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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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Showing posts with label Live At Blues Now!. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Live At Blues Now!. Show all posts

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Vizztone Label Group artist: the Chris O'Leary Band - Live At Blues Now! - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Live At Blues Now! from the Chris O'Leary Band and it has a super groove. This release was recorded live in Basel, Switzerland in March of 2014. Opening with Give It, a one-chord modal blues structure with a repeating guitar figure and Diddley-style rhythm, O'Leary leads the way into this live set on vocal and harp. Joined by Chris Vitarello and Alex Schultz on guitar, Andy Stahl on tenor sax, Chris DiFrancesco on bari sax, Matt Raymond on bass and Jay Devlin on drums this band is tight. On jump track, Trouble, the band ramps it up with Schultz laying down some hot smokin' guitar work. O'Leary cranks it up as well with a mighty solo of his own. Very nice! Louisiana Woman has a swampy sound with a nice bass lead from Raymond. Cool shimmery guitar effects from Vitarello as well as a soulful guitar solo and the masterful harp work from O'Leary make this a really cool track. R&B style track Walk The Walk really invites the horn work of Stahl and DiFrancesco. A thick and juicy sax solo from Stahl and aggressive guitar work from Vitarello highlighted by the tight drumming of Devlin. Water's Risin' is a funky rocker with Vitarello and Schultz trading bluesy chicken pickin' style guitar solos. Billy Boy Arnold's I Wish You Would is a perfect showcase for O'Leary on harp. With solid sax work and complex drum rhythms this track has a life of it's own and even a little tribute to Lee Oscar. Mr. Used To Be has a western style blues swing but with sax instead of steel guitar giving it a totally different flavor. O'Leary lays down a real nice harp solo on this one proving to be a real crowd favorite. My favorite track on the release, Blues Is A Woman, slows it way down and O'Leary really does a hot job on lead vocal. Vitarello plays heavy T-Bone Walker stylized riffs making this track seven plus minutes particularly memorable with DiFrancesco and Stahl giving the track heft. Excellent! King of The Jungle has a real nice lope and with it's Chicago style, gives O'Leary a great chance to play his harp out. Vitarello lays in a few real nice riffs tying it all up. Tchoupitoulas has a real cool New Orleans sound and DiFrancesco really adds bottom. The sax work on this track is over the top and complimented with sly guitar riffs and marching drum style so I really do like it! Waiting For The Phone To Ring opens with some great bari sax and a great story telling style. Overlayed sax and guitar riffs make this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Wrapping the track is History, which has a great new Orleans funk feel. This is a groove that you have to love. Clocking in at 9 plus minutes, this is a New Orleans style lovers dream. Filled with excellent guitar, harp and sax work, this is a super way to wrap up a fine concert recording.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chris O'Leary - Live At BLUES NOW!



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Recorded Live in Switzerland
with special guest Alex Schultz

    The VizzTone label group and Fidellis Records are proud to present the Chris O'Leary Band's new release, LIVE AT BLUES NOW!  Chris enthuses, "This special night was recorded earlier this year in Basel Switzerland with very special guest Alex Schultz! The room was beautiful, the crowd was great, and we had a blast!"

    Chris O’Leary has put in his time on the front lines – as U.S. Marine Corps infantry squad leader, and seven years as singer, harp player, and front man for Levon Helm’s Barn Burners.  His two Fidellis Records/VizzTone label group releases, Mr. Used To Be (2010) and Waiting for the Phone to Ring (2012), established the Chris O’Leary Band as a major force in the blues world.  The recordings gleaned rave reviews, international airplay, a Blues Music Award nomination, and the Best New Artist CD Award at Chicago’s prestigious Blues Blast Awards.  Most of the band’s material consists of Chris’s original songs, known for their moving, funny, and incisive lyrics set on top of killer grooves.

    The Chris O’Leary Band hail from New York’s musically-rich Hudson Valley, though their tours take them around the globe.  In March, 2014, the Chris O’Leary Band traveled to Basel, Switzerland to perform at the prestigious BLUES NOW! concert series.  Joining the band as a special guest was renowned blues guitarist Alex Schultz.  Schultz’s storied musical career includes long associations with blues harmonica players William Clarke, Rod Piazza, and Lester Butler, so his driving, swinging style was a perfect fit with the band.

    As the band hit the BLUES NOW! stage, Chris and his band mates sweated out their incendiary blend of Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans styles to the delight of the packed house.  They hit hard with original selections from their first two studio albums, as well as their own version of the Billy Boy Arnold classic, “I Wish You Would.”  There was the trademark interplay between O’Leary’s powerhouse harmonica, the fat-toned guitar, and the horn and rhythm sections with the added jolt of Schultz on second guitar.  The crowd responded wildly, as the band proceeded to tear the roof off that Swiss concert hall.  The resulting recording, The Chris O’Leary Band / Live at BLUES NOW! is a great live record in the best sense, with the musicians and the crowd energizing each other and producing music that is pure magic.

    The Chis O’Leary Band features Chris O’Leary on vocals and harmonica, Chris Vitarello on guitar, Andy Stahl on tenor sax, Chris DiFrancesco on baritone sax, Matt Raymond on upright and electric bass, and Jay Devlin on drums.

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