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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 Tri-State Coalition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tri-State Coalition. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jimbo Mathus demolishes Phoenix's Rhythm Room - David Luning Band a shocker!

Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition hit Phoenix last night like a meteor. I don't give strong endorsements to many bands so listen up. I got to the Rhythm Room a little early last night and the opening act was just setting up.




I have to tell you that the opening band, David Luning Band, was the surprise of the year for me. First off I have never heard of them but then reading their bio, they go places that I never go... like American Idol? Now before you shut this down, give me a second. If someone told me that I would like someone that was on American Idol they would get a pretty smug look of disbelief (if not a stiff defiant finger) but to actually sit in a room with this band, listen to strong, creative, concise songwriting performed by a really nice group of fellows was just inspiring.

Luning, a good looking young man who could easily have been the lead for British Band "Faces" or fit into the Beatles, has a super voice. This band doesn't sing pop music like I would expect from an American Idol candidate, but Alt American country/rock/folk/blues thing with really nicely blended vocals (think Humble Pie), creative stories (think Gerald Colliers or Arlo Guthrie) and a rowdy feel (think Keith Richards). This band really captivated the audience and based upon their 5 or 6 song performance, I am an immediate fan. Luning who handles lead vocal and acoustic lead guitar is joined by Linden Reed (drums), Dave Sampson (guitars), and Ben Dubin (bass and harp), who all participate on vocal harmonies. I don't know of anyone who is doing anything quite like them and I do suggest strongly that you search them out and give a listen. I have a copy of their latest CD, Just Drop On By, so expect a review of it in the next few days. Very nice performance men!



 Trying to summarize a Jimbo Mathus concert is like trying to count raindrops. If you have never seen Jimbo in concert and have only heard a bit of his music, you have only seen a blurry 40's B&W of the real deal. Now I was captivated by Jimbo's originality when I first saw him open for Buddy Guy over a decade ago. I recall specifically that I was sitting in Mesa Center for the Arts talking with one of my guitar jam buddies while the opening act started to play. After just a short intro I asked my pal, "Who are these guys?". We both quickly scoured the floor for a program and dummied up to catch the rest of his spontaneous set. We were talking a lot about how different this guy was and we really enjoyed him when the main show began. Everybody was there to see Buddy Guy (me included). On steps Jimbo Mathus again, the featured guitar player with Buddy Guys touring band. You are shitting me! Yep. This guy was featured on two of Guys most significant releases of the past decade.

 Skip ahead to June 19, 2014 at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix AZ. Jimbo and his Tri-State Coalition hit the stage running. Mathus doesn't have what I would call a "Mathus" sound, a hook or a riff, and that really works strongly to his artistic advantage but he does have recognizable brush strokes. Something that an art collector uses to discern a masterpiece from a copy. Primarily an introspective story teller and a philosopher, Mathus uses different colors from his musical paint box to get just the right feel for each song. These are some of the songs from last night's set. Dirty Hustling, a funky street rocker flavored by a dash funky guitar (think JG Watson or WW Washington). It gets you right down in the street where it's happening. Using the style of the track, I mean really crafting the track to it's subject matter, makes it so much more effective. I Wanna Be Your Satellite retains a rocking country sound but more like Canadian band, the Byrds. You aren't really conscious as you are listening but Mathus is taking you on a journey and he is controlling not only the mental picture with his words but smoothly crafts his own vocal style as well as the texture and style of the backing music to create the perfect ambiance. The title track from Mathus' newest release
Dark Night Of The Soul is a perfect example where his vocals are almost the sound of a man in pain. Mathus and crew take this track to rock on with serious intention. One of my all time favorite Mathus songs, Who'll Sop My Gravy raises some philosophical questions but with that sense of humor that you will see gleaming through much of Mathus work. Taking the texture of this track down to it's lowest denominator, pure rural country folk music with that special Louisiana blues twist, Mathus is able to pull the listener into the earthy feel of the track and then slowly slides a funky beat under their seat. Tennessee Walker Mare is presented as a country ballad and the delivery is perfect. Let me make this clear. Listening to regular music is like watching regular tv. Listening to Jimbo Mathus perfect his craft is like watching in 4k (Ultra High Definition). He creates the stage, he sets the plot, he creates the background music, he shoots the bad guy! Casey Caught The Cannonball is a really entertaining tale with twists and turns. Delivered with a "The Band" like feel with a bit of easy country funk and a dash of fun. Shines Like A Diamond is a country rocker with a stiff bite and a nod to Van Morrison. There is a common thread that runs through all of Mathus music and that is honesty in music, a sincere belief that what he is doing is right and a genuine desire to write the best music possible in hopes that someone may actually get where he's coming from. It is clearly apparent from watching Mathus on stage and from talking with him briefly after the show that he is genuinely grateful to have people listening to his music, to be playing what he wants and to be gaining an audience without compromising his efforts. I see few performers on stage performing with such commitment and devotion. Mathus is a guitar wielding powerhouse on stage but is a humble and kind man face to face. Along with a few songwriters that you could count on one hand, Mathus is one of the premier unsung songwriters of today. I remember seeing Jeff Beck in clubs this small not a long time ago and with the kind of show Mathus puts on, you better see him while you can.

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

   


Monday, February 17, 2014

Fat Possum Records artist: Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition - Dark Night Of The Soul - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (February 18, 2014), Dark Night Of The Soul, from Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition and it's really great! I believe that I have every post "Zippers" release from Mathus and every one is different. This one has a common thread with earlier releases, mostly quality and honesty and of course musical integrity. Opening with title track, Dark Night Of The Soul, a very loose rocker with almost Bruce Springsteen like vocals, Mathus creates a sonic wonderland with driving rock sounds. White Angel has a strong R&B influence with a country twist. So many flavors of music cross my mind as I listen to this including Traffic, The Beatles, Badu and Jimi Hendrix. If Mathus has a rock radio breakthrough track coming soon, this may be it. Rock and Roll Trash is a great track with an almost Detroit rock sound featuring young Ziggy Stardust. Excellent! Shine Like A Diamond has a much more easy pop/ballad style with Elvis Costello and Van Morrison attributes. Matt Pierce (tele), Ryan Rogers (drums), Eric Carlton (keys), Roscoe Ambel (guitar), Matt Patton (bass) Kell Kellum (pedal steel), Jimbo Mathus (guitars and vocals) and Gio and Sunny Stuckey (harmony vocals) all add substantially to the texture of this release. Writing Spider again has a number of flavors with nods to New Riders and the Richards/Jagger. This poetic track with the hypnotic melody is nicely complimented with a cool story. Tallahatchie opens with a really seductive acoustic guitar intro that just smells like wide open mountain air. Growing into a gospel infused country anthem, this track has a cool hook... you supply the campfire and the beer. Burn The Ships is absolutely one of my favorite tracks on the release. This track absolutely rips, sounding like Jimbo joined ranks with Frank Black and the Catholics. Mathus really gets the gang rockin on this track and it should definitely find him additional audience. Following this track would be a real bitch but Mathus has it down with a hot funky track, Fire in The Canebreak. With a serious rant and sense of humor Mathus and gang makes you wonder if where he is getting his intervention. This excellent blend of Feat like rhythm and spacial swirling guitar riffs is outrageous. Hawkeye Jordan, a real smokin modern "real country" track with great pedal steel work is perfect for Mathus and his vocal. The backing vocals add just the right amount of authenticity and this track blends you right down the middle of Jimbo avenue. Another excellent track! Casey Caught The Cannonball, has a cool back beat mostly drums and piano, with beefy vocals by Mathus. A colorful painter with words, Mathus tells the story and Kellum greases it up with his steel guitar. Another Van Morrison like melody lies under this track but it is all Mathus! Medicine, a Neil Young like track, is a powerful with strong lyrics and real heartfelt music. Wrappin the release is Butcher Bird, has a primitive musical styling which focuses your attention directly to the vocals. Mathus has crafted some incredible releases but this may be his best. It's certainly going onto my best of 2014 without pause.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fat Possum Records artist:Jimbo Mathus & The Tri - State Coalition - White Buffalo - New Release Review

Jimbo Mathus has done it again! Another release and another winner! Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition has just released his newest recording, White Buffalo, and I have a review of it for you here. The release opens with In The Garden, a primitive country style track with a modern rock style beat but with instrumental clues like mandolin and accordion to early origins that is well written with no extra adornments. (I Wanna Be Your) Satellite is right out of a country juke box. Mathus continues to write great tunes and execute them flawlessly. This track actually reminds me of another of my favorite song writers, Black Francis. The music is smart and clean and direct. Tennessee Walker Mare is another country style ballad with simple honest music. There are a few things on this track that actually remind me of the early days of Dickey and the Allmans with dual country guitar leads and riffs. The harmonic vocals on this track are very effective in giving it sonic depth. The title track, White Buffalo, comes on hard and strong with a power riff by Jimbo on guitar and solid bass from the balance of the Tri-State Coalition (Matt Pierce, Ryan Rogers, Eric Carlton and Terrence Bishop). This is really diametrically opposed to most of the rest of the release but it is a terrific track. Hatchie Bottoms returns to the warmth of a country fire. It's difficult to really describe in contemporary words the general feeling created by this music but think "The Band" or "Bob Dylan" to even get in the stratosphere if you don't know this kind of music. Fake Hex, a country rocker is a cool track with Chuck Berry like guitar riffs but not straying too far from the Honky Tonk. This is just flat out great. Poor Lost Souls is another great track. I mean this is a classic. "She's just a lump of coal, but she could have been a diamond"... this is closer to blues music than you may think. Sure it has steel guitars and country inflections, but it has real soul. Self? is another cross over track with just a touch of rock and a touch of country. The melody is strong and the instrumentation is "dabbed in" rather than "slapped on"... with a sweet lead guitar riff in the middle. Run Devil Run has a lot of early blues influence with a deep swamp feel. Guitar harmonics are picked adding a nice shimmer to a really cool track. Possibly my second favorite song on the release. Listen really close. There are really cool guitar effects on this track. The final track on the release is Useless Heart, a country ballad with a great soul feel. Moderate use of a whammy bar and simple straight forward guitar riffs add a really nice touch to Mathus' already welcoming songwriting skills. This is great music with a healthy taste of life. It may not have long pentatonic guitar solos or open tuning slide work, but it has heart...and a lot of it. Another release added to the 2013 "Best of" candidate list.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”