30 Miles Up (Self Released)
Daniel Dudeck, better known I many parts as “Mudcat,” is an eclectic and talented musician. Born on the Missisisippi River banks in St. Paul and raised in Tybee Island,Georgia, Mudcat began busking for listeners at a young age. He was schooled in the blues, roots and rock by Dickey Betts, Taj Mahal, Cora Mae Bryant, Cootie Stark and Frank Edwards. His music ranges from blues to gospel to Cajun who can make both a sacred and a secular audience feel moved. He and his band hit you full force with their bluesy Americana sound.
I counted this as his 18th release on his website. I have heard a few of them and reviewed a couple of them previously. I’ve enjoyed them all. He mixes it up on each album, giving us some fresh sounding original tunes with a really big sounding band. Eskil Wetterqvist is on drums, Lil’ Joe Burton blows trombone, Shannon Kirk is the bassist, David “Snave” Evans provides guitar, harp and flute, Chad Mason is on keys, Darul Dunn lays out some sax and Mico Bowles is on trumpet. Dudeck leads the vocals with everyone backing him and also plays guitar (including some mean slide). The slide and trombone are the two predominant elements that really sell me on his sound. The vocals are also solid and the songs and arrangements are well done, too.
Mudcat starts with a song based on the old adage, “When Mama’s Happy.” If you need to know the rest you must be from another planet. It’s a good hook tune with a nice beat and some testifying by Mudcat. The whole band gets involved early and the song becomes a Mudcat party waiting for you to join in. Big solos abound! “Calamity Jane” follows, where Dudeck sings of his bullwhacking, country girl. Filled with clichés, Mudcat still sells this with his approach. The slide sings along with him and Kirk joins in and explains who Ms. Jane is; an untamable woman with a wanderlust who can out drink any man.Burton’s trompbone solo here and other throughout are spectacular. He can blow you over or make you go aflutter with this vibrato thing he does; he and the horns are a force to be reckoned with.
“Falling” slows things down a bit. Mudcat begins with some slide and then gets into the ballad. The horns and backing vocals play along with the vocals nicely as this one progresses, and the slide solo is cool, too. “Spitting in the Eye of the Devil” starts out with a long piano intro that laments to us sweetly. Then Dudeck comes in with the band harmonizing as they all sing about his woman and these slow country blues make you sway back and forth in your seat. Dudeck then takes us to church with “You Better Mind” as he takes us to our judgment. The pace picks up and the band swings with him. Nice piano work here followed by a slick harp solo. Later we gets some slide and a flute solo and then later some pretty horn work is featured.
“Gone” follows and has an intriguing vocal angle, with long, drawn out phrasing. Good horn and guitar work on this one, too. “San Antone” takes us to Texas with a little swing as Mudcat sings and swings to us. “Commodicide” adds a funky guitar line and beat as Mudcat sings about our plight as we commit commodicide with our material ways. The organ here is a nice addition to the song and then we have some beautiful trombone. A solemn commentary on life is what we have here with this song. The CD finishes with “All Ways,” going a little more up tempo and a lot more upbeat as Mudcat sings of his love. Lots of good guitar here and the band all participates to close out a good little CD.
Mudcat’s fans will adore this one and if you are not a fan it may convince you to take notice and become one. I think this was a fun listen and well worth a spin or two! You’ll enjoy Mudcat, his band, his songs and occasional and social commentary!