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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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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Stony Plain Records artist: Mike Stevens - Breathe In The World, Breathe Out Music - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Breathe In The World, Breathe Out Music, from Mike Stevens and it's a cool slice of contemporary blues/country influenced music. Opening with Like A Little Bird, harmonica master, Mike Stevens teams up with Polly Harris on lead vocal with a light reggae rhythm. Supporting are Jeff Getty on acoustic guitar, Kevin Breit on electric guitar, Art Kratchian on drums, and Jeff Bird on bass. Grumbling Old Man Grumbling Old Woman is a cool, jig featuring Stevens and Breit playing tandem melody/harmony lines over the tight rhythms of Getty and Kratchian. Very nice. Gordon Lightfoot's classic, The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald maintains it's easy approach but substitutes Breit and Stevens on melody giving the track a cool, folky feel. Bound by the solid acoustic playing of Getty and Kratchian, this is a strong entry. Jesse's Request is an interesting track with a really strong melody. With a lot of the characteristics of a western soundtrack, Stevens masterfully crafts the melody over the acoustic guitar base by Getty. Ida Red is another of my favorites on the release with the feel of genuine country (western) music. Stevens takes the lead on vocal and harmonica on this one with full backing vocals by Getty and Cory James Mitchell. Devil's Bride is tight boogie with the rhythm line set by Breit, Getty and Kratchian. I really like Stevens' vocal on this track and his harmonica work compliments the lead nicely and Breit's electric guitar lead rocks. Wrapping the release is Put Your Phone Down, a cool harmonica jam over the tight drums rhythm of Kratchian, joined by Andrew Collins on mandolin. This is an unconventional "blues" release, but a solid release with a lot of great harmonica work. Very nicely done. 

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