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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Big Legal Mess - Jimbo Mathus - Jimmy The Kid - New release review

I just received one of my favorite releases out of Big Legal Mess' catalog, Jimmy The Kid from my man Jimbo Mathus and if you haven't got this one, it's high time! Jimbo is an extremely meticulous and creative writer and one that I look forward to hearing from often. If you aren't yet a Mathus fan, he's played with everyone from Buddy Guy to Luther Dickinson and his music varies from hard country and bluegrass to blues and rock. His palette is full of color and originality. That being said, this release gives you a really healthy dose of solid country music, old style! The cover shows a graphic of a nude woman perched on a train... how can you get more homey than that! Opening with Good Old Time, a solid country track with a light taste of rock like you might expect from the original NRPS band. This track has authentic pedal steel flavor and none of the Hollywood sparkle. Excellent! Fallen Angel is a country soaked ballad in the style that you might expect from Porter. Yes, Jimbo is wearing a Nudie suit on the cover and he is not a all show no go cowboy but has real heart. This easy going track places you in the neighborhood bar drinking a Bud and listening to the juke box. No such bar in your neighborhood you say... time to move! Title track Jimmy The Kid ventures up the rock/country fusion road, notice that I didn't say country rock cause this ain't it. This is where rock country was intended to go. It has the best components of both without either loosing it's identity to pop music. Great drumming on this track reinforces it's strength. Super! Tenn. Walker Mare, has a bit of folk styling with light acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin work and subtle steel work behind Jimbo's honest voice. (OK... I did detect an Allman Brothers riff in there). Yeah buddy! Whispering In The Wings really grinds into the deep country flavor and this isn't vanilla. This is real country the way it was when Cash was a kid. Country style vocal blending has it's own sensibilities and I really love the vocal blending on this. It doesn't have to be pretty to be great... ask Van Gogh! Piano on the 2 and 4 really sets it off nicely. Tell It To The Judge has a much stronger R&B/rock feel to it without losing it's country edge. One of my favorite tracks from this release, Little Hand, Big Gun is a Chuck Berry style rocker with a terrific hook and a catchy tune. This is to this release as On Down The Line is to Exile On Main Street and no, I don't think it's an unfair comparison. Excellent! Check Out Time is right back into the Honky Tonk and Jimbo crying out a super ballad with fiddle backing and classic country style piano riffs dressed by spot on steel guitar. If you grew up anywhere away from the big city, you likely had the opportunity to hear this style of music and sadly there isn't much of it left. Jimbo nails it and has the right team of musicians backing him to execute it just right. Musicians include James Luther Dickinson, Matt Pierce, Paul taylor, Al Gamble, Jason Hatcher, Eric Lewis, Olga, Eric carlton, Austin Marshall, Leeman, Forrest Parker, Daniel Karlish, Tommy Borroughs and Travis. I'm Done is a curious track with specific hints to the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and Van Morrison (at least). Along with a very strong melody, it has a real cool country bounce with loose jam styling but succinct guitar soloing. Mystery is a solid rock style country track with construction not unlike The Band. When I say this, I mean not that it really sounds like any Band tune, but rather it is creative holding a rock footing with strong country influence and down home blues guts. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Hiway At Night, a nice easy paced country ballad with warm guitar chords and melodic steel wailing. I don't know about you but I miss "real" country music. When I hear something like this, I get genuinely excited for everyone who may have never heard it...and for those of us who have!

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