CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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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Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Miss Emily - Live At The Isabel - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live at the Isabel, from Miss Emily and it's solid. Opening with Sometimes It's Better To Lose, Miss Emily takes command of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts with her powerful vocals. Backed by Van Sheen, James McKenty and Rob Baker on guitar, Gord Sinclair on bass, Seamus Cowan on bass, Zak Colbert on bass, Sean Jensen and Rob Radford on drums, Benni Vander on keys, Jon "Bunny" Stewart on sax, and Spencer Evans on piano. Who Is He is a slinky R&B number with a cool guitar vamp and lush backing vocals by Kelly Prescott and Chad Murphy on backing vocals. Gospel flavored Three Words, is one of my favorite tracks on the release with super dynamics and heartfelt vocals, accompanied by piano. Very nice. The Letter, made popular by Joe Cocker is up next and really a strong rendition, closely following Cocker's arrangement. Soulful ballad, Blue Is Still Blue is a great showcase for Emily and another of my favorites on the release. With a sparse background, mostly piano, this track is strong. Another flavor is The Sellout with it's R&B basis. Emily hardly takes a breath nailing it to the wall and with rich backing vocals and tight guitar answer to her call, this track is very nice. Wrapping the release is Hold Back the River with it's gospel roots, acapella, handclaps and all. I really think that this is a cool release and one that should get some attention.


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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Matay Records artist: Dione Taylor - Spirits In The Water - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Spirits In The Water, from Dione Taylor and it's a mix of pop, blues and rock. Opening with Water, a pop oriented track with blues roots, Dione Taylor on lead vocal and tambourine joined by Joel Schwartz on guitar, Lyle Molzan on drums, and Mark McIntyre on bass. With warm backing and a swaying rhythm, Down The Bloodline is a cool track and nicely complimented by Schwartz on banjo. Bluesy ballad, One More Shot is a real nice track that showcases Taylor's voice nicely. Cool dobro work by Schwartz adds another dimension and just the simplest of drum work by Molzan makes it one of my favorites on the release. Darkness is my choice for the radio track on this release with a solid melody, vocal layering and interesting guitar work sounding a bit like Fleetwood Mac. Wrapping the release is pop rocker, Running, with it's simple rhythm and solid melody. Taylor has put together a solid package with a broad variety of music.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Steve Strongman - Tired of Talkin' - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Tired of Talkin', from Steve Strongman and it's his best release yet! Opening with title track, Tired of Talkin' with a wicked blues fused, southern rocker feel Strongman up front on lead vocal and guitar shows swagger. Backed by Dave King on drums, James Haggerty on bass, Jesse O'Brian on piano, Pat Sansone on on keys, and with Audrey Freed on guitars, excellent opener. Laid back, Still Crazy 'Bout You, is really cool with it's JJ Cale or Levon Helm texture. Strongman's dobro work complimenting his vocal work is the key. Funky, Just Ain't Right, is really fun with some strong slide work by Strongman, and tight bass/drum work by Haggerty and King and heavy organ by Sansone. Excellent! Hi octane blues rocker, Can't Have It All with Strongman on harmonica and guitar and snappy drumming by King really moves. Highway Man falls back into a more pure delta sound with dobro and vocal. This is stripped down and fluid. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Al Green's Let's Stay Together in it's original R&B format. Strongman does a real nice job on this track vocally and his added fusion style guitar soloing is tight. Solid closer. 


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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Justin Saladino Band - Live - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live, from Justin Saladino Band and it's a cool rocker with plenty of radio potential. Opening with Take What You Need, Saladino on lead vocal and guitar, joined by Antoine Loiselle on guitars, David Osel-Afrifa on keys, Denis Paquin on drums, Gabriel Forget on bass, and Lucie Martel on vocal and percussion. Continuing with it's happy go lucky pace and beat, Honey has a great melody and some real nice guitar work. On Tom Petty's You Don't Know How It Feels, Saladino adds in a little slide and some heavy organ giving the track a more bluesy feel. On blues ballad, Peace With You, Saladino really works the vocals laying down the best track on the release. Nicely phrased lead guitar soloing and a quiet background really elevate this track. Very nice. Another favorite on the release is Purple Girl with overdriven guitars with traces of Jimi or Gary Clark Jr. Really a cool blues rocker. Wrapping the release is No Worries a springy rocker with heavy overtones. I like the Haynes like guitar accents to the vocal lead and tight rhythm section on this track. This is a cool closer for a solid release. 


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Monday, August 31, 2020

Big Pacific: Welcome To The Party - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Welcome To The Party, from Big Pacific and it's a pretty cool rocker. Opening with title track, Welcome To The Party, Roly Sandoval on guitar and vocal, Nick Dokter on drums and vocals, Wayne Veillet on bass and vocals and John Hannah on keys set a solid groove. Sandoval's slide work gives the track a fun feel and Dokter's drumming keeps it tight. Slip Away is a strong pop rocker that reminds me of early Kinks or Who. With it's strong melody, blended male vocals, primarily piano accompaniment and slide guitar, it's a cool radio track. Hard Road is another radio track but with a smoother "Eagles" type approach. With it's "sweet" melody, clean guitar solo and warm vocal harmonies, the track is on good footings. Run To The Night is another firm track with influences of Tom Petty or Don Henley with isolated lead vocal and well placed keyboards and guitar lead. My favorite track on the release is Blue Moon Blues with it's double time rhythm, driving drums and guitar sequence and over the top organ. Very cool. Wrapping the release is country flavored Here's To Yesterday with acoustic guitar accompaniment and cool vocal blending. This is a cool and pleasurable rocker with a little bit for everybody. 

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Smoke Wagon Blues Band - The Ballad of Albert Johnson - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Ballad of Albert Johnson, from The Smoke Wagon Blues Band and we got some tasty stuff here. Opening with title track, Ballad of Albert Johnson, a romping boogie with a great bass line courtesy Jason Colavecchia on bass and strong lead vocals and harmonica by Corey Lueck. With Mike Stubbs on guitar, Brandon Bruce on keys, Gordon Aeichele on sax, Steve Sherman on guitar, and Tibor Lukacs on drums, this is a strong opener. Bluesy ballad, Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool is a great showcase for Lueck's vocals and a super radio track. New Orleans flavored, Lay Say Lay has a great beat with great piano work by Bruce and snappy drum work by Lukacs and percussion by Sherman, topped off with really nice sax work by Aeichele and backing vocals by Stubbs, Bruce, Sherman, Colavecchia and Lukacs. Poor Man Blues has a great shuffle feel and gives Lueck a wide open stage to play his harmonica and he does a terrific job, followed by a soulful sax solo by Aeichele. Very cool. Another cool boogie track, Can't Take The Blues has an infectious groove with a strong bass line, super vocals, a solid sax solo by Aeichele and a tight mix. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Steaming Comrades Harp Boogie, a live track with a rhythmic Bo Diddley beat. Lueck leads the way on vocal and harp kind of reminding me of an old John Mayall performance and the band pumps it up all the way. Cool closer. 

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Monday, June 1, 2020

Adam Karch - Everything Can Change - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Everything Can Change, from Adam Karch and it's an interesting mix of acoustic and electric fused folk/blues music with solid vocals. Opening with It's Your Song, a contemporary, radio style track with a solid melody and clean acoustic guitar work, Adam Karch shows his stuff on vocal and guitar, backed by Richard Deschenes on bass and Marc-Andre Drouin on drums. JJ Cale's classic, After Midnight gets a substantial rework and I like it. Starting with acoustic slide and fine finger picking, Karch's stylistic vocal phrasing really changes the track and it's as cool as the original. Very nice. Porch Groove (Sunday Morning) is a real relaxing meandering melody on acoustic guitar. Very nice. Another nice cover is Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. Karch has one of those voices that is warm and refreshing and his picking style is clean and concise. Very nice. Wrapping the release is another Porch Groove (Saturday Evening) with a more contemporary finger picked melody. Karch is a talented musician and vocalist who has put together a real nice release. 

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Black Hen Music artist: Maya Rae - Can You See Me? - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the debut release, Can You See Me?, from Maya Rae who demonstrates strong vocal skills and a fine hand for melody to match her lyrical skills. Opening with title track, Can You See Me?, Maya Rae who has a clear, pop style voice, with traces of Joni, Fiona and other successful folk style vocalists backed by guitar whiz Steve Dawson, Jamie Dick on drums, Jon Estes on bass, Kai Welch on keys and uke, and backing vocals by Allison Russell and JT Nero. Very nice opener. With just a dash of country styling, The Sun Will Come Out Again is another strong composition with a solid melody, and includes vibes by Charlie McCoy, Kristin Weber on violin, and Larissa Maestro on cello. I really like the delicate vocal treatment and musical contrast by Rae on Picture Frame and the vocal harmony work on Storm Leaf really makes for a nice pair of tracks. Bluesy, Freedom Fighter, is one of my favorites on the release with Welch on Wurlitzer, Dawson on slide and adding Sam Howard on vocal. Moon Girl has one of those paces that just captivates you and the vocal backing by Russell and Nero beautifully compliment Rae's own lush lead. Wrapping the release is Goodnight River, a simple ballad with only the minimal of backing by Dawson, Dick, Howard and Welch. This is a very nice closer for a solid release. 

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - Prove It On Me - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Prove It On Me, by Rory Block and it's pretty tasty. Opening with Helen Humes' He May Be Your Man, Rory Block uses her laid back bluesy style with some of her best vocals in years, matched by her always concise guitar riffs. Excellent opener. Stuff Smith's If You're a Viper is a great tune, paying tribute to Rosetta Howard. Block's vocals are altered into a cool, more vintage feel and with light percussion and great slide, all played by Block. Very nice. Ma Rainey's Prove It On Me is the title track and shines brightly with full, thick vocals and sweet slide work. Blocks really hits her stride on this release, with a clean contemporary recording of excellent old classics. Memphis Minnie's In My Girlish Days is among my favorites on the release with rich vocal styling and Block's well known slide techniques, backed by her own angelic harmonies. Merline Johnson's Milk Man Blues (Yas Yas Girl) is my favorite track on the release with it's perfect poised pace, Block's extra work on vocal delivery which is extremely convincing for the time period and always excellent slide work. Wrapping the release is Elvie Thomas' Motherless Child, a strong closer with deep vocal character and clean slide soloing. This is a strong acoustic release. Check it out!  

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Stony Plain Records artist: Sass Jordan - Rebel Moon Blues - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Rebel Moon Blues, from Sass Jordan and it's got a raw edge. Opening with a funky take on Sleepy John Estes' Leaving Trunk, Sass Jordan shows just how special her vocals can be with Steve Mariner on harp adding great punctuation. Backed by the Champagne Hookers, Chris Caddell on guitars, Jimmy Reid on guitars, Derrick Brady on bass and Cassius Pereira on drums, this is a great opener. Smokin. On Keb Mo's Am I Wrong, Jordan works it hard with Caddell on slide acoustic guitar, kick drums and basic handclaps percussion. Simple and solid. JB Hutto's Too Much Alcohol gets a strong remake with Caddell on slide dobro. Keeping the track in it's raw "acoustic" format and accentuating the raw marriage between Jordan's vocals and the sound of Caddell's resonator guitar makes for great blues. Wrapping the release is Gary Moore's blues ballad, Still Got The Blues. Jordan backs off of the throttle just a little and allows the natural smoothness of her vocals float on the back of Moore's melodic guitar lead, played here by Caddell. This is a cool release showing the strong vocal talents of Jordan.



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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wide Mouth Mason - I Wanna Go With You - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, I Wanna Go With You, from Wide Mouth Mason and it's got a cool, stripped down, earthy sound. Opening with Bodies In Motion, Saskatoon born Shaun Verreault on vocal and guitars and Safwan Javed on percussion and vocals establish a high bar with a fat guitar toned, blues rhythmed, track with a solid melody and super vocals. With phrasing that puts me in mind of prime Leon Russell, this is a super track. Quick paced, Some Kind of Requiem, is a snappy, contemporary blues number with fluid slide runs and strong vocals. Very nice. I really love the overdriven electric guitar sound that Verreault gets on Erase Any Trace. These guys have focused in on a really cool blend of blues, rock and gospel styling that really hits square. Very nice. On Only Child, Mason stretches further into the driving rock styling but preserving the raw blues edge grinds out s pure rocker. Excellent! Another style covered is southern blues style of Shorty Medlock on High Road. Guitar picking, over laid on slide work and a driving bass line gives this track particular traction. Listen closely on Modern Love, yes, the Daviid Bowie hit track gets a total rework and if you don't catch the words will likely slip right past you. It retains the original energy but totally reworking the track format, and with the addition of Shawn "The Harpoonist" Hall makes this redo is very successful.  Rag style track, Outsourced gives Verreault a great opportunity to show off his guitar work and the addition of Kelly "Mr Chill" Hoppe on harmonica and nicely blended vocals, a cool track. Wrapping the release is a really solid radio track, You Get Used To It with great vocal blending between Verreault and Javed. With it's contemporary rock styling and sound, this is the definite radio track on the release and a super closer. 

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Guy Belanger - Eldorado - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Eldorado, from Guy Belanger and it's pretty cool. Opening with instrumental, Carving The Wind, featuring Guy Belanger interweaving his harmonica work with Robert MacDonald on guitar over the bass work of Marc-Andre Drouin and Michael Dufour on drums. A pure Latin beat sets the tone for instrumental title track, Eldorado, with it's crisp rhythm and swaying feel. Belanger crafts a really nice melody and MacDonald shapes flowing guitar tones that almost sound like the wind. Very nice. A track with an overall blues feel and real tension, When Will I Know features Belanger on lead vocal and harmonica and Bob Stagg on b3, piano and Wurlitzer. This is a really sensitive track with a great radio sense. One of my favorite tracks on the release is light funky jazz rocker, Wicked with it's super bass line from Drouin, and Belanger on harmonica melody and including a real nice guitar solo by MacDonald. Another track with roots in the blues is Hummin' with some really nice blending between Eric Longsworth on cello and MacDonald on acoustic guitar and understated harmonica work by Belanger. With an almost Tower of Power (with no horns) feel, Ganga has you bobbing in no time and with harmonica lead, excellent guitar work by MacDonald, the addition of Paul Picard and the hard work of Drouin on bass. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Stillwater, an interesting, almost anthem track, with strong harmonica effects and a firm guitar, bass, drums underpinning. This is a smooth closer for a real interesting release. 

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Gypsy Soul Records artist: Bywater Call - Self titled - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release by Bywater Call and it's very nice. Opening with thick, Derek Trucks like slide tone from Dave Barnes, Arizona is a soulful, funky pop rocker. Meghan Parnell has a smooth, soulful lead voice and backed by Samantha Martin, Stacie Tabb, Sherie Marshall and Chantal Williams, this is almost angelic.  A nice sax solo by Jullian Nalli, tight trumpet by Stephen Dyte, a firm hand on bass by Mike Meusel, nicely worked keys by Alan Zemaitis and rhythmic drumming by Bruce McCarthy, this is a super opener. A super rock guitar riff by Barnes sets Talking Backwards on a straight ahead groove and again Parnell has a firm hand on the lead. Punchy horns, a hot sax solo by Nalli and just the right tough of organ and piano by Zemaitis make this a solid rocker. R&B ballad, Nightmare is really a great track with a super melody and lead vocals by Parnell. Backing vocals by Carleigh Aikins and Chantal Williams over a light instrumental backing, a clean slide solo by Barnes and a firm bass line is a perfect balance for radio play.  One of my favorite tracks on the release is sweaty, Walk On By, with some extremely soulful vocals by Parnell. A bluesy edge and stiff, guitar lead gives Parnell the push she needs to go the extra mile on this one with a excellent vocal/instrumental tension. Wrapping the release is light, acoustic oriented, Swing Low and Parnell showing the bright pop vocals that will propel her career, over the keys of Zemaitis, firm bass of Meusel, tight drums of McCarthy and smooth backing vocals of Aikens and Williams. This is a smooth closer for a tasty release. 

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Sue Decker - Outskirts of Love - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Outskirts of Love, by Sue Decker and it's a solid rural country flavored blues release. Opening with Lay Me Down In the Indigo, Sue Decker, shows a solitary sound, singing toe to toe with her resonator guitar. This is an interesting track and a cool opener. Wynn Gogol adds full keyboard support and Damian Graham on bass giving The Stain a strong radio feel. A nice melody and Decker's unique vocals give this track solid traction. A real nice acoustic blues is Too Close to the Bone, one of my favorites on the release. Fingerpicked and simple, may be Decker's best vocal track on the release. Easy flowing pop tune, Let Me Begin with You, has a contemporary rock rhythm and strong melody, with horn programming by Gogol. Backing vocals by Gavin Hodgins and Gogol give this track a healthy radio feel. Another of my favorites on the release is folk flavored Silver Anniversary, with a great melody, strong lead vocal and basic acoustic guitar accompaniment by Adam Dobres on guitar and vocal harmony by Hodgins. Wrapping the release is stripped down blues, Travellin' Light, featuring Decker accompanying her vocal on resonator. This is a special release, blending folksy blues with pop music. 

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Make It Real Records artist: Matchedash Parish - Saturday Night - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the debut release, Saturday Night, from Matchedash Parish and it's really strong. Matchedash Parish, made up of 12 musicians and with each a real contributor, you expect greatness … and you get it. Opening with When The Rain Comes, a subtle blend of rock, blues, funk, gospel and R&B (plus more) this sounds like the second coming of one of the best rock bands of all time..."The Band". Lead by Matt Weidinger on vocal and keys , this is such a great sound. The full compliment is Lance Anderson on lead vocal and keys, Quisha Wint on  lead vocal and leading the choir, Michelle White backing vocals, Jill Zadeh backing vocals, Shamakah Ali on drums, Ben Rolo on drums, Art Avalos on percussion, mark McIntyre on bass, Mackenzie Jordan on guitar, Gene Hardy on sax and William Sperandei on trumpet, this is a full ensemble. With a proud, Al Green like strut and full gusto, Where There Is Love, follows right on the heels and the second powerful song out of two served up. Seriously they could stop here and have made a better music set than many full recordings out there. With a full load of New Orleans flavor, God Gave You Hands features Wint on lead vocal and a great spiritual based, R&B track. This band is giving you both barrels all the time...no filler. Slipping in a really nice sax solo by Hardy over glistening electric piano and organ this track is fat fat fat and punchy with trumpet by Sperandei.  Excellent!  Not Sold On Getting Old is a cool, funky track with Anderson on lead vocal. With a polished melody, solid bass lines, real nice keyboard and slide solos and great backing vocals, another shining track. Hopeless Romantic again features Anderson on lead vocal with great gospel like backing this track has a Van Morrison like feel. A great melody, healthy warmth and strong instrumentation woven loosely throughout, think Tupelo Honey on steroids. Congo Strut is really instrumentally oriented with terrific jazz runs by Sperandei, Anderson and Weidinger. Excellent New Orleans flavor. Wrapping the release is upbeat rocker, This Love Can't Last with Anderson back on lead vocal and strong trumpet support by Sperandei and great vocal backing by Wint, White and Zadeh. Jordan's slide work really spices up the mix and Hardy's sax work is tight. Excellent closer. 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Ben Racine Band - Live A Montreal - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live A Montreal, from the Ben Racine Band and it's quite entertaining. Opening with Addiction, a swaggering blues rocker, Ben Racine, lead vocalist and guitar player has super presence, with deep throaty bari sax by Mathieu Moose Mousseau and backed by Kaven Jalbert on tenor sax, Charles Trudel on keys, Francois Dube on bass and Nicky Estor on drums. I really like Contageous, a soulful rocker with a stiff drum beat. Warm sax work and solid vocals set the pace and again Moose steps up with a nice sax solo, bookended with another by Racine and Jalbert. Very nice! JG Watson's Cuttin' In is one of my favorites with it's soulful melody smoky sax work by Jalbert and tight guitar riffs by Racine. Southbound Girl is a up beat shuffle with great vocals and guitar lead by Racine, tight riffs by Estor and a warm under blanket by Trudel and Jalbert. Excellent! Boogaloo rhythm gives No Smoke Without Fire a great feel and Moose and Jalbert really work it. Move On has a great working funky beat, reinforced by Jalbert and Moose. This would have been a great concert to see and the crowd was treated here with more than 15 tracks. Check it out! 

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Black Hen Music artist: Matt Patershuk - If Wishes Were Horses - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, If Wishes Were Horses, by Matt Patershuk and it's a cool blend of folk, blues and country. Opening with The Blues Don't Bother Me, a springy, modern style country track, has many traces of original country and western music like Patershuk on lead guitar and earthy vocals, super baritone guitar work by Steve Dawson and backing vocals by Kristin Webber and Larissa Maestro and full backing by Gary Craig on drums, Jeremy Holmes on bass, Chris Gestrin on piano and Charlie McCoy on harmonica. I really like the tango styling of instrumental, Horse 1 (For Bravery & Good Fortune) with excellent guitar soloing by Patershuk and Dawson, McCoy on harmonica and Gestrin on keys. Very nice! Alberta Waltz, a country styled ballad, has great feel and authenticity. With Patershuk on lead vocal, clean piano work by Gestrin and Dawson's complimentary steel guitar work, this is definitely on of my favorites on the release. Another track with a distinctive flavor is Velvet Bulldozer with it's country blues styling, the rich vocals of Patershuk, roaring slide work of Dawson, excellent punctuation by Craig and Charlie McCoy's distinctive harmonica sound. Excellent! Real authentic country and western track, Let's Give This Bottle A Black Eye has it all. Patershuk was made to sing this track and Gestrin has studied authentic country piano styling. Dawson seals the deal with his pedal steel guitar... let me say now before the review is over...get this release! There are a few short interludes throughout the release called Horse (1-2-3 &4). Alone, they are hard to review, but they are meaningful little blips featuring Maestro, Gestrin, and Dawson separately which add nicely to the overall composition. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Louisiana flavored country rocker, Red Hot Poker, with a cool balance of raspy vocal by Patershuk, controlled pedal steel by Dawson, electric keys by Gestrin and Holmes on bass. Excellent closer.


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