Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Antry – Devil Don’t Care
Tres Lobas Enterprises – TLE-CD-8849
Even Christian/Praise music is not immune to having too many artists/songs sound the same. Tulsa’s Antry uses both his faith and musical talents to create something a bit more intriguing musically while still carrying his heartfelt messages. Melding various stylings of blues, country and pop, the music ranges from lush and charismatic to potent and gripping. In any case, this is a very powerful way to spread The Word and the uniqueness and musical talent involved with its creation only enhances the chance of it making a difference in people’s lives.
Ben Bostick – Hellfire
Simply Fantastic Music
Country artist Ben Bostick loves his roots and he scorches them like a prairie wildfire. From old school honky tonk to Memphis blues-fueled rockers, Ben tears up any preconceived notions about roots country since he is unafraid to kick in some unconventional stylings that lend a subtle punk feeling while keeping strong hooks intact. The vocal work is a robust cross between Jerry Lee Lewis and Waylon Jennings prone to some interesting phrasing calisthenics, further augmenting the often darkly humorous lyrics. The CD is loaded with excellent musicianship fueled by brash power. Ben doesn’t just turn Nashville on its ear with his music, but he boots it down the road with a steel toe and screams “make room for me!” And they had better because this is seriously fresh music.
Tim Woods – Human Race
To set yourself apart playing blues these days, no need to be strong in your roots but have a bit of something extra. Macon (by way of western Pennsylvania guitarist/vocalist) Tim Woods has that something extra, and it is this undeniable raw feel that ratchets up the intensity of his music. Even the ballads feel potent and some of the rockers are over the top with blistering guitar work and bone-breaking rhythms. Balancing this is his surprisingly melodic voice which still has just the right touch of grit. You can almost smell the tubes in the amps overheating on this one and feel the studio walls shake.


Gaetano Letizia & the Underworld Blues Band – Beatles Blues Blast

Gaetano Letizia & the Underworld Blues Band – Beatles Blues Blast
The Beatles are one of those bands that if you do a tribute album to their music, you better hit the ball out of the park, lest you commit musical blasphemy. Cleveland’s Gaetano Letizia not only hits it out of the park, it is a grand slam into the parking lot. The veteran blues guitar slinger and his power trio manage to pay respectful homage to the Beatles while also flashing their prodigious musical chops in an entertaining fashion. A blues tribute to the Beatles is by no means a stretch because, as any fan knowsm the Fab Four loved and were often influenced by American blues. Most of the songs carry the essence of the originals, laced with Gaetano’s stunning guitar work, and the stoic but intricate rhythms of bassist Lenny Gray and drummer Mike D’Elia. Some, however, kick a bit a different groove into gear, particularly the songs that have had well known covers done before; “Come Together,” With A Little Help From My Friends,” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The latter is a particularly gutsy and intriguing version that stands out against the famous versions by Jeff Healey and Prince. The trio is unafraid to do things a bit differently such as in a Cream-ish instrumental take on “Do It In The Road,” a smoky roadhouse tilt to “A Day In The Life.”  and a snappy shuffle ditty-fueled “Tax Man.” Beatles fans won’t be disappointed and neither will blues lovers because this is a great and unique tribute that is both fun and respectful. – MW