Artist: Misty Blues
Album: One Louder
Misty Blues is a fiercely productive blues outfit, releasing new music regularly. This well rounded album “One Louder” is my favorite to date. The 11 song set takes the listener on a top flight stroll through Bluesville!
One of the things that always strikes me with Misty Blues music is their unique approach. More often than not they step out of the 12 Bar Blues format, yet somehow never step out of the blues. There are many artists that try to push down the side streets of the genre, but fall short of the mark that Misty seems to gracefully land every time.
The musicianship and vocals are always top shelf and the spotlight is generously spread around. Everyone seems to get a turn to shine their own light into the tracks, and all the musicians are quite capable. Doing so tends to keep the sound fresh throughout the set.
There are a few guest features as well. On "Freight Car" we hear slide guitar phenom Justin Johnson playing some slippery licks. Big Llou Johnson loans his fantastic vocal presence on "How The Blues Feels" in a duet with the mighty voice of Gina Coleman. This track also features three really well played solos. The first is an organ solo by Ben Kohn that comes in with a staccato approach that sits perfectly over the slinky backdrop. The second by guitarist Seth Fleishmann reminds me a bit of how Jimmy Page would approach a solo in this track, which I mean as the highest compliment. The last of the three solos is harp man Bob Stannard that seamlessly and tastefully wraps up the instrumental pass of this really cool song!
Another standout track for me is "I'm A Grinder". Misty has a way of grooving very hard at a slow tempo, burning hot on a low flame. I can't say enough about the whole band on this one. Bassist Diego Mongue is laying down a groove with Rob Tatten on drums that sits like melting butter on pancakes. The horns are the syrup and trumpet player Bill Patriquin and saxophonist Aaron Dean lay it on thick. Both taking exceptional solos.
"Take A Long Ride" features blues legend Joe Louis Walker on vocal and guitar. Gina Coleman's vocal on this one is peppered with falsetto notes that just make you feel good. The guitar lead is exactly what one expect of Joe Louis Walker. There is a reckless abandonment and rock approach, but still an undeniable man of the blues.
I found the record as whole to be a great listen. The vocals and songwriting are strong, the band pops and the instrumental passes are never self indulgent. That is a difficult balance to achieve and Misty Blues sounds as if they do it effortlessly!