Hailing from the Far North Queensland hinterland, Miguel Rios is an Australian singer-songwriter with a rather free, openminded approach to life. One would assume the “no boundaries” community would inspire children; however, there is another side to the idyllic upbringing. It is these memories that remain with Rios and invoke his compelling, emotive and sometimes haunting melodies. The latest addition to Rios’ discography is the single ‘Black Dog’.
A highly gifted musician, Rios can easily hypnotise one with his soothing vocals and soul-stirring guitar. The second single off his emotive upcoming album Slaughterhouse Road, ‘Black Dog’ combines the power of Johnny Cash with the haunting intimacy of Leonard Cohen. The stripped-back instrumentation showcase Rios skill with a guitar, but also enhance the poignancy of this sombre tune with a melodic rawness.
Recorded Victoria in a small tin studio, ‘Black Dog’ has a haunting quality with an almost “tinny” melancholic vibe. Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan have reputations for intense lyricism slapping you with painful honesty and Rios is not far behind. While storytelling is important, it is more the tone and timbre of Rios’s voice that stab at your heart with red hot tongs. The gruff vocals expose a sense of fragility and stark vulnerability that can be difficult to listen to but secures a harmonic combination of instrumentation and voice. In fact, while it is rather bare-bones, ‘Black Dog’ does have a richness enhancing the nostalgic sentimentality of the track.
He is only two tracks down, but Miguel Rios has already ensnared my senses and captivated me entirely. I cannot wait for more material!