Album Review :: Dave Arcari – Devil’s Left Hand

Delivering more of his bar room brawling music, Dave Arcari sets fret boards and stages alight with another offering of trademark blues.

As a follow up to his hugely successful Got Me Electric, delta bluesman Dave Arcari delivers his latest offering, Devil’s Left Hand. Combining his now trademark fusion of traditional pre-war delta blues based riffs and a voice that feels at home down on the bayou, Arcari pleases both fans and newcomers with this latest album, his sixth in total.


With the impressive and wonderfully accurate tag of “Scotland’s answer to Seasick Steve” hanging over his head, a lesser musician would be swallowed up by such a hallowed compliment. Dave Arcari, however, is not a lesser musician. Rather than shy away from this pseudo sycophantic compliment, Arcari instead relishes in the spotlight and the accolades that follow a statement like that around.

In this latest collection of material, Arcari once again demonstrates the vast wealth of musical talent and knowledge from which he regular draws upon. With a unique ability to combine the sweet, soothing sound of the American Deep South with the more folk and vague rock elements of traditional Scottish music, Devil’s Left Hand once again aptly demonstrates the Scots guitarists best assets and love of what he does.

Kicking off the album is the eponymous “Devil’s Left Hand”, a traditional sounding delta blues based song that immediately illicts the sights, sounds, smells and anything else affiliated to the blues. Perfectly picking up where Got Me Electric left off, this track, along with “Can’t Be Satisfied” and “One Side Blind” have the almost boyish enthusiasm for the music that makes the man himself tick. “Blue Train” and the wonderfully titles “Come to my Kitchen” continue along this line of thought. The effortlessly smooth and indefatigably cool sound of the slide steel guitar rasping the sound into the listeners’ ears. If the devil could play guitar then it would truly sound like this.

Once again, Arcari features a traditional Scots folk song on an album, this time the wonderfully paced and highly charged “MacPherson’s Lament”. However, as is becoming a regular feature of Dave Arcari, any traditional element and rose tinted, Walter Scott romantic visions of shortbread boxes and roaming in the gloamin’ are shattered in a cocktail of gravel toned vocals and malevolent guitar. Perhaps this is a sign of the modern society in which we live but the furiously updated and harder, nastier sounding version of a folk song dating back to the seventeenth century certainly fires up the blood.

In all, Devil’s Left Hand is an album of which many things can be taken from. For fans of Arcari and his original and unique approach to both Scots folk music and the blues, this is more of what has been experienced before. For new listeners, the album serves as a fantastic introduction, not only to Dave Arcari as an artist but also to a genre that is progressively moving towards a tighter, more enclosed niche market. With artists like Arcari and his contemporaries, hopefully the blues, and specifically folk and delta blues, will not disappear entirely from gig venues all over the country and world.

Jonathan Whitelaw


The album is on general sale now and Dave is currently touring the UK. For details, visit his official website: http://www.davearcari.com

One Response to “Album Review :: Dave Arcari – Devil’s Left Hand”

  1. Andrea says:

    Great album, great music, great guitarist
    Deserves all the accolades he receives!

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