Peach and the Almost Blues Band – A Night in Copenhagen
8 tracks / 36:28
A cool thing about the blues is that the form easily translates to different cultures and allows musicians from all parts of the world to get together and create killer music. Language is not much of a barrier, as the chord patterns and song structures are familiar to anyone who has played the blues for a while. Peach totally gets this, and this fixture of the Los Angeles music scene has released a cool set of blues that she laid down with some friends in Denmark, titled A Night in Copenhagen.
Peach (her last name is Reasoner) grew up in the Midwest, but found work and built her musical career on the West Coast as a jazz and blues singer and guitarist. Along the way she has toured the world and collaborated with folks that include Taj Mahal, Jim Messina, Keb’ Mo’ and Condoleezza Rice. Yep, it is the Condoleezza you are thinking of – she was Peach’s accompanist at the University of Denver.
A Night in Copenhagen was recorded in February 2016 straight out of the mixing board at Café Bartof. Peach handled the lead vocals and played her sparkly Tele; she was joined by locals Michael Engman Ronnow on guitar, Helge Solberg on bass, and Niclas Campagnol on the skins. Her longtime band mate, Ken Stange from Los Angeles, made the trip across the Atlantic and sat in on keys and harmonica for this gig. This disc includes eight songs from the show, and most of them are covers that perfectly fit Peach’s vocal style.
First up in the set is “Tonight I’ll Be Stayin Here With You,” a Bob Dylan tune from 1969. Things get off to a soulful start with Stange’s sweet harp work, and it is not long before Peach joins in. Her voice has all the right things going on – it is strong and has a weathered character that sets it apart, but that is not all. Her phrasing and timing are both spot on, and she comes off like the true pro that she is. This gives Peach the ability to take this song from a Nobel laureate and make it her own. The same can be said about the second song on the album, B.B. King’s oft-covered 1978 hit, “Never Make Your Move Too Soon.” This song comes off as a roadhouse tune with Peach howling the vocals over Solberg’s thumping bass, Campagnol’s hard-hitting snare, and Stange’s barroom piano.
This is pretty much how the album proceeds, as the band is not afraid to take on songs that were made famous by others, but they consistently prove that they have the talent to pull them off. Junior Wells’ 1960 song, “Little by Little” is a tough shuffle with lovely organ from Stange and a walking bassline from Solberg. The lyrics translate well to having a woman sing them and Peach delivers them with sass! There is also Harvey Scales and the Seven Sounds’ “Love-It is,” which most folks will associate with the J. Geils Band. The guitars shine on this rocker, and the band kicks in with backing vocals on the super-catchy chorus, which really helps to bring this tune together.
The covers are all great, but one of the standout tunes on the disc is an original that was written by Peach, “Tell Me You Love Me.” Maybe it is because this song is a ballad, but the change of mood is striking as Peach’s emotional lyrics rise to the top over multiple layers of keys and the heavy high-hat and snare of Niclas Campagnol. This song could make the listener wish that the band had snuck a few more originals into the mix.
This is a short set, and a little over a half hour in the band takes on the finale, Frankie Miller’s “Ain’t Got no Money,” a song that was also done by Cher and Bob Seger. This uptempo romp is barroom blues at its best, and after a slick break on the piano from Stange, the band brings things to a close on a high note
A Night in Copenhagen is a neat recording of a fun show by Peach and the Almost Blues Band. Her jazzy blues interpretations of classic songs work very well, and the band was definitely hitting on all cylinders that chilly winter night in Denmark. Give it a listen for yourself – there is plenty here for blues fans to enjoy!