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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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Friday, August 30, 2013

Eller Soul Records artist: Holland K. Smith - Cobalt - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Cobalt, from Holland K. Smith and I really like it. Opening with Love Liquidation, a laid back Elvin Bishop / R&B style track with swinging blues riffs, this is a real cool track. You Get What You Deserve is a cool track sounding a lot like some of the earlier Steve Miller blues tracks with a jazz flair to it. Mr. Anson Funderburgh adds his guitar wizardry to this track as well as produces the release. Wes Starr on drums has just the right touch to highlight great vocals and Funderburgh's unmistakable style. Ron Jones also adds a lot of warmth on the bottom with sax. Just One Heartache smells like Texas blues with a great Texas lope Smith rips some great Texas style blues riffs. Real nice! The Itch has an early rock sound with emphasis on piano (Little Richard or JLL) and sax. Chuck Berry like riffs permeate the track but never sounding like anything but original. Title track, Cobalt is a really sweet jazz number. Leading off with guitar and sax duet, this track is cooking. Gentleman John Street keeps up the bottom with keys and Ronnie James Webber lays down the bass on really crisp drums by Starr. Smith really shows his versatility on this, one of my favorites on the release. Off The Chain is a pop blues track which should easily see airplay. Again Smith has a voice very comparible to Steve Miller and is very solid as a vocal leader with nice backing vocals by Chaz Marie. A really smart guitar solo tweaks this track as well giving it the teeth that I like. Lefty Williams' Little Bit Of Faith has that southern gospel rock flare and I really like it. The Secret stays in that gospel /soul vein and Gentleman John plays the keys like he's spent his life in church. This track has a real authentic feel and adds significantly to the entire mix. Smith bursts loose on guitar laying down a solid melodic solo. I Don't Buy That is another uptempo pop blues track with a good hook. Nice that the instrumentals and vocals are strong carrying this Latin rhythm-ed track straight to the airwaves. Never Got The Blues has a solid blues styling with great vocal attitude. This is the most pure blues track on the release and another of my favorites. Solid piano work from Gentleman John and warm guitar work from Smith highlight the release. R&B styled End Of the Darkness again has a real structured pop styling. Smith has a real good feel for song structure not only making very cool melodies by with a laid back feel and vocal style while playing ripping guitar riffs. Capping the release is a really cool track, Olhos Verdes (Green Eyes), played on Spanish guitar and with authentic percussion by Durity Nasuhoglu and shimmery electric guitar melody which is really effective. Street lays down balanced piano work and Smith's articulation on the Spanish guitar lead is beautiful. This is definitely a release to check out if you want something different. Very cool!

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