Sometimes, John Butler Trio aren’t Destined for Radio
Before John Butler Trio was the house hold name they are today, before Butler chopped his dreads off, and before his 100th rendition of Ocean, Sunrise Over Sea was released. Their third studio album was released in 2004, littered with singles that rose the Aria charts and gained significant air time, but one missed its chance to be blasted in the car stereo. Sometimes, the closing track to the album, clocks in at just over eleven minutes, and though it may be the perfect ending to an excellent album, it was not destined for radio.
Beginning with the soft flutter of Butler’s 12 string and the prominent earthy tones of the double bass, Sometimes showcases a more vulnerable side of songwriting that had rarely been seen on the album. Fans often quote Peaches & Cream as being his most beautiful song, but I’d argue Sometimes. Not only does it lyrically showcase Butler at his best, but his guitar work is exactly what we’d expect from Australia’s leading blues and roots guitarist.
The composition of the song stitches the greatest parts of the album into one long-ass ballad. Against Butler’s gentler vocals, the bass echoes with a woody sound as if it’s being plucked in a hollow oak tree. A keyboard holds chords quietly in the background until half way into the song when Butler kicks his overdrive pedal and transitions to his heavier sounds. The song builds into a solo that holds the main melody fluttered before, his wah-wah and reverb pedals giving the groove that screams John Butler. The percussion crashes in the background, almost like a blues and roots breakdown. Those diehard fans who’ve listened to the album more times than they’d care to admit would hear the tiny slip ups Butler makes in the outro. His fingers slip between notes showcasing a rawness to his music we wouldn’t find today.
It probably was the eleven minute track length that kept it off the air, but damn we sure missed out on a fucking great song.