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Friday, September 11, 2015

VizzTone Label Group artists: Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Trouble Don't Last - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Trouble Don't Last, from Chris James and Patrick Rynn and it's a fresh look at Chicago style blues with a stripped down approach. Opening with Shameless, James leads off on guitar and lead vocal, Rynn on bass, Rob Stone on harp and June Core on drums. With it's quick steady pace, Stone and James each take real nice solos making this a great opener. Next up is Calvin Frazier's classic, Lilly Mae. James' vocals on this track are super and Aki Kumar shows why he is so requested as a guest harp player. Rynn drives this track on bass as Kumar and James solo. Excellent! Freddie King track, Lonesome Whistle Blues, (written by Toombs, Teat, Moore) is in full swing with Kumar and Stone trading riffs with James on vocal and guitar. Walking bass by Rynn and tight drumming by Core makes this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Digging down in the groove, Going Down To The Ocean, is another real smart track. James has both the vocal and guitar skills to carry off this type of stripped down feel and with only Rynn on bass and Core on drums, takes total command of the track. Complimented nicely by Kumar's excellent harp work, this track really grinds. Title track, Trouble Don't Last has a lighter, contemporary Piedmont style with Kumar adding to it's fresh feel. This track has that train feel without being driven by the harp but with a trace giving it a new approach and James' vocals being are manly but not heavy as associated with most more classic blues tracks. Very nice! An old Robert C Smith track, Don't Drive Me Away maintains a good track of it's Mississippi root without sounding like a cover. The stripped down nature of the band helps considerably in it's success as does James' particular guitar and vocal styling on this track. Uptempo blues track, Steady Goin' On, is a great harp rumble featuring Stone and Kumar. Solid foundation set by Core and Rynn gives James a great platform to throw down some of his best guitar work on the release, balancing the super harp duo. Excellent! One of the most compelling tracks on the release, A Good Idea At The Time, is strongly lyrical with rudimentary instrumentation. Stone adorns this simple track with pearls of harp and James dazzles the strings but it's the imagery that carries this track. Chicago track, Hard To Keep A Dollar, is a great story telling track with a bit of humor. Kumar has the harp on this track, getting great tone and James, Rynn and Core are musically tight. Wrapping the release is Sunnyland Slim's Roll, Tumble and Slip. With a Latin beat courtesy of Rynn and Core, the track has a cool uneven groove against the basic blues dynamics. Stone and Kumar both riff out on harp and Rynn really steps up on bass. This is a great closer for a fresh new Chicago sound release!

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