Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dixiefrog Records artists: Balkun Brothers - Self Titled - New release review

I just received the newest release, Balkun Brothers by the Balkun Brothers and it is raw, bluesy and rowdy. Opening with Been Drivin', the Balkun Brothers do have a driving beat and with over the top drumming by Rick Balkun, a solid guitar base and single lead lines by Steve Balkun, these guys set high expectations (think stripped down blues version of Golden Earring). I Know What Ya' Did has a boogie bottom and heavy feet along with nicely blended vocals and tidy slide playing. These guys have something here that you gotta hear! She Got It All has a real strong guitar riff that sets the stage and solid vocals with a sound like Steppenwolf had a baby with the Stripes or the Keys. Steve's guitar work is flamboyant but contained in context maintaining a hard blues line with great vocals. Control Yourself leans strongly toward contemporary 2 piece blues rock bands and has a great sound with tight vocals and essential drum and guitar riffs. Excellent! Cold Heart is a solid rocker with roots deep in the blues. With trace guitar riffs like an early Tony Iommi this track has a heaviness to it that hits home. Rick's drumming gets splashy and brings up the tension. Very nice! Pawn Shop is a serious rocker along the lines of a Don Nix track with a infectious groove. Steve hits the slide and Rick's drumming is super. Very cool! Johnny Winter's Mean Town Blues maintains much of the feel and spontaneity of Johnny's original cut. A serious blues rocker handled respectfully and with passion! The brothers grind it out making it a highly enjoyable jam. The Painkillers has a solid blues rock bottom with the drive of an early 70's band but with a much more raw and modern approach. With drum rhythms not unlike John Bonham and the unstructured guitar soloing, this band is breathing new life into the genre. Bapadubap is a cool, jazzy, funky track with it's title describing it's rhythm. With a soulful vocal lead and a rich drum pattern, this track is hard not to love. A funky, heavy lumbering track with fever laden guitar and hard hitting drums and super vocals. Basic blues track, Jail Bird, has raspy vocals and prime Muddy Waters style guitar riffs. Addition of piano by Dave Keys adds a Paul Raymond flavor and Steve really hits the slide on the money. One of my release favorites! Storm For The Devil is a blues based rocker with fullness unexpected of a two piecer. Steve's slide style is unique and fat and Rick's drumming is concise and heavy. Great combination. Wrapping the release is Rainy Day Front Porch Blues a primitive blues with foot stomp and resonator. This is a deep blues track and perfect to close a strong contender in today's modern blues resurrection.

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