CD: 10 Songs, 43:40 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues and Blues Rock
On a classic episode of The Simpsons, Homer disses jazz in this way: “Jazz? Phfft. They just make it up as they go along. I can do that.” He proceeds to sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with “dee-dee-dee.” Marge points this out, which leads Homer to sing it with “do-do-do.” “You just replaced ‘dee’s’ with ‘do’s’,” says Marge. “D’oh!” shouts our hapless hero, outwitted yet again. My point? Blues is like jazz. Not only is it difficult to improvise, but even more difficult to come up with music that absolutely no one, nowhere, has heard before. California’s Jim Gustin and Truth Jones know this well, and on their new album Memphis, have composed ten original tracks. That’s the good news, in a genre oversaturated with CD’s full of covers. The bad news is that nothing really “pops” as something wildly different from what I, and many fans, have heard before. Don’t get me wrong – there’s some promising blues rock here. Instrumentally, all of the featured musicians are above-average, but vocally, Gustin’s a bit hoarse and hard-ridden. That’s what the blues is all about, but for those who prefer more polished pipes, look elsewhere.
According to the band’s Facebook page, “Jim Gustin is a blues singer and guitarist from Santa Clarita, California. He has a distinctive, powerful voice; soulful and deep with a smoky rasp, he is a passionate and energetic performer. He has well-written, catchy songs that reveal his many varied influences to his groove-oriented blues. He is also a very solid guitarist with great tone and a funky feel…Jeri Goldenhar, aka Truth Jones, has been singing since she was a little girl, although at over six feet tall, it’s hard to imagine her as a knee high, little red-headed child. She has a big voice to match her impressive stature. She can belt out gospel and soul rarely heard from suburban white girls.”
Performing along with guitarist and lead vocalist Jim Gustin, and lead and backing vocalist Truth Jones, are Steve Alterman on piano, organ and keyboards; Terry Wilson on bass, guitar, backing vocals, and percussion; Herman Matthews on drums and percussion, and Teresa James on background vocals.
The song below proves it, and it’s not even the title track of their newest CD.
Track 05: “I Love What I Got” – A groovier blues number cannot be had, outside of the 1960’s. In this postmodern era, dissatisfaction with one’s current lot in life has hit an all-time high. In the case of this tune, it describes the flip side of success: “I’ve got a good friend, but he’s all alone. He’s got a good job, but an empty home. He’s still waiting for love to come his way. Can’t find the right woman. Now he’s early-turning gray.” Dig that Clapton-esque guitar intro and the undeniable chemistry between the two lead singers.
For classic yet contemporary blues rock, let Jim Gustin and Truth Jones take you to Memphis!