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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Blues Rebels- Open Road - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Open Road from the Blues Rebels and it's title is spot on. Blues artists Andy Watts (guitars) and Dov Hammer (vocals/harp), together with Avi Barak on drums and Amos Springer on bass make up the blues rebels. Opening with boogie track, All I Want,the Rebels establish a gritty take no prisoners attitude with a solid bottom, a driving guitar rhythm and solid vocals with Dov and Andy trading hot licks on harp and guitar. Very cool! Before The Jubilee has a real poppy sound with a catchy tune but I particularly like the hot guitar riffs at the end. Driving rocker, Seen The Light, has a steady rhythm and warm harp additions. Devil By My Side is a smokey boogie with a great bass line. Dov maintains the lead throughout with some creative harp riffs. Turn Back The Clock has a R&B feel with another cool bass line from Springer. Vocal harmonies on this track give it a more polished feel that may appeal commercially. What If is slower paced, constructed over the bones of a pop format. Watts takes a nice guitar solo in this track complimented by Hammer on harp. Reason To Live has a bit of western styling with guitar strumming and wind swept harp soloing. Very nice! Don't Want You Back is a nice blues based rocker with a cooker of a groove. Watts and Hammer both take nice stretches on this track. One of my favorite tracks on the release. Ballad, Looking In, opens with a sorrowful harp riff and is followed by smooth vocal harmonies. This track reminds me of Marshall Tucker Band in structure. Watts lays down a cool solo on this track and Hammer carries melody on harp when he breaks from vocals. Boogie track, Secret Smile, really grinds it down and Hammer cooks on harp. Yes he does. Living The Dream has a bright but cocky strut. I Don't Mind has a lighter jazzy feel with vocal harmonies and a catchy sound. This track catches a nice wave reminding me of some of the sounds that Savoy Brown used to get on some of their jams. Very nice! Trying To Get Paid is a jazzy shuffle track. Hammer takes his nicest run on harp on this track with the band keeping a tight track behind him. His vocals are also nicely suited for this style of music. Watts takes a crisp solo on this track as well but overall always remaining contained. Wrapping the release is title track, Open Road, with Matan Ashkenazy on Fender Rhodes piano and Hammer on harp. This is a really clean instrumental ballad with Watts' screaming guitar riffs taking center stage. Excellent completion to an interesting release.

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