Your crusty chronicler is an individual who does his own thing. Still, when snaptwig.com asked for support for their new “List” format, it was impossible not to be open-minded about it. Therefore, with that spirit of unity and teamwork in mind, your rockin’ reviewer presents this new series—“Track by Track” in which we shall review certain select CDs “track by track”.
“Let Me Go”
First up is Revolution Number 9 by the Los Angeles-based band New Blues Revolution. New Blues Revolution is a Los Angeles-based band founded by Bill Grisolia (lead vocals and piano) and Chap Cooper (guitars). While the band roster may vary slightly the album also includes: Phil Hardy (drums) and Steve Harris (bass). The album opens on the driving “Let Me Go” which contains a universal message involving loving someone who no longer loves you.
The second selection is the (close to) title track “Blue Revolution”. It retains Grisolia’s blues vocals while also including a jazz-tinged guitar solo. This perhaps best demonstrates where they are going with their signature sound. It’s fleshed out by Harris’ bass work. The band is obviously influenced such artists as Willie Dixon and Ben Folds.
“The Big House”
The next number is titled “The Big House”. This, like all but one of the other cuts on this disc, is an original Grisolia-Cooper composition that reveals their modus operandi of taking familiar elements of an established genre and coming up with something new. Additionally, the slide guitar work is also noteworthy.
“Sway” follows. It also exits far too quickly with a running time that is way too short. It’s a laid back track that features guest artist Lee Godden on drums. Why they ended this song so soon is a mystery unless they meant to make sure they’d leave listeners wanting more.
“Pink 7” provides an aural pallet cleanser as Grisolia gives his voice a rest and focuses on his keyboard work. This is almost a progressive rock instrumental more than a blues piece and yet it works so well on the album. Guest musician Stefan Swensson takes up the drums here.
The sixth selection is called “Whiskytown”. The subject of this song is pretty much an obvious prerequisite. Still, it’s one of those minimal instrument pieces that somehow come off regardless of its simplicity. The track retains that raw edge to it that is perhaps one of the band’s tuneful trademarks.
“Take Me To The River”
The seventh song is the only non- Grisolia-Cooper composition here. It’s a cover of an Al Green song—more recently done by The Talking Heads—titled “Take Me To The River”. A familiar tune on an album by a comparatively newer act is always welcome and no doubt works even better live.
The album’s end-note is “Blueline”. This is perhaps what blues fans would consider their most conventional blues-like work. If one must indeed label it perhaps “blues rock” would fit best. It’s a fitting finish to a release by a group also influenced by such acts as Led Zeppelin, Howling Wolf, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Jeff Beck and Elton John.
Currently performing at venues across the globe, both live and on television, (New Blues Revolution has been nominated for 2010 “Best Blues Single Of The Year” by the LA Music Awards. They continue to open for a diverse group of artists including: Burt Bacharch, Blood Sweat & Tears, Johnny Mathis, Leon Russell, Katey Segal, Three Dog Night and Dionne Warwick.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.