Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Album Review: Harry Bodine, Which Way Home

Artist: Harry Bodine
Title: Which Way Home
Writer: Rick Galusha

Austin based swamp & steel player Harry Bodine released his first solo effort in late 2006. Formerly a member of the Austin band, Delta Roux, Bodine appears to have been able to set himself apart of the wide girth of talent that resides in the that Texas hill country town. Known as a songwriter’s songwriter, Bodine has written some fine tunes for this album. While the playing and vocals are quite good perhaps the strongest suit for this album is the arrangements. Songs are full with strong instrumentation and yet enough space is lent to the song to allow a dusty kind of texture to rise up.

On the opening title track Bodine snaps the album open with a ‘Wake Up Little Susie” kind of guitar lick that is quickly supported with organ and layered vocal back-up. Opening the album with, ‘Which Way to My Home’ alerts the listener that Bodine is going back to the roots and searching for his musical home. Tasty guitar fills interlaced with a brief organ solo by Nick Connolly is exceptionally tasty. Bodine uses his national steel to refrain the breaks and bring the song and chorus back, building energy as he does.

Whereas say a John Hammond may elect to play sans’ band, Bodine frequently employs a wide range of instrumentation behind his music and it seems to serve the songs well. On, ‘Time on My Hands’ Bodine begins the track with just vocal and steel guitar then gently opens it up to drums, bass, keys and vocals. The song builds slowly as the percussion accents every twist and turn of the melody line. Bodine breaks the song open for a gentle, tasty guitar duet between featuring a slide sound set behind an acoustic picking.

Sounding haunting like Neil Young’s, ‘Needle and the Damage Done,’ Bodine’s, ‘What Would I Do’ is a laid back ballad which meticulously weaves in and out of the singers query, “What would I do without you?” With a bluesy piano breaks that flow into early period Elton John fills (you remember when Elton was great don’t you?), Bodine casts a wonderful albeit hardly “blues” ballad that is at once familiar and comfortable.

What Bodine seems to understand so many others miss; that often less is more. While Bodine fills the audio spectrum with plenty of interesting bits and pieces, gone are the wailing guitars and over-bearing vocals. Tasty. Pure. Delicious. Harry Bodine’s album, ‘Which Way Home,’ available at www.CDBaby.com, could be an exciting find for those that love a really good song presented by high class players with a bent toward underplaying and subtle nuisances. This is far from a “blues” album but relies heavily on the ‘sounds’ and themes that blues fans will quickly recognize and appreciate. Radio programmers may find the song, ‘Shufflin’ Shoes’ to be a catchy way into the album with a Little Feat style refrain. This really is a very good album.

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