DBM Studios – Blues Detroit | Album Review

DBM Studios – Blues Detroit

DBS Records


11 tracks

The Detroit Blues Society created DBS Records to nurture their musician members.  Established in 2021, DBS records at DBM Studios in Detroit. This CD features 11 original cuts and features Robert McIlhenney on guitar, harp and vocals, Rick Morgan on drums and vocals, and Matt Allen on bass and vocals. The three have worked in a variety of musical projects over the years and this is their first attempt at a blues album. Mcilhenny has a long background in blues, dating back to his student days in 1969 at Ann Arbor; he was on the music committee at the inaugural festival there. He penned the track “Mad At You” back then. The rest of the songs came later. This is the first DBS release.

“Killing Time” is first up. Straight up blues, midtempo with punk rock influenced vocals and some greasy harp. Next is “Detroit Riot,” a slower blues rocker about the summer blowing up in Motown. Sirens abound as they tell the story of the city burning. “Angels of Mercy” picks the pace up as they sing about deliverance by the angels of mercy, a Rolling Stones-esque sort of blues. “Quit On You” continues the rocking blues with harp, guitar and a midtempo groove. “Shakedown” gets going a little faster and has more forward guitar work and it has a nice groove going for it. “Tumbleweed” follows, a slower cut with the first bigger guitar solo.

“Mad At You” gets put to recording after it’s initial creation at the Ann Arbor Blues Fest 50-odd years prior.  Influences of Howling Wolf are evident in the approach. Harp solo, guitar licks and howling, growling vocals are featured here. “Justice” follows that with a story to tell, steady beat and a plenty of guitar licks. “Iou” takes a bit of a turn to surf guitar sounds and some slide work. “Crooked Mile” is a another slower tempo-ed piece with solid guitar and a deep groove. The album concludes with “Overload” where the trio stays a bit down tempo and gives us another cut stylistically similar to the rest. A big bass line, some decent guitar licks and a wrap up with some deep growls added for effect.

The DBS takes a different approach than most blues societies in that it’s all about promoting the member bands. It’s an interesting approach. With this new record label they have the opportunity to further that effort by producing albums for their members.  We will have to wait and see how that all works out. This first effort is a solid blues rock album with all original music. The lead vocals often get delivered in a Mick Jagger sort of style, with lots of attitude and a defiant, nasal tone. It’s certainly interesting stuff!

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