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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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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Mackenzie Blues Band - Slam! Bam! - New Release Review

I just received the most recent release, Slam! Bam! from the Mackenzie Blues Band and it's quite different. Opening with Prelude, an a capella number with warm vocals, it's a sure fire great start. Down With Love is a rocker with blues overtones. Lead singer Tara Mackenzie brings to mind a number of female lead vocalists but likely mostly Grace Slick or Ann Wilson. Lead guitarist Trevor Mackenzie shows a SRV flair. Joined by Mike Weir on drums and Joel Dawson the band is tight. On Sweet Stuff, Trevor is light up the fretboard again joined by Chris Murphy on sax, Rob Mclean on keys and Rod Ramsay on harp. Move On has an odd (for rock) 3/4 time signature and basic a more euro classical vocal track. Bone Cage again returns to a a capella style joined by Drew Mcivor, James Keelaghan, Coco Love Alcorn and Rob Elder on vocals. Primarily vocal and drums (with rhythm along the lines of When the Levee Breaks) the track is tight and definitely highlights Tara's vocal style. Burned When You Play With Fire had a cooler rock beat and along with the supre vocals of Tara, I feel that Weir carries the track with simple straight forward drums. Trevor unleashes a nice shot of guitar flames with the overall timbre of the track being 70's rock. On The Other Side has a slinky, Latin style club feel. Again it's the percussion of Weir and key work that sets the track. A particularly nice guitar solo on this track sets it apart. Ballad, Ain't Tryin To Hide, a really simple bluesy track is one that should go straight to the radio. Tara's vocals are simple and clear. I Feel A Storm Coming steps out from the rest with pseudo psychedelic guitar work of James Gurley. It's slow bluesy nature, Tara's controlled vocals and the loose interpretive guitar work make this a definite best track for me. Weighing in at 8 minutes plus, this track is definitely out of the ordinary...and that's why I like it! Up! Up! Up! has an almost San Francisco sound with it's simple construction and unadulterated vocals backed by simple guitar, drum and tambourine. Higher Road gets a funky groove going between Weir, Dawson and Mcivor. Warm vocals on this track and certain changes give it a little taste of Steeley Dan. Cool track and another that could be a radio darling. Wrapping the release is Spiritual Power, a soul flavored ballad. Tara does a nice job on vocals and Trevor adds some real tasty riffs along the melody making for a nice conclusion to this unique release.

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