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Archive for June, 2015

Jeff Fetterman: Bottle Full of Blues Review

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Bottle Full of Blues is the second release from guitarist/singer/songwriter, Jeff Fetterman. This eleven song collection has plenty to satisfy any blues rocker. It also demonstrates how much an artist can grow from his first album to his second album.  Bottle Full of Bluespacks a lot more punch in the production, and playing departments than Fetterman’s noteworthy debut Long Hard Road. With influences as diverse as Prince, Springsteen, and Hendrix, Fetterman and company take us on unique musical journey while stopping off at a lot of familiar destinations.

This album covers a lot of territory from funky rave ups like the opening track, “Paradise” that showcase Jeff’s in the pocket riffing, to the driving Delbert McClinton inspired boogie woogie of “Southbound.” The latter, flavored with pounding piano and screaming harmonica is a real hip shaker. The title track “Bottle Full of Blues” is a drippy soulful blues ballad and is a lesson in blues guitar tone and phrasing. Jeff’s lines seem to slowly tease and tempt as he takes his time resolving each phrase. His soloing is as melodlic as David Gilmour and as soulful Hendrix. On the instrumental “Devil’s Shuffle” he lays down some southern blues picking that would put a smile on Dickey Bett’s face. The rhythm section of John McGuire on drums and Ralph Rietinger III keep it tight and driving from start to finish. Rietinger’s funk style is a great addition to the Fetterman sound and makes tracks like “Talk to Me” and “Funky Candy” really pop. Judy Kessler shines on backing vocals and helps elevate songs like the southern gospel inspired “Wash My Blues Away” to heavenly heights.

With only two albums under his belt, Jeff Fetterman is a relatively new artist, but he seems to have come to the world stage very well developed as musician. Great playing, singing and songwriting never go out of style and Bottle Full of Blues is a testament to all three.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Out of Time
– Bottle Full of Blues
– Paradise
– Wash My Blues Away

The Hit

– Funky Candy

Review by Lou Lombardi

Charlie Wheeler Trio: Rewind Review

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

rewind-300×273.jpgThe Charlie Wheeler Trio exudes a toughness and desperation that can only be cultivated in the working class, unforgiving hills of of northern, PA, from which they hail.  On their latest CD Rewind, they sport a driving brand of groove-rock that is reminiscent of the Black Crowes and The Allman Brothers Band, coupled with the blunt force of post grunge hard rock. Powered by the rhythm section of Rad Akers on drums and Dave Fink on bass, Charlie Wheeler describes his trio as a “song first” type of band. While expansive, improvisational jamming is a key component to their live show, Rewind (their third album) is a solid group of structured songs which allow Wheeler to tear into his vocal and lead guitar work with reckless, pent up hostility.

Rewind, uses a much more basic approach than Charlie’s previous CDs. Relying solely on bass, guitar, drums and vocals, Wheeler, along with producer and engineer Anthony Brown opted to make an album with “more mud on your boots and grit on your hands,” as Wheeler states.  Wheeler’s guitar work is aggressive and in the pocket and always serves the song. He has a great mix of chops and soul,  but it’s  his voice that will get most people’s attention. There is attitude in his delivery that you just don’t hear that much in this genre.  It’s conversational but the conversation always has a hint of “go f**k yourself”. Imagine Joe Strummer or Mike Ness singing the blues and you’re getting close.

While Charlie is a great guitarist and vocalist what really makes Rewind work is the song-writing. Strip away the crushing rhythm section, smoking guitar work, snarling vocals and we are left with a set of very beautiful and touching songs.  From the tough, woman done me wrong of the opening track “Love Letter” to the sardonic humor of “Semi Good Lookin’,” Charlie introduces us to a cast of very memorable characters. “Makin Love in the Afternoon” tells the story of a couple who’s Facebook relationship status would mostly likely read “It’s Complicated.” He muses about  mortality and human frailty  in “The Ghost of Who You Were”, and while his lyrics may put a lump in your throat, the music always says, “get up off your ass and deal with it!”  There is no shortage of muscle on this album. Wheeler’s guitar work and the band’s incessant grooving perfectly compliment the solid song-writing. Rewind will have you rocking hard and driving way too fast while you contemplate, life, love and loss.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Rewind
– The Ghost of Who You Were
– Lady Luck
– I Like to Wander
– Love Letter

The Big Hit

– Love Letter

Review by Lou Lombardi