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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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Thursday, August 13, 2015

VizzTone Label group artists: Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine - Coulda Woulda Shoulda - New release review

I just received the newest release, Coulda Woulda Shouda from Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine and it' clever and mature. Opening with Walkin' Home To You a 40's style country influenced blues track, Andra Faye, a multi instrumentalist leads on vocal, and fiddle backed by Ballantine who is actually quite fluid on guitar. Crackheaded Man has traditional blues styling and Faye finds the perfect venue for her vocals. Faye pairs up on mandolin with Ballantine on guitar for a very nice instrumental duet. Boogie track, It's A New Day has a more modern feel, Faye joined on vocal by Ballantine. Her mando work on this track is quite clean and Ballantine lays down dome fine guitar work. Liz Pennock penned, Take It Slow, sets up nicely for a bluesy ballad featuring Faye on vocal. Ballantine has a really nice opportunity to show his acoustic blues chops and he does a really fine job. Blues For A Crappy Day is a bit more uptempo with vocal duets and and a driving guitar rhythm. Faye's fiddle work coupled with Ballantine on guitar makes for a real nice toe tapper. Jazz influenced, Too Much Butt (For One Pair Of Jeans), has a sassy style reminiscent of early Maria Muldaur. Ballantine shows his acoustic chops again, taking a nice stylized guitar solo on this one. Piedmont style, One Dream At A Time, is driven by the tight guitar work of Ballantine. Faye adds a nice mandolin solo but it's the guitar rhythm that makes this track tick. Title track, Coulda Woulda Shoulda, is a quick little boogie with a swing flare. A woven play of mandolin and guitar and call and answer by Ballantine and Faye vocally sum up this track. Ballantine takes the vocal lead on traditional, Standing In The Need Of Prayer. Nice blending by Faye and expressive guitar work by Ballantine makes this one of the nicest tracks on the release. Working Mama Is Gone has a deliberate feel and bluesy tensions. Faye does some of her best vocal work on this track, complimented by mandolin and again Ballantine takes a real nice solo on guitar. John Hyatt's Feels Like Rain gets a really tender interpretation and Ballantine plays particularly expressive guitar riffs. Very nice! Mike Dowling's When You Gonna Stop Your Drinkin'? has a lot of spank making it one of the best tracks on the release. Faye really sells it vocally and Ballantine drives the train on guitar. A clever mandolin solo from Faye adds some additional spark getting ready for the conclusion. Bluesy, Clyde, is my favorite original track on the release with just the right tempo and style. Faye's vocals are solid and clear and Ballantine provides a tight bottom for another mandolin solo. Nice wrapper for a solid release.

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