Bobby Messano’s name is not yet immediately recognizable to most people, but it should be. For years, he was a sought after studio musician and toured with many national acts, including Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. His CD Live From Madison was nominated for a Grammy award.
That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues, Messano’s latest CD, is getting a lot of airplay and considerable buzz, and so it should. This is the best blues/rock CD I’ve heard this year.
Not only does Messano have a great blues/rock voice—it is strong, and just weathered enough and capable of delivering his lyrics with sincerity—but he is backed by an excellent band. From the pounding drums that open up “More Than Meets the Eye” at the start of the CD right to the album’s end, they keep the sound tight. Band members Steve Geller, Joey B. Banks, Jimmy Voegel, Pete Ross, Chad Whittinghill, and Bryan Husk, along with Messano on electric and acoustic guitar and dobro, set up a wall of sound reminiscent of the classic Memphis sound or even of Motown.
All of the songs on the CD were written or co-written by Messano except for one, an excellent version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Gypsy Eyes.” I can’t really pick a favorite, but I love the humor of “That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues,” the jazzy “Blue Freddie,” which puts the spotlight on the band, “Pride of the Cockney Rebels,” and the heavy, rocking “No Soul City.” There is not one bad song on the CD though.
Messano delivers on That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues. Fans of groups like The Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks Band, or musicians such as Clapton or Winwood will love this CD.
I originally wrote this review for Blogcritics at: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-bobby-messano-thats-why1/#ixzz1dsqasQcr
I thought that since I’m writing the Atlanta blues examiner column now at http://www.examiner.com/x-32020-Atlanta-Blues-Examiner. I should join the Atlanta Blues Society. Since Ken is always with me (my husband), I got a membership for him, too. We went to our first meeting Sunday at Blind Willie’s. We met some great people and got to hear Joe McGuinness perform. I wrote an article about him for the column today and used one of the photos we took. i also attached a great video. Check it out at the link above, and take a look at some of my other articles, too!
I am now the Atlanta Blues Examiner for Examiner.com. I am writing several columns a week to let people know what’s going on blues-wise around Atlanta: blues clubs, concerts, news, history, and more. Please check it out!
Blues Women in a Class by Themselves, August 15, 2008
By Gretchen Lee Bourquin (Minneapolis, MN) – See all my reviews
When I first heard of Rhetta Akamatsu’s new book T’aint Nobody’s Business If I Do: Women Blues Singers Old and New I was intrigued. The book chronicles the lives and struggles of the great female blues singers in the last century.
I like blues music; the rhythms, feeling and drama behind it. But I had never considered that “women’s blues” was something different and distinct from “men’s blues” Akamatsu illustrates that it definitely has it’s own place. Women’s blues is sassier, tougher and more rebellious than the men’s blues – not that Muddy Waters and B.B. King are anything to sneeze at. But when women got the blues they didn’t shrivel in the corner. They stood up and fought back with a strong voice and sometimes with both fists.
The book begins in a casual, conversational , tone that like the women of the blues makes no apologies. It is well researched and chronicles eighteen different blues acts, including Mamie Smith, Etta James, Janis Joplin, the blues group Saffire and many more.
This book made me look at blues music differently. It is more than just a genre or form of music, but carries a feeling that transcends whatever genre was prevalent at the time from Vaudeville to Rock and Roll.
T’aint Nobody’s Business gives a good overview of different female blues performers laid out in a way that is both informative and entertaining. But I give one warning – This book definitely left me wanting more. I think it might be time to buy a new CD. I hope I can pick just one.