Originally from California, singer and guitarist Brad Stivers eventually ended up in Colorado to attend college. Having developed a love of blues from listening to his brother’s record collection, he started playing in local clubs, putting together his band, Bad Brad & the Fat Cats. The group had two releases, with the second title, Take A Walk With Me, garnering a positive Blues Blast review in 2014. That same year the band made the finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, sponsored by the Blues Foundation.
Stivers has spent the last couple of years plying his trade as a member of the Austin, TX music community. His new project extends his vision beyond the blues to soul, country, and R&B. He starts off rocking on “2000 Miles,” one of five originals. Listeners immediately get a healthy dose of Stivers’blazing guitar picking. Another of his tunes, “Put It Down,” is a spirited guitar showcase that mixes rockabilly with a sprinkling of country twang. The title track is centered on a funky riff and the potent interplay between the Stivers’ vocal and guitar. “Can’t Wait” is exactly the kind of punchy shuffle you would expect to hear from a Texas band. Things get real lowdown on the minor key slow blues, “Save Me,” as the leader’s guitar adopts a dark, foreboding tone.
Emily Gimble adds her sweet voice and plays piano on the classic barroom weeper, “Her We Go Again,” with Eric Przygocki on upright bass, while Malford Milligan joins in for a passionate duet on “Nickel And A Nail,” that stays close to the classic O.V. Wright performance. The arrangement is fleshed out by Bukka Allen on organ. Borrowing one from the Ray Charles playbook, Stivers tears through “You’re Just About To Lose Your Clown,” getting strong support from Bobby Perkins on bass, Nico Leophonte on drums, Allen on organ one more time, and some muscular saxophone from Mark Wilson.
There is a touch of the Robert Ward sound on “One Night Of Sin,” a four minute testimonial to Stivers skills on guitar, with Odis Hill taking over on bass guitar. The disc ends with a vibrant instrumental workout on “Cold Sweat,” once again with the focus on Stiver’s fast-fingered playing, which always manages to sound clean and tasteful. While he doesn’t break any new ground, Brad Stivers holds your interest throughout this release, with a couple of tracks sure to put some pep in your step!