Picks and Pans Review: Jon Butcher Axis

updated 05/30/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/30/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jon Butcher Axis

Butcher was discovered playing in a small Boston club in 1981 and handpicked by Peter Wolf to open for Wolf's J. Geils Band on a 43-city tour last year. He is a bluesy hard rocker who looks—and sounds—like Jimi Hendrix, down to the pencil mustache and the sizzling solos that fracture melodies with feedback. That is not to dismiss his promise as a songsmith and budding instrumental stylist. He doesn't just hand-jive but uses the guitar to create musical atmosphere. Thanks perhaps to producer Pat Moran, Butcher keeps a tight rein on his guitar gimmickry and doesn't muddy songs with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink arrangements. Butcher's savvy Axis colleagues are drummer Derek Blevins and bassist Chris Martin. They are at their crispest on the opening cut, Life Takes a Life, and a powerful rave-up called Send One, Care Of. Butcher, born in Alaska, obviously learned how to stay warm and to keep things hot for everyone else.

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