Many young players look to the guitar heroes of the 60’s and 70’s for inspiration, but very few are able to channel their influences as mesmerisingly as Dorian Sorriaux. When the young French guitarist burst onto the scene with rockers Blues Pills, he displayed an incredible maturity and expressiveness as a musician that was captured on their 2014 self-titled debut. Comparisons with legendary bluesmen Peter Green and Paul Kossoff weren’t hyperbole; you could hear their quality in Dorian’s playing touch. Now, following the success of Blues Pills’ second album ‘Lady In Gold’, Dorian Sorriaux is revealing surprising new depths to his talent, stepping out as a singer / songwriter with his debut solo EP ‘Hungry Ghost’, set for release on CD & Vinyl plus download and stream, on June 29th via Soulseller Records.
Recorded in rural Örebro, Sweden and produced by Dorian’s Blues Pills bandmate Zach Anderson, the psychedelic folk journey of ‘Hungry Ghost’s four songs may be a pleasant surprise to any Blues Pills listeners used to hearing the guitarist’s expressive leads. The video for the title track has already been unveiled and can be viewed here:-
Coinciding with the EP release, Dorian will be playing his first UK solo show at the St. Pancras Old Church in London, on June 29th; tickets are available via O2 and Live Nation. Sorriaux will then support Myles Kennedy at the following gigs:-
July 2nd Edinburgh Liquid Room
July 4th Belfast Limelight 1
July 7th Liverpool O2 Academy 2
July 8th Leeds Stylus
July 10th Norwich The Waterfront
July 29th London Palladium
‘Hungry Ghost’ draws on the rich inspiration of the golden age of acoustic folk, sparked by the discovery of a certain landmark 1971 acoustic album; “When I was 15 I discovered Neil Young’s Live At Massey hall,” Dorian explains. “Then slowly I started listening to more and more folk music.”
The Brittany native’s path of inspiration that followed reads like a who’s who of transatlantic sixties folk with Dorian reeling off a roll call of acoustic heroes including John Martyn, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Bert Jansch. “I love the honesty in their music,” he adds, “because it feels real to me and really personal.” While he hadn’t sung since those formative years after the guitar took over his life, a break in Blues Pills’ touring schedule has provided the ideal opportunity to explore this passion.
It’s easy to hear the influence of Buckley when listening to Hungry Ghost’s ethereal opener ‘Huitoto’, and the confessional, closing Neil Young-esque title track. They reveal the striking talent of a young songwriter who has been hiding in plain sight as a maverick guitarist but is now finally stepping into the light.
This is a record of performances captured purely, just like the golden age of folk that inspired it. The songs were tracked in relaxed sessions with live vocal and guitar takes through a single mic and Dorian was joined by two guests; Emelie Sjöström provides vibraphone accompaniment while Blues Pills touring member Rickard Nygren tracked the Fender Rhodes to add to the organic, vintage vibes.
But underneath its mesmerising layers, these are highly personal songs for Dorian. And for the first time he’s exposing his emotions to tape as a lyricist and vocalist. “I try to write as honestly as I can and put a lot of emotion into it,” he acknowledges. “These songs are really personal. I was scared to share them at first, that’s how personal they are. But it just feels like a natural step to play them to people now.”
That sense of a musician baring their soul without pretence runs deep in ‘Hungry Ghost’; shining through on the lilting ‘Need To Love’ and shadowed in the haunting arpeggios of closer ‘Hello My Friend’, a song that recalls tragic American folk hero Jackson C. Frank.
Looking forward to debuting his new songs live on June 29th, Dorian states that “I couldn’t be happier to play the release show of my EP at the St. Pancras Old Church. I once read that it was acoustically designed for the sound of choirs and the reverb is truly amazing. I sometimes find inspiration and write songs in churches, so it couldn’t be a better fit! See you soon London!”