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: Jimmie Bratcher, red

Artist: Jimmie Bratcher
Title: Red
Writer: Rick Galusha

Since its inception the Blues have been closely intertwined with the Christian religion. None the less Kansas City based blues rocking Christian artist Reverend Jimmie Bratcher’s album took me a bit by surprise. This level has two levels; one level is a super smoking blues album that has tasty horn driven arrangements over a tight band and pretty good vocals. On another level Bratcher has a Christian orientated message and he’s going to beat that particular drum throughout the album.

Least I confuse you, let me say this differently, if you do not subscribe to Bratcher’s overt Christian lyrics you are probably not going to indulge this album; however, if you are willing to look past the insubtleness of the message, or if you are in agreement with The Word, this is a terrific album. Much like the Son House, Bratcher is also a minister that uses the blues to project his calling. And much like the much ballyhooed Jonny Lang, who’s latest album, turn around’ is clearly his best, replete with Christian message, Bratcher also uses his art to a higher calling.

The opening track of the album, ‘Bad Religion’ nails the listener with an exceptionally good track that is high energy, horn based and driving. On the third track, ‘Red’ which refrains Sammy Hagar’s song of the same name by repeating, “I see Red,” Bratcher burns slowly and then, with a rumble of the drums and some power chords, he amps up the energy with a guitar driven rocker that, well, would make The Red Rocker himself proud. Bratcher’s sassy guitar licks are minimal and spacious. This is no twang bar king but a competent artist writing good songs and also happens to be able to play and write at an A level.

On ‘Drive’ Bratcher’s pushes the piano playing of Eric Stark up front until saxophone player T. J. Herrick’s solos come into play. Once again the band plays the song using solos to add texture and suspense rather than using the song as a platform to show off. Refreshingly different!

Bratcher’s band dips into a harder pop country styling with an edge not heard on contemporary Nashville radio on, Dance With Me. Uber-producer Jim Gaines lends his many talents to the recording of this Kansas City based album. On ‘Restless for the Son’ Bratcher pulls out a seeped cocktail bluesy jazz number ala ‘Nothing Like the Sun’ era Sting.

By the eighth track, Three Chords’ Bratcher is show casing his songwriting skills when he musters an early Lyle Lovett style song with a Memphis horn swath and heavy, heavy blues guitar riffs. “Lend me three chords, three chords and no more. Somebody play me three chords and no more.”

Anyone’s that soaked in House’s ‘Grinnin’ in Your Face’ will recognize the power that a faith based blues artist can muster. Bratcher’s album is no different albeit his is a loud electric blues that is well written with an ear for texture and space. I would describe this as a niche album for guitar lovers that have a thirst for well written songs played by patient musicians that know, sometimes, less really is actually more. Wisely, Bratcher allows website visitors to stream his music at www.JimmieBratcher.com.

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