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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, February 24, 2020

Griff Hamlin and the Single Barrel Blues Band - I'll Drink To That - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, I'll Drink To That, by Griff Hamlin and the Single Barrel Blues Band and I really like it. Opening with Texas/R&B flavored, Almost Level with the Ground, Griff Hamlin and the Single Barrel Blues Band sounds like a solid blend of SRV and Robert Cray. Great guitar tone and that super soulful feel by lead vocalist and guitar lead, Hamlin is blended with a wealth of organ by Ty Bailie and the horn backing of Jonathan Bradley on trumpet, Eric Letta on sax, Kevin Hicks on trombone and Laura Hamlin on bari sax making a great fabric, anchored by Mark Smith on bass and Chris Atchley on drums. Hamlin not only has the fat, rich tone but the man can scream on guitar with fluid, meaningful soloing. Excellent opener. Boogie shuffle, Down and Out has a strong, driving beat and complimenting Hamlin's solid lead vocal is super piano work of Bailie and his own liquid guitar riffs and punchy horns. Radio style blues ballad, Someone, has a really strong melody and giving Bailie a nice opening for an organ solo, he steps up nicely and sets a great lead in for the dynamic phrasing of Hamlin on guitar. Clocking on at over 6 minutes, very nice. Louisiana Holiday has a great New Orleans drum beat and the horn section gets a nice chance to reinforce that. Hamlin's vocals work the track nicely and his guitar work is nothing short of terrific. With quick trumpet solo by Bradley and sax solo by Letta, this track is tight. With a hot SRV style guitar lope under the track, Don't Lie is off to a great start. Hamlin's vocals are consistently strong and his guitar work continues in powerful bursts. Very nice. Wrapping the release is a Bourbon and a Pistol with a cool Latin beat. With hot tom tom work by Atchlet, tight horn attack by Bradley, Letta, Hamlin and Hicks and the bright keys of Bailie, this track sets up nicely for Hamlin's vocal styling and relentless blues guitar attack. Excellent closer for a very strong release. 

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