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/

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Album Review: Rob Stone, Back Around Here

Artist: Rob Stone
Title: Back Around Here
Writer: Rick Galusha

When Rob Stone’s previous album, ‘Just My Luck’ came out it was my album of the year. No, it was probably not “the best” blues album that year but it was so fresh, so unrecognized and so accessible that I was swooned. When I saw that the drought was to be broken, that Stone was releasing, ‘Back Around Again’ my expectations soared.

Stone’s former band mates Chris James (guitar) and Patrick Rynn (bass) a/k/a ‘The C Notes’ join in the recording with appearances by some of Chicago’s finest including; Aaron Moore (piano), Sam Lay (drums) and Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith (drums). Like Stone, Boston native David Maxwell (piano) also plays on the record.
Stone’s sound is pure 1950’s Chicago with flicks of other blues city sounds such as the New Orleans beat on the focus track, “Chicago All Night.” It is on “Chicago All Night” that the album begins to gel as the Stone’s lyrics take the listener through a late night until dawn tour of the Windy City’s noted blues venues, eateries and asundry hang-outs. On the fifth track, “I Need a Money Tree” Stone tiptoes around clichés themes without stepping off the balance beam. Perhaps this is the base draw to Stone’s recordings; that he harkens that lovely blues vibe that most associate with Chicago without being overly reliant on covers or rehashing tired clichés. Albeit an up tempo album, Stone has a vague Harry Connick vocal quality that is boosted that he is cognizant of what he can, and therefore cannot, sing. There is none of the faux-shouter blues growly mish-mash here – just a guy having a great time.

The album falls short, for me, because there are too many tracks. The albums textures are consistent and perhaps I just need a tad more variance in sound: admittedly Stone let’s us know he has no interest in taking the artform beyond the establish 50’s sound. Since his first album provided a fine rendition of the post-war Chicago blues sound, a lack of maturation or perhaps development is apparent.
Radio hosts might look at, ‘Can’t Turn Back the Clock’ for an entry way into the record: David Maxwell rollicks across the keyboards and the song’s form is a pure, easily recognized but tasty blues treat.

Not a “great” album but fun and above average.

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