Album Review : Bad Daddy
Updated: Jun 28, 2022
Artist: Bad Daddy
Album: It’s a Mad Mad Bad Dad World
This record is steeped in respect for tradition, being mindful of not straying too far from the foundation that the great electric bluesmen of Chicago and Texas built over decades, while still forging forward into the modern blues landscape. The vocals are reminiscent of Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and the guitar playing has strong hints of Robben Ford. The production is clean while the guitars and vocals are just dirty enough to keep it real.
On track one “Blues at Home” the two references I mentioned above jump through the speakers. Smoky vocals float effortlessly across the backdrop of a solid band laying it down while weaving in and out of a riff that feels as much classic blues as it does Allman Brothers influenced. The bass line on this track is exceptional, as is the guitar. The guitar solo is a perfect piece of music telling its own story, tucked comfortably within the song. Great tone, chops, taste and well composed. It has twists and turns that hold my attention while never becoming overbearing. Make no mistake, Pete Galanis is a great guitar player.
The first radio single from the set is “Pork Pie Hat”. A Motown influenced drum fill sets up a blues track swimming in funky New Orleans overtones reminding me of something perhaps Sonny Landreth would be at home within. Subtle under current slide guitar and sweet background vocals fill the space beautifully. After listening through the whole album it is clear why this was chosen as the radio single. This track is a united voice tactfully framing the entire set of music.
My favorite track on the album is “The Blues I Can Use”. A slow sizzle that feels like it would be on a record made of sand paper. The vocals sit on a thick organ pad as comfortably as a cat laying in a spot of sunlight on the floor, finding the warmest and most illuminated spot in the room and being completely content within it.
This blues outfit has a contemporary approach that they are quite proficient at without getting too far from the source. The guitar playing is clever and pulling from a deeper vocabulary than most blues guitarists are able to conjure up. The songs and production are well put together. Paul Waring’s vocals are naturally raspy and soulful. Fans of modern blues music will definitely find this record enjoyable.
Check out the interview as well...
Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.
--I grew up playing saxophones, all of them, in school band, then in marching band and Jazz band. I loved the band experience, especially the Jazz band—we were good and we did some travel to various competitions and shows.
It wasn’t until Junior/Senior year that I got bit by the guitar bug and I began playing my Dad’s classical guitar that he never used. Made slow progress, taught myself chords and emulated favorite tunes, playing by ear. I had also recently discovered music of Buddy Guy and Howlin’ Wolf, and once I discovered the sweet simple blues shuffles and the haunting riff for Smokestack Lightinin’, it was all over—I had it bad. LOL
Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
--I think the biggest inspiration for me came from Buddy Guy. And, I hear this sentiment over and over again from all kinds of people, the man just touched so many of us. At a young age, I was known for singing at the top of my lungs in the supermarket or in the back seat of the car (to the radio), so I had a bit of that entertainer bug inside me, already. When I first saw Buddy I was 18, or so, a whole list of things click in for me and to see his live show-- I was just smitten.
What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician?
--I can’t overstate how much I listend to BG, but one album in particular, the live record “Smokin’ Tn’T and Drinkin’ Dynamite”, recorded Montreaux Jazz Fest. The other album that really grabbed me was Jimi Hendrix’ Band of Gypsies live record. I think wore both these records out during High School.
What’s your favorite accomplishment as a musician thus far?
--I’m a collaborator in much of what I do. I think what makes me proudest is the fact that I’ve managed to work with a wonderful mix of people over the years. I’ve learned bunch and I continue to learn what I can.
Tell me about your favorite performance in your career.
-- Just after my first album came out in 2008, I had a good run of gigs opening up for various national acts, like Roomful of Blues, Shemekia Copeland, and a few others. It was a great experience, and me being that little-known small-town, Maine, blues guy, it felt so gratifying to get the performance opportunities coming from the exposure of that first record.
We did this knock-down-drag-out show opening up for Shemekia one night. The band absolutely killing it, and I felt great—the night was magical. Shemekia and her band came out really brought it, she just captured the audience and really gave us all in that room something to remember.
Her manager came up to me that evening and congratulated me on the show; told me how she loved my music and our performance. “And, geez, we have a string of dates leading us down the East coast”, and, “Shemekia would love for you to come along as opener for the rest of the tour.” I was floored. I was ecstatic. That just tickled me.
I didn’t quite know what to do next. I also knew that it the support tour was unlikely to happen due to a few of my band mates wouldn’t be able to split on a moment’s notice like that, and the tour was headed the next day. So, I went back stage and found Shemekia. I gave her a hug, congratulated her on the show and expressed my thanks and gratitude for the whole evening and offering that tour to me. Among all kinds of wonderful words she said to me in that moment, and the love and genuine care for musicians shining through, she ended by adding, “…And, baby boy, oh you have no idea what I’m up to…I just want you to get on the bus with me for the rest of this tour and I show you what love is….!” LOL. I think I really found out what that tour was going be like!
What's the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
I’ve been lucky to meet a few greats over the years. Like so many of us blues nuts, I too have that obsessive love for the iconic Buddy Guy and have spent so much time following his music and driving all kinds of crazy distances to catch his shows over the years. I’ve met him a on only a couple brief occasions.
One night, I went down to his club for an open jam in Chicago’s downtown “loop”, and I saw him sitting at the bar alone where he’s often found sipping a Crown Royal or a scotch. I just simply said, “Hey, Buddy! What’s goin’ on tonight? What’s the word?” He looked at me with his shining eyes and gave me that million-dollar smile when he saw I had my go-to, the ES 335, with me. He said, “Man, you look like you ready to have a little fun-- you come in here to make a little noise tonight?” I said, “Yeah, I’m gonna give it go and see what I can shake out! You got any words for me?” He gave me that classic BG chuckle and simply said, “Son, whatever you do, anywhere you ever go, jus be you. Just give ‘em what you got and be yourself the best way you know.”
I think that’s a piece of advice that I always knew deep down, but I never really had anyone say it to me so plainly before that. It’s stuck with me a long time, and I just love the dead-pan simplicity of those kind of words.
What's new in the recording of your music? How has your music changed over the years?
--I think my writing has matured and I’ve become more open and eager to trying things outside my comfort zone. Once I found my voice and my root interests, I became more focused in my efforts. I try to speak from the heart with honesty and transparently, my hope is that this comes through my music.
What inspires you to write the music you write? What made you want to play the instrument you play?
I love the idea of originality. I like to work with arranging music and writing melodies that are unique and original. I hope this comes through when you run through my discography. The songs tend to take on their own voice and the chord changes are not standard.
How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past? Do you feel like you are continuing to grow musically?
--I definitely try to grow musically all the time -- every time I pick up my guitar and approach that mic. I think this record is different because I worked much more deeply at communicating my inner self, and even some of the arrangements stepped outside my comfort zone. Take “These Times”, for example, this tune really stretched my voice and my style to a slightly different realm. That whole song was written in one afternoon, but it is also one of the more difficult tunes for me to play in some ways. I love that challenge.
How does music affect you and the world around you?
-- I truly believe that music, generally, brings people of all colors and backgrounds together. That’s power. And, that’s love. The human spirit is an amazing thing to witness. The Blues genre is no pariah, yet the Blues community is small: is represented by a small community of devoted listeners, avid followers and creative genius. Notably, we’ve seen artists from all backgrounds become great creators of blues music, and that speaks volumes for it is the art form that crosses all borders and appeals to all kinds of people.
If you could change anything about the music industry today, what would it be?
--Right now, it seems the very notion of the traditional approach to creating music in an “Album” format is essentially a disappearing act. Maybe this is largely due to the nature of a rapidly changing market for the consumer experience on streaming platforms and downloadable singles, etc. It’s hard to wrap my head around making music that isn’t pulled together and offered as an album, yet perhaps we need to think about whether there’s a lot of opportunity in this we haven’t realized. I do think we’ll see less and less music produced onto an album grouping of songs. That sucks IMHO
What are your biggest obstacles as a musician?
--Living in Maine….LOL. It is very difficult to live in rural Maine and operate as a professional or semi-professional musician.
What strengths do you have that you believe make you a great musician?
-- I love collaboration with others—this is truly where magic happens and is what helps a song become a living thing. I’m also pretty good at writing something that makes me tick, I think I’ve really grown and matured as a singer-songwriter.
Do you have any weaknesses that you're actively working to improve on?
-- Among the musicians I’ve worked with over the years I think many would say I have a voice and approach that is a little different, maybe sometimes quirky, but I’m always exploring to make the music tasty and something that you can tap your foot to. I could stand to improve the depth of my chording and scales skills on the guitar, generally.
Do you have any anxiety about performing live? Do you like to perform or do you prefer to record in a studio?
--I love performing more than recording, but it really all goes hand-in-hand. I definitely don’t get as nervous as in years past but there’s always that butterfly…maybe that’s why I like it!
What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
--Not in love with this situation. At moment it seems the music industry, in general, is lagging behind the trends and technology. How the industry adapts to it to promote a market situation where there’s equal access, equitable trades and economic opportunity is a fascinating question and ongoing problem that appears to have little pressure to protect the small guy. For instance, unless you’re a 1%-er type of popular artist, there’s no great channels for secure representation; the industry has pushed us all into DIY music, promotion, agency, and distribution. It’s interesting to have so much control over their work and communications, yet not have much financial leverage.
Maybe this offers some kind of flexible benefit for many artists, but the situation currently seems hugely challenging. For instance, look at one example how artists are paid by streaming and digital distribution platforms. It’s terrible and makes little sense, really. Little Cents, actually. There’s a lot of talented people getting paid in well-wishes and thank-you-s, instead of dollars and cents. Now, the other side to this is maybe the market is saturated—too many people trying to offer their songs and talents as musicians. Typical market forces don’t appear to be at work, and it’s essentially impossible to make a living for most. I guess it used to be that record companies screwed artists out of profits and opportunities, now it’s all headed to digital platforming and distribution where there’s even less leverage or ability for an artist to be have control of one’s business situation.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Other than being a musician, what was your dream job growing up? Are you currently in that same field today?
--When I was young I wanted to be a Marine Biologist and specialize in Cetaceans (whales). I grew up on the ocean and have never left that, but now I own and operate a small niche Naval Architecture firm with my close friend and business partner. That’s how I make ends meet with my music passion.
What are your interests outside of music?
--I love eating…so, I love cooking. I also like to travel and take long romantic walks with my wife!
How do you promote your band and shows?
--Mostly, I use email newslettters and facebook/Instagram. It’s all a little nebulous, but I do what I can when I can.
What is the best way to stay updated on current news; gigs, releases, etc.
Anything you would like to share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?
--I just recently won the Maine Blues Society’s “Road to Memphis” competition to represent Maine in 2023 IBC competition, in Memphis. So, I’ll be working to organize a tour to and from Memphis around that week and I’m really looking forward to participating.
Are you available for private parties? If so, how would someone contact you about booking?
--Private parties, sure thing. Contact me through my website.
What's next for your band?
--I’m looking at wider-ranging tours to new venues outside of Maine and New England.