Music, Print, Reviews March 19, 2021

Album Review: A.J. Fullerton – The Forgiver & The Runaway

by Chick Cavallero

Colorado’s A.J. Fullerton is a roots, blues artist with a reputation for slick, fingerpicking guitar and bottleneck slide talent. Over the last 4 years he has won 16 Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Awards in 9 different categories, representing TCBS in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and is now signed to his first national label, VizzTone records – all while under 30 years of age.

Produced by multi-talented Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk) and featuring a Canadian cast of handpicked session musicians, AJ leaps from the acoustic to a rich full-band sound on The Forgiver and The Runaway, a new hands-down-favorite AJ Fullerton album due out March 26.

A.J. Fullerton releases The Forgiver and The Runaway March 26, certain to be one of the best releases out of Northern Colorado this year.

“The whole idea was to go to Toronto and work with Steve to make a record of the songs I’ve had in my back pocket,” Fullerton says, and you can hear why one of the aforementioned awards he received was Favorite Songwriter.

“Cherry Red” (by JD Taylor and Tyler Goodson) and “Hooks in the Water” (by Colin Linden) aside, all songs were written by AJ, covering a wide range.

The opening gospel cut “Remind Me Who I Am Again” uses smooth organ and choir, “Could’ve Been Mine” has cool piano throughout with Marriner adding tasty harmonica, and the powerful title track has a funky, spooky aura both eerie and sweet, proving AJ to be both a master writer and guitarist.

Intense, haunting guitar work, funky bounce and searing soloing pair with tasty, powerful harp from guest harmonica players Paul Reddick and Jake Friel throughout.

For those missing acoustic AJ, “Homesick” and “Hooks in the Water” return to that style, though AJ is clearly comfortable fronting a band who showcase their talents.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Fullerton says of The Forgiver and The Runaway. “It takes some of the best qualities of my acoustic records & blends them into a full band sound.” With Marriner, he has accomplished that in a big way. If you aren’t familiar with AJ Fullerton, now is the time to get on board. This young man has a bright, blues future.

The Forgiver and The Runaway is due out March 26 via VizzTone records. Visit for more. Chick Cavallero is editor of The Holler, a monthly online publication from the Colorado Blues Society.