The Homemade Jamz Blues Band – The Game
With this, their third release, The Homemade Jamz Blues Band displays a musical maturity that will impress even the casual listener, while at the same time, their long time fans will appreciate the progress that each of them has made over the last few years.
Fronted by Ryan Perry on guitar and vocals, along with brother Kyle on bass, sister Taya on the drums, they have molded a sound that starts in the rural backwoods of Mississippi and brings to mind the images of the past infused with the hope and vitality of their youth.
From the opening strains of Ryan’s’ throaty field holler, on ‘Washing Clothes’ one can hear the progress made by the band. To me, quite often the first cut is the one that could either make me buy into a release or not, as the case may be. This first cut sells it big time !
‘The Game’is an interesting cut, in so much as it hints of Earl Kings’ ‘Come On’ and of the guitar sound and feel of Jimi Hendrix in his later more chord driven work. Now I am not comparing Ryan to Jimi or Earl, but just as to what I am hearing, think of Message of Love and songs of that ilk of Hendrix music and you will see what I mean. Even some of the solos I can hear a constrained adaption of what Hendrix might do to this lead. Not overblown, tasteful and with just the right amount of funkiness that pervaded Jimi’s later work. Hey, plus they are using football, baseball, and basketball as a metaphors for the love game he’s singing about. How bad can that be ?
Slowing it down to the more traditional blues tack, they offer up ‘Gotta Bad Bad Feeling’ to showcase Ryan’s’ thoughtful leads and his progress into the Blues guitar realm. I might have liked the bottom turned up somewhat on Kyles’ bass playing here, but that’s a minor point.
These kids have been around the Blues community for quite some time and what seems to be forgotten is that they are all still just pups. Ryan, just finished High School, is 18, Kyle is 16 and Taya is 12, that’s young, and to me it is thrilling that these youngsters are continuing to play the blues with the guidance and assistance of their family and father Renaud (who plays some killer harp on this release and when touring with them). What. might you ask, do these youngsters know about the blues, well give a listen to The Game and you will see, hear and feel the connection.
You can visit them at http://www.hmjamzbluesband.com/ for more info on the band, releases and tour dates.
Sugaray – Blind Alley
Big sounding, full throttle blues from West Coast featuring Sugaray on vocals and a fine cast of accomplished players make this a fine release – one that you can turn up and shake your moneymaker to.
From the first call out of the beat that then transforms into Jimmy Z’s thrilling attention getting harmonica riff, they break into Al Kooper’s ‘Nuthin’ I Wouldn’t Do (For A Woman Like You)‘. Blind Alley slows down just enough to let you catch your breath. This is accomplished first off with Sugarays’ version of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s ‘Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground’ and then Son Houses’ classic ‘Death Letter’ picks it back up.
Sugaray’s vocals are deep and full of soul, in a time of guitar driven Blues songs it is refreshing (and much needed) to hear some vocal driven Blues, after all the Blues started as spoken word storytelling and the voice is an integral part of it’s history and should not be ignored. Not limited to slow blues or traditional treatments of songs, he moves freely through modern styling of traditional songs such as ‘You Upsets Me Baby’ and the aforementioned ‘Death Letter’ infusing each with a dash of funk, a twist of spice and backed by a solid rhythm section (and horns enuf for anyone) ! His version of ‘You Go To Move’ is a gospel minute that puts things in perspective as to the relation of the Blues and the church.
I must say I did enjoy hearing his versions of Al Koopers’ two compositions on this release, I have always been a great big Al Kooper fan. His version of ‘I Let Love Slip Thru My Fingers’ recalls the glory of great soul songs and the slide work and horn interweaving is just thrilling to hear.
Give it a listen, if you are somewhat ‘old school’, a nouveau blues fan, or if you are a traditionalist I think you will find something here to reinforce your views and maybe enlighten you to some other approaches.
To read more about Sugaray be sure to stop on over and visit at http://www.sugarayblues.com/ and tell him I sent ya.
Until Next Time
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos courtesy: artists