Thursday, July 16, 2009

Big Pete Pearson "Finger In Your Eye'

Big Pete Pearson is the King of Arizona Blues. This is only his 3rd cd in a career that began back in the 50s, but this is no nostalgia act. "Finger In Your Eye" is a fine disc, produced by Bob Corritore. Pearson wrote all ten songs here. Backing Pearson is the Phoenix-based Rhythm Room All-Stars--Bob Corritore on harp, Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums--along with guest appearances by a who's who of great players: Duke Robillard, Johnny Rapp, Eddie Taylor Jr and Billy Flynn on guitars, Pinetop Perkins, Henry Gray (whose piano work almost steals the show on "Heartaches"), Matt Bishop, Michael Kocour, and Bruce Bears on piano and organ, and Doug James on bari saxophone. I would have LOVED to be a fly on the wall at these sessions. Everybody plays great, every song is a timeless slice of Chicago style blues, and Big Pete may be the finest living blues shouter out there. If you hesitate because you haven't heard of Big Pete before, it's time you got wise. What else can I say? If you have even one drop of blues-loving blood in your veins, you will love this disc. A welcome addition. You need to buy this cd at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Mojo Roots EP

The Mojo Roots are a really good 'n hot 4 piece band that hails from Columbia Missouri. They came together in the summer of 2008 and have been playing together since then all around mid-Missouri. Thanks to my friend Chris Puyear I recently came into possession of their EP, five tracks that show a lot of energy and potential. The members are: Andy Naugle on drums, Peter Bermudez on bass, Trevor Judkins on lead and slide guitar, and Jordan Thomas on vocals, harp and guitar. These guys play an ear-friendly twin guitar and harp blues with a big fat back beat. It sounds like they have listened to The Bel Airs and learned a lot--the Mojo Roots' sound is perfectly made for live performances. The songs are all originals, written by Jordon Thomas--kicking things off is "Green Eyed Baby," a twist on the jealousy angle--sample lyric: "you better think twice before you chase me, because it just might get you killed." The next couple of songs are about different types of addiction: "Can't Quit Cigarettes" and "Fishnets." The rest of the EP is filled out with "She's Got A Smile," a love song with some especially fine harmonica playing. Last but not least is the best song on the EP, "Ain't New To The Blues," sample lyric "I may be a young man, but I ain't new to the blues." All together a very fine start indeed. On my next trip to Missouri I want to make sure I get to catch these guys live. The band is currently unsigned. Check them out at

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mia Vermillion "Alone Together With The Blues"

If you like the music of Patsy Cline or K D Lang or Norah Jones you need to check out this cd. Mia Vermillion's cd "Alone Together With The Blues" features two terrific talents--the vocals by Mia, and the guitars by Orville Johnson. They both come out of the Seattle, Washington area, and from the liner notes it appears that most of this disc was recorded in one or the other's living rooms. The combination of Mia and Orville is quite magical. It's not a loud or rushed presentation. It's a fine acoustic music cd, rounded out with a gentle and perfectly swinging rhythm section by Chuck Deardorf and Ben Smith. The tempos are relaxed, the vocal is front and center--and the guitar is sweet and grooving. The resulting music is tasteful and richly rewarding. Vermillion writes only two of the songs here, but they fit the overall vibe very well--and one of them, "Love's Lost And Found," might be the best track on the disc. The covers are well-chosen: a terrific take on Lil Green's "In The Dark," Leroy Carr's "In The Evening," Big Bill Broonzy's "When I Have Been Drinkin'" and a really well-done take of "I'm Going To Copyright Your Kisses," Mary Lou Williams' "Walkin.'" The cd's last track is another winner--the Lew Pollack/Paul Francis Weber classic "Two Cigarettes In The Dark" with a wonderful guest turn by Hans Teuber on clarinet that wraps up the song and the cd just beautifully.

This one may not appeal to the folks who love loud guitar pyrotechnics, but in its quiet and winning way this is a really good cd. Available online at