Blue Mountain Tribe – Oh Great Warrior | Album Review

Blue Mountain Tribe – Oh Great Warrior

Self Released

10 tracks/44 minutes

Blues Mountain Tribe is the inspiration of Robin and Caleb Hairston from Tehachipa, California. They are father and son and created this blues rock band to raise awareness for the plight on Indigenous peoples. In the process, they have garner many awards and recognitn with their work.

Slavery in the Americas was not limited to Africans. Native peoples were often enslaved to work plantations and farms. Estimates in the U.S range from about 147,000 to 340,000 and anywhere from  2.5 to 5.5 million across the Americas. Over time, using Africans as slaves became more popular as they had no where to escape to while the Indigenous peoples knew the land and often had friends and family nearby.

Then we had the acts of genocide waged against Native Americas which go down in infamy. It is with good reason that the blues certainly are something the indigenous peoples of the Americas feel. It is estimated that over 8 million people died due to hate, disease and warfare.

Even today the lives of Indigenous peoples are filled with problems. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2018 stated that American Indians and Alaska Natives continue to rank near the bottom of all Americans in terms of health, education, and employment due to a variety of reasons such as historical discriminatory policies, insufficient resources, and inefficient federal program delivery. Blue Mountain Tribe works to deliver those messages with their music.

Robin handles the harp and vocals and Caleb  is on guitar and vocals. Pat Mata plays drums and sings while Jeff Cooper sings and plays bass. Jim Wilson adds guitar and slide guitar and Bruce Robb plays B3 organ.

The album opens with the driving blues rocker “Children on the Rez.” This features a huge guitar solo and some gritty harmonica soloing as they describe issues on the reservation. “You Better Watch Yourself” follows, a slow blues with some ethereal backing vocals doing call and response. More slick solos on guitar and harp are included. “Hey Baby” features more calls and response and there is a a nice boogie going for it  and guitar lead to enjoy. The harp follows with another hot solo.

“Stronghold” is  another driving and rocking blues about getting to a safe and secure place. Big time guitar and harp are again offered up to enjoy. Next us is “Pray for Our Planet,” a cut with more rocking blues that highlights about how we are ruining our home. Another stinging guitar solo and another big harp solo again are featured in this one. “Poor Man Blues” is up next, a fun shuffle about how you won’t get rich playing the blues.  More vibrant guitar and harp get laid out for all to hear. The tempo and emotions get taken down several notches with “Serenity,” a pretty ballad with some beautiful flute played by Steven Rushingwind.

“Mountain Down Wind” is some more driving blues with a big groove, and some heavy guitar. Well done! The title tracks is a huge rocker with and in your face groove and big organ support. The band calls for the Great Warrior to listen to their pleas for help Hard rocking stuff with more wicked licks on guitar and later some cool licks on harp, too. The finale is “Sacred Flowers,” with a traditional opening and more cool flute. The song moves into what I’d call an acoustic rock anthem with a call for return of their sacred flowers. They sing how Mother Earth is crying for it’s daughters. It’s a beautiful piece with a sound and vibe hearkening back to 1960’s rock with layers of Indigenous music woven into it.

Blue Mountain Tribe has twice been named top blues/rock band at the Native American Music Awards and have received other honors for their work. This is an interesting blues rock album with a message. I enjoyed it and the messages it sends!

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