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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, December 5, 2016

Southpaw Steel 'N' Twang - Stat(u)e of Mind - New release review

I just received the most recent release, Stat(u)e of Mind from Southpaw Steel 'N' Twang and it's terrific! This is a creative release with a lot of diversity. Opening with Gateway, a subtle instrumental, JP Monkkonen on bass, acoustic and baritone guitars, Tero Mikkonen on drums, percussion and ukulele, and Ville Leppanen on steel, electric, resonator and vocals, this is a really nice tune with lead primarily in resonator. Gentle Storm has a blend of progressive with a touch of country with Leppanen on lead steel. Funky instrumental, Aloha Garage, has a snappy drum beat, strong bass line and a cool lead steel making this a cool rocker. Water, has bit of a Latin feel and at times sounds like The Mars Volta with rowdy vocals but cruising swing on steel. Very cool! Route 68 really jazzes it up but with a modern touch. Excellent jazz chords and jamming with a bit of twang bar laid in is just the right touch. This track really opens up with strong addition of drum work by Mikkonen. Excellent! Another jazz number, Blue Jean, is smooth as silk with bluesy guitar runs and beautiful articulation. On Lotto, the band has a real nice rock fusion groove and Pekka Grohn adds real nice keys. llO is a really interesting composition with a bit sounds like traces of King Crimson blended into an otherwise jazz rock track. With it's more classical styling, this track takes a nice ride. The second of the vocal tracks on the release, Something, is a strong ballad with a strong melodic line and vocals. It puts me in mind of the earliest of Elton John music with a nice blend on melody and composition. Very nice. Duel is a really cool track that reminds me quite a bit of older western type bolero's. With exceptional guitar work upfront, not unlike Akkerman in Focus, anchored by Mikkonen's drums, this track takes a full ride adding Jouko Auramo on trombone, Jermu Kolvukoski on trumpet and Perttu Pannula on sax. This track is a serious composition! Wrapping the release is Sergio, another track with a western flair. With nicely arpeggiated chords, twang bar bends and strong tom tom work in the background, this track is an excellent closed to a really cool release!

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