Ben Rice and RB Stone – Out Of The Box
Middle Mountain Music
Out Of The Box is an album featuring a mix of cigar box guitars played by Ben Rice and RB Stone. Eleven original cuts written by Rice and/or Stone, the two deliver a superb set of tunes that will give he listeners something to savor. Using guitars with 3, 4 and 6 strings, the duo give fantastic performances on this album with a double entendre title. Joining Stone and Rice are Dave Melyan on drums, Joseph Barton on bass and Jimi Bott on tambourine (he also recorded and mixed the CD).
Stone and Rice first met up in Oregon when one of Stone’s shows was cancelled. Rice invited Stone to double bill his gig and they apparently hit it off because this collaboration is exceptional. Using a mix of cigar box/custom guitars and shared vocals, guitars and song writing, they’ve craft a winner!
The album opens to the rock a billy styled “Hot Rod Mama,” a wild ride with the two of them playing and singing. The pace is fast and furious and the guys wail on their guitars in this super-fun cut! Both play six string washboard guitars here. Rice follows on six string washboard on “Easy Rollin’ Down The Road,” a slower paced cut with a haunting melody and more restrained guitar play. “Hey Politician” features Stone on a Swampeast CBG and Rice on the 6 string washboard. Stone delivers this one in a style reminiscent of John Fogerty and Creedence. Very cool stuff with a very pretty big guitar solo. “Hoodoo Workin’ Overtime’ has Rice again on the same guitar and Stone on harp. Rice takes the vocal lead here while playing guitar as Stone fills in nicely on the Mississippi saxophone. “The Swamp East Boogie” is next, a raucous and rousing cut featuring Stone on the CBG and vocals. A driving beat and really sweet boogie groove make this one a winner! Stone lets loose on guitar and it’s a thing of beauty. Rice and Stone play 4 and 6 string washboards respectively on “Jesus Needs a Gig,” a cool, midtempo tune. Stone takes the vocal lead and gives us some sweet country blues with interesting lyrics.
The pace picks up again on “Meet Your Maker,” featuring Rice on the Swampeast CBG and vocals and Stone on harp. Rice slips and slides and gives us another great cut to enjoy. Stone takes up the Swampeast CBG on “Bad Blood On Mean Whiskey.” The pulsating groove and driving nature of the song sell this cut. Rice leads on the 6 string washboard on “Crushin’ On The Bartender” as he sings about a sweetie behind the bar. A midtempo cut with a nice groove and another winner as Rice sings and slides about. He continues on the 4 string washboard on “Train Of Time.” The album concludes with a viciously cool instrumental with Stone on Lobo Guitar and Rice on 6 string washboard. The two banter and blaze as they attack the strings in this super-cool cut. The pace is frenetic and the sound is cool, a whirling dervish of a song. Well done!
Earthy, gritty, and sublime stuff is recorded here for you to enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will be listening to it a lot- this is a really fun album. The songs are cool, the sound is cool, the vocals are cool and the guitars are utterly cool! It is a winner on all accounts- I highly recommend going out and getting this one to add to your collection!