Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Crooked Eye Tommy -- "Butterflies And Snakes"


Crooked Eye Tommy releases their debut effort,
Butterflies And Snakes, eleven memorable songs written by Crooked Eye Tommy front-person and band namesake Tommy Marsh and Tommy's brother, guitarist-vocalist, Paddy Marsh.

These brothers are the creative force that is Crooked Eye Tommy. Paddy Marsh sings and writes three of the eleven tunes on the record including “Come On In”, “I Stole The Blues”,  and “Tide Pool.” Tommy Marsh sings on the other eight songs. The other members of the band are Glade Rasmussen, on bass; Tony Cicero, on drums; and Jimmy Calire, on saxophone/piano/Hammond B3.

This band came out of the Santa Barbara Blues Society in 2013 and the album is a rocking blues powerhouse. These guys do Southern style blues with chops and taste, and, as you can guess from the name of the album, several of the songs deal with the relationships between the sexes. The title track drew me in right off the bat with an excellent balanced ensemble sound featuring strong vocals and stinging guitar work. I like a blues band that wants to sound like a blues band, not a group of guys just waiting to get the next screamin' solo. These guys get it done--it sounds like they all turned down the volume just a little and they all play together beautifully.

Another favorite to me was the rocking number, "Time Will Tell," which is "the source of the album's name," states Marsh. "The second verse talks about the duality of women:

Women are made of butterflies, butterflies and snakes
Trying to please a woman can give a good man the shakes

"Somebody's Got To Pay" is a sexy Blues shuffle where Marsh laments in song, "the way the world is today, somebody's got to pay." He explains: "I wrote this song while dealing with a tax issue...I was very frustrated with the whole government and how no matter who is in office, it's always about who has the money."

Another really good song, IMO, is "I Stole The Blues," which features Paddy Marsh singing over a solid rhythm section and really good guitar by brother Tommy. This one has all the elements of a good blues radio friendly number--in fact, I have played it several times on my Mo' Blues Show and it always gets a good reaction. There is a hot sax solo by Jimmy Calire on this one.

Crooked Eye Tommy has made a really fine debut album. Santa Barbara and Ventura County California have a lot to be proud of here. Scorching performances and original music firmly rooted in traditional blues, which feels at once both familiar but somehow new.

You can buy this cd at

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