Sing My Title
CD: 12 Songs; 44:34 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary and Traditional Electric Blues, Harmonica Blues
Sometimes when people order hamburgers at restaurants, they’re offered a myriad of exotic toppings: fried eggs, pineapple, blue cheese, avocado, and roasted corn relish among them. As unique as these are, what a lot of folks long for is sizzling yet simple: Nice ‘n’ Greasy. Beef and cheese will do just fine, thank you, with no vegetable-related colors between the buns. That’s the kind of blues Belgium’s Steven Troch serves up on his latest award-worthy album. Pairing meaty harmonica with saucy vocals, bold bass, and guitar that glides down like a tasty pair of “sliders,” this is just the ticket for anyone who wants a twelve-dish original smorgasbord with classic style.
In the CD liner notes, Grammy-nominated Mark Hummel comments: “I came to be familiar with him through Dave Barrett’s BluesHarmonica.com’s Internet harp contest, in which I was a judge. I noticed that two or three contest[s] in a row had me placing the Belgian harp slinger in first place…Troch plays most of this CD unamplified and that makes for a seriously original sound, unlike many copycats I hear out there.”
What more need be said? The twelve selections Troch presents all prove that he and his band are “Top Chefs” of contemporary and traditional harmonica blues. Alongside vocalist/harpist Steven are Rusty Zinn on guitar and backing vocals; Bob Welsh on guitar, electric bass and keyboards; June Core on drums, percussion and backing vocals; the ever-prolific producer Chris “Kid” Andersen on upright bass, electric bass, and backing vocals; and Lisa Leuschner Andersen on backing vocals for track six.
The following songs are the greasiest, most flavorful tracks on the CD, according to yours truly:
Track 04: “The Jinx is on Me” – With an irresistible blues-reggae beat that brings Bob Marley’s Jamaican jerk spice to mind, number four tells the tale of a man whose fortune will always be unfortunate: “You can catch yourself a freight, go way out West. Any old place, they’re going to kick you out of this nest. The jinx is on me. Oh, boy, the jinx is on me. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, the jinx is on me.” No other male tenor outside of opera has ever sung this high, except for Morten Harket on “Take On Me.”
Track 05: “Footsteps of my Dad” – Some of us don’t need a gypsy to tell us we’ve been cursed, as in the previous song. We make our own bad luck, like the narrator of this one: “My dad, he was an evil man. Dad, he was an evil man. Mama hoped and prayed that one day, he’d change his ways, but my dad, he was an evil man.” Following in his footsteps won’t lead to heaven, but Rusty Zinn’s super-catchy guitar solo will.
Track 09: “Wanna Sleep” – Hypnotic and hilarious, number nine echoes a familiar sentiment for all-night partiers: “No time to shower. No time to brush. No time to comb my hair; I’ve got to rush. Black coffee and a quick cigarette ain’t exactly what I call a continental breakfast, but I wanna sleep.” This is a lullaby for adults. Instead of a bottle, listeners will want to suck on a beer instead.
Steven Troch and his hearty harmonica are Nice n’ Greasy!