Pass Over Blues – Colored World
CD: 17 Songs, 60 Minutes
Styles: Eclectic Blues, Roots, All Original Songs
Innovation. The word conjures up images of artistic and technological marvels. It’s the drive to improve, to branch out, to push the envelope and think outside the box. Fortunately for us, Apple and Microsoft aren’t the only players in the innovation game. Consider Pass Over Blues, an eclectic ensemble from Potsdam, Germany. On their newest album, Colored World, they take American blues and roots, put it on a CD satellite and shoot it into outer space. If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, it will embrace the welcoming vibes on the seventeen original songs featured here. Tracks such as “The Journey,” “The Secret Behind” and “Always With the Wind” are especially atmospheric. As for traditional blues, it’s rather scarce, but even the purest purists can enjoy the roots and Americana offerings. On vocals, leading man Harro Hübner is as gravelly as any seasoned blues master should be. Check out “Some Say” for his best work. He’s accompanied by a bevy of skillful guest musicians along with his regular band.
Pass Over Blues has been in business since 1991, although guitarist Roland Beeg has been performing since 1975. He’s become a fixture among (formerly) East German blues guitarists. Front man Hübner has been delighting audiences with his potent pipes since 1985. Bassist Lutz Mohri began his musical career in 1977, backing up numerous bands and even Polish singer and blues legend Mira Kubasinska. As if those credentials weren’t impressive enough, he has also been a teacher of guitar and bass for sixteen years. Drummer and percussionist Michiel Demeyere, a Flemish native, is also the painter of the band’s CD album covers.
Special guests on Colored World include backing vocalists Marion Bohn, Martin Weigel (who also plays additional guitar and piano), Christian Schwechheimer on backing vocals, additional drums and percussion; Sebastian Piskorz on flugelhorn, and the Children’s Choir of the European School Rövershagen for their background vocals on the title track.
Speaking of which, it’s an exhilarating anthem to Mother Earth with a sharp political edge. “It’s a colored world – not just black and white. It’s time to understand – no time to fuss and fight…If our world was – just black and white, then our lives would be – just sad and awful.” Another terrific tune is the blues stomp “Who Knows,” coming second in the CD’s repertoire. We humans always have more questions than answers, and what are those answers? “Who really knows?” It’s a hilarious shrug of a song, inviting listeners to laugh along with the chorus. One more standout is “Some Say,” as gentle and inspiring as Ray Charles’ “What a Wonderful World.” In a world full of conformity and standardization, it’s an invitation to “find your own way,” whether your name is “sweet Caroline” or not. You might wear out the replay button.
This band innovates the way Queen does, with its surreal sound and esoteric lyrics. It innovates the way the Beatles did in their later years, once they left their youth behind and turned their attention to what lay beyond screaming crowds of teenage girls. Pass Over Blues may not be everyone’s preferred variety, but rest assured they aim to bring a lot more color to the world!