Andy B.AND – My Roots Are Showing
Long-time member of the New Jersey band, the Voodudes, singer Andy B. (Bernstein) has put together a collection that highlights the broad range of his musical influence on an all-original program. “Great Time Comin’” unfolds with numerous biblical references punctuated by stark tones from Gary Ambrosy’s dobro. John Pittas adds a Stevie Wonder – inspired electric keyboard fills. The next track mixes country and gospel a with dueling guitars from Ambrosy and Greg Stier on “One More River”.
Andy B. has an easy-going vocal style, delivered with a deep, gruff voice on tracks like “Incandescent Lightbulb Blues,” a tribute to Thomas Edison that harks back to New Orleans traditional jazz, thanks to Tommy LaBella on saxophone and Perry Leandro on fiddle. Bob Bernstein’s pedal steel work in conjunction with Paul Daloia’ upright bass and Jake O’Handley gives “Better Do Something ‘Bout That” a pronounced western swing feel. “My Baby’s Gone” is highlighted by somber notes Dick Paul pulls out of his fiddle while “In My Dreams” has Pittas switching between accordion and keyboards, giving the mid-tempo ballad a touch of the Cajun sound.
“Mary Ellis” is modern rendering of a story surrounding a grave in movie theater parking lot in New Jersey. Once again, Dick Paul lays down some impressive fiddle work. “Slow Dancin’ Barefoot” glides along, fleshed out by horns and a backing chorus. “In My Dreams” has Andy B. name-dropping Elvis & Ann Margaret while fantasizing about dancing with the woman of his dreams, urged on by John Asti’s tenor sax.
The singer’s finest hour occurs on “Break Someone Else’s Heart,” as his voice takes on a harder edge on a song about love’s betrayal. He finally generates a emotional connection that is lacking in the other tracks. And, in the course of covering all of these musical genres, Andy B. only makes a few fleeting stops at the house of the Blues. It adds up to a wide-ranging project that will be of limited interest to blues fans.