zoe and gospel-flavoured backing vocals courtesy of Jonathan’s wife Tracey and Sheena Sear, has a positive message about standing together against the world. Inspired by the relationship between his son and future daughter-in-law, this is a laid-back, feel-good song which evokes travelling through wide open spaces in a convertible without a care in the world. Crazy Love has a funky groove with some slinky bass and a guitar line reminiscent at times of the Theme From Shaft, while Just a Little Bit’s laid back swagger is down and dirty with some sassy back vocals and a guitar solo that is simply too cool for school.

If you have the blues in your soul, then Rebel’s Journey is an album well worth exploring.

Just as it is the law that every rock band has a song about a river, so too is it written that blues bands must have a song about a crossroads demon. Big Wolf Band go one better than that by including two songs involving a deal with the devil. Valley of the Fallen Kings puts a new twist on a familiar tale, in which our protagonist is given an opportunity to come back from the dead if he agrees to take the souls of the blues greats to the crossroads where they enter the titular valley. After 10 years he is released from the agreement, returning to the rat race and leaving the valley of the blues greatest heroes behind. Musically, this is another upbeat number leaning more towards the rock end of the spectrum yet still retaining that blues guitar tone which defines the Big Wolf Band sound. The second song to describe an encounter with the devil is Six Strings Loaded. This is a slower, bluesy number driven by the rhythm section of Mick Jeyne on bass and Tim Jones on drums who propel the song forward relentlessly. The lyrics tell the story of a six-string gunslinger who made a deal with a devil but is now returning to hell to try to win his soul back.

Finally, we finish with two slower, more introspective songs which show the power and depth of writing on offer on Rebel’s Journey. Darker Side of You is a slow building number which talks about a relationship that has run its course and is falling apart. The bittersweet guitar tone conveys the pain and despair that comes with the realisation that it’s all over, as you recognise that your former lover is an emotional vampire who gave nothing back. Album closer Too Many Times turns its gaze on politicians who fail to learn lessons from history and are willing to engage in yet another war which profits the few while inflicting pain on the many. The lyrics are delivered with barely hidden contempt and the solo lashes out angrily before the song slowly fades out asking what do we need another war for?

If you have the blues in your soul, then Rebel’s Journey is an album well worth exploring.



Check out Big Wolf Band on their website and social pages:







Rebel's Journey album artwork featuring the album title and a car

Band Members

Jonathan Earp – Lead guitar and vocals
Mick Jeynes – Bass
Tim Jones – Drums
Justin Johnson – Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals
Robin Fox – Piano and Hammond organ

Track Listing

  1. Empire and a Prayer
  2. Valley of the Fallen Kings
  3. Lay it on the Line
  4. Rise Together
  5. Six Strings Loaded
  6. Black Dog Blues
  7. Standing in the Rain
  8. Living on Borrowed Time
  9. Got Me Reeling
  10. Crazy Love
  11. Darker Side of You
  12. Just a Little Bit
  13. Too Many Times
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