Dudley Taft – Cosmic Radio
Big Woody Music/BMI
CD: 12 Songs, 55 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Hard Rock, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock
When it comes to parties, there are three high-water marks: Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, with the last one being the highest. On the last day of the year, you party the drunkest, the hardest, and the loudest. Enter Midwesterner Dudley Taft, whose new album Cosmic Radio would have made perfect background music for the long-awaited exodus of 2020. Blues fans beware: this is NOT a blues album, although it features a hard-hitting rock ballad called “End of the Blues.” Taft is a guitar beast, and he’s not afraid to growl. That said, his lyrics are on the reductive side, and it’s hard to decipher them over the volume – high even when it’s nearly all the way down. Who needs drugs and alcohol in their veins when they have Dudley’s scorching riffs in their ears?
Dudley’s career began in high school, when he founded the band Space Antelope with friend Trey Anastasio (of Phish). In the 1990s, he joined Seattle band Sweet Water, touring the states with Monster Magnet, Candlebox and Alice in Chains. After recording two albums for Atlantic, he left the band to join Second Coming. More touring followed with an album on Capitol Records and a taste of success thanks to the single “Vintage Eyes,” which made it to #10 on the Rock Radio charts. In 2006, Taft started playing blues rock in Seattle, and has released six studio albums and one live record: Left for Dead in 2010, Deep Deep Blue in 2012, Screaming In The Wind in 2014, Skin and Bones in 2015, Live In Europe in 2016, Summer Rain in 2017 and Simple Life in 2019. Reese Wynans, of Stevie Ray Vaughan fame, has played on three of these studio albums. Dudley has had four #1 songs on the Hit Tracks Top 100 charts, a #2 Blues Rock single (“Give Me A Song”), and Simple Life made it to #9 on the US Blues Rock Album charts.
Joining Mr. Taft (vocals, guitars, and piano) are Kasey Williams and John Kessler on bass, Walfredo Reyes Jr. and Jason Patterson on drums and percussion, and Charmae on lead and backing vocals.
The title track has good harmony and explosive energy. Note to extraterrestrials: if you can’t hear this one on your home planet, your tympanic membranes need a tune-up. Next come “Left in the Dust” and “The Devil,” two notable tracks that’ll give you chills if you’re in the mood. “One in a Billion” runs over eight minutes long, a Hendrix-style experience that lives up to its namesake in intensity and style.
Dudley Taft’s musical manner is three-pronged: play hard, play loud, and play until your fingers bleed!