Quinn Sullivan, Wide Awake

Quinn Sullivan, Wide Awake, Provogue/Mascot

I first saw Quinn Sullivan playing one summer’s evening in London in 2016 at the Eventim Apollo. He was the support for Buddy Guy and the whole audience’s collective jaw dropped at the guitar chops of this young man – then 17 years old – and his stage presence. When he came on for a couple of songs later with Buddy Guy and they traded guitar licks, mimicking various well-known guitarists, you knew what a prodigious talent he was.

He had, of course, been touring the world since he was aged 11, sharing stages with not only Buddy Guy, but B.B. King and Carlos Santana, and appearing on US national TV shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oh, and he’s played Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival as well.

As I listened to his 2017 album, Midnight Highway, I realized Quinn Sullivan was not only a talented guitarist, but an excellent singer and songwriter. I couldn’t help thinking of John Mayer as a young artist, multi-talented and a great performer.

His new album, Wide Awake, recorded in Los Angeles with producer/collaborator Oliver Leiber, continues to deliver on his early promise, with twelve strong original songs. It’s more in the pop / light rock category than blues or Americana, but Sullivan’s guitar work is still nicely prevalent on each track. And – he’s as good a singer as he is a guitarist – the vocal performance on the album is very assured.

There’s nice variety throughout, from the upbeat opener and debut single, All Around the World to the breezy pop of Real Thing to the retro-rock of Strawberry Rock to the gentle singer-songwriter feel of Jessica. The songs are all melodic, enjoyable affairs, testimony to Sullivan’s song-writing skill.

“I want people to understand who I am as an artist,” Sullivan says, “I think my audience will appreciate the fact that the guitar is still a huge part of who I am…I want to stay true to where I come from, and go from there.” He says he wants to grow as an artist. Wide Awake is evidence that that is already happening.

Track Listing 1.All Around The World
2. She’s So Irresistible
3. How Many Tears
4. In A World Without You
5. She’s Gone (& She Ain’t Coming Back)
6. Baby Please
7. Real Thing
8. You’re The One
9. Wide Awake
10. Strawberry Rain
11. Jessica
12. Keep Up