Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Davis Coen – These Things Shall Pass
Soundview – SP1008
Veteran Mississippi blues songsmith Davis Coen casts his heart and soul wide open on this latest effort. The entire CD is spiritual music, mixing classic Gospel songs with more contemporary covers as well as his originals. The result is no less than phenomenal on all levels, especially the sparkling fervency of Davis’s vocals. The music is a bit bare-bones, but still features excellent musicianship and is the perfect augmentation for the words. Like an old fashioned Sunday that you can experience any time.
Hurricane Ruth – Ain’t Ready For The Grave
Not only is veteran blues belter Hurricane Ruth not ready for the grave, she could get the dead dancing in their coffins. She cannot do the blues without unleashing every ounce of passion she has, whether kicking fat-chorded rockers into gear or jolting a ballad with her searing croon. Backed by top notch blues and country sidemen, Ruth not only reminds you of what the blues are all about, she makes sure you never forget it. Trust me, you will NOT want to forget it after just one listen.
Bobby Messano – Bad Movie
The Prince Frog Record Company – BM1-41517
Bobby Messano is another blues rock veteran who keeps finding inventive ways to keep writing blistering entertaining songs. Perhaps it is his lyric writing that can be highly thought-provoking even when he is stick close to typical blues subjects. His uniquely powerful vocal warble intertwined with lighting-bolt guitar work and earth-shattering rhythms drives the words right into your soul. His potency even extends to the ballads.
Better strap in when you listen to this one.
Vin Mott – Quit The Woman For The Blues
Blind Racoon
With his first solo effort, blues harmonica maestro Vin Mott shows he will be a force to be reckoned with. With a surprisingly full sound for a quartet, the music sprinkles bits of country and jazz over the stoic traditional blues backdrop. The lyrics are quirky and sometimes caustically humorous, but what you really come to hear is Vin’s harp work and it is wickedly delectable. Somewhere in the afterlife, Frank Frost, Junior Wells, and Paul Butterfield are having a jam session listening to this guy.
Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado- Change My Game
Ruf Records – RUF1240
This Danish singer/guitarist proves again that you don’t have to live in the U,S, to live and breath American blues. With his latest effort, Thorbjørn and his talented cohorts rip through a road map of styles from haunting Delta scorchers to heartland rockers and neon jazz-fueled fusion, with other tasty twists and turns. Along with the musical mosaic, Thorbjørn’s powerfully soulful growl will blow you away.
Jack Spann – Beautiful Man from Mars
Big Boo Music – AZ51701
New York vocalist/keyboardist Jack Spann is carving his own unique perspective on music. Simultaneously understated and intense, you feel vestiges of Pink Floyd, Bowie with a waft of the quirkier side of the Beatles, and even a touch of Vaudeville. His talents are on full display and while you could call this progressive rock, it stretches the envelope enough to really avoid being pigeon-holed. If you enjoy music that can mesmerize you, grasp your soul, get you dancing or laughing at various instances…in other words, if you have an open mind, this is right up your alley.
Jared Tyler – Dirt On My Hands
The third solo record from longtime side-man and Dobro player Jared Tyler is another wonderful showcase of his musical tastes and talents. Entwining various tendrils of country with touches of blue, jam and Americana, Jared leaves a trail of thoughtful words, vocals dripping with emotion and non-pretentious, but, nonetheless, stunning musical prowess. Juxtaposing classic and modern styles, this Okie is another artist more than ready to tear through the mainstream country maelstrom.
Vintage #18 – Grit
You need to go a million miles with this new band from Virginia. I say that as the first three songs on the debut of this blues/R&B/funk act are solid, but the eight-plus-minute power blues ballad “Million Miles” really lets loose and tells you how good these folks are. They are not reinventing the wheel, but they find their own comfortable niche and the result is songs that have a serious pulse, avoiding an overblown sound in favor of subtle intensities from all the players. Keep an ear out for them


By musicmorsels Posted in Music