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Quinn Sullivan ‘Salvation’ album review: A confident album from the blues pop-rock wunderkind

American guitarist Quinn Sullivan has been turning heads since a young age. He’s appeared on two of the biggest shows in the US: The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He’s also played on stage with Buddy Guy and B.B King and released his first album before he was a teenager. Not bad for a guy who is now only 25.

But is the guitar wunderkind just another case of PR hype? Certainly not. In the case of Quinn Sullivan, he has the chops and songwriting ability that Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Joe Bonamassa also demonstrated at a young age. His guitar work is clean, confident and well-refined and his voice is light and breezy. This isn’t the vocal of a hardened bluesman, but one who’s combining pop sensibility with sophisticated musical arrangements without making them inaccessible.

The first part of the album has a harder edge with Dark Love and the title track Salvation (Make Me Wanna Pray) veering towards the raw bite of modern blues. Don't Wanna Die Today has a blistering solo, but the vocal shifts to a softer, more soulful sound, which just demonstrates Sullivan's versatility. Once Upon a Lie jumps straight into mellow pop-rock with elements of soul and funk. It could be Justin Timberlake or even The Weeknd or Pharell. Then the guitar solo is modelled on George Benson with a light and effortless feel. It’s super modern and expertly produced too. Nothing Gonna Change My Mind pulls all these strands together with a punchy but unaffected funk rhythm, replete with horns, and an instantly handclapable beat.

You can hear all the influences from Stevie Wonder to Prince and beyond throughout the album. It's accessible for Gen Z as they make their musical discoveries. It might be too pop-in places for traditional blues lovers but the songwriting and proficient solos make this album worth sticking with, even in its most radio-friendly moments.


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