GProject Blues Band – When I’m Gone
13 songs – 53 minutes
Based out of Munich, Germany, and composed of musicians from three continents, GProject Blues Band are a rock-steady, veteran outfit who harmonize in English as they deliver primarily Texas and Delta stylings with strong Chicago overtones.
This is the third release for the band, who’ve entertained throughout Bavaria for several years. Anchored by Munich natives Thomas “TomBo” Ott on percussion and Michael Staudenmeyer on keyboards and lead vocals, the lineup includes Australian-born Leonidas Kyriakakos on drums and James Ransom, a Cleveland native, on bass.
They get helping hands from harp player Javier Argomedo on three cuts and guitarist Dominic “The Iceman” Hinzer on another in this relaxed set of 11 originals and two covers, all delivered with a live feel.
The action opens with the stop-time shuffle, “When I’m Gone,” a request for a lady to leave a cigarette on the singer’s grave after his passing. The pace slows slightly for “Ain’t Funny At All,” the realization that the woman’s cheating with another guy when the singer’s out trying to make a living. Staudemeyer’s barrelhouse keyboard stylings are featured before Kyriakakos takes off for an extended, tasty single-note solo.
While the musicianship is professional, the dead-on cover of the Muddy Waters warhorse “(Got My) Mojo Working,” which follows, is a space waster. The song’s been done to death, and this version lacks absolutely anything new. Not to be confused with the Bob Dylan tune of the same name, the original ballad “Someday Baby” is a refreshing change-of-pace that offers up a wish that the repeated broken heart the singer’s received from a lady is paid back by someone else down the line.
“Can’t Take It With You” speaks out against poseurs who flash their possessions and cash before the blues-rocker “Hell’s Back Door” describes the singer’s future descent in lyrics that are somewhat baffling to an American ear. “Messin’ With The Kid,” another tired cover, follows before the whisper-quiet seven-minute ballad “The Old Have Moved On” urges a son to live his life to the fullest because it doesn’t last long.
“The Date” brightens the mood as it encourages a lady to see the singer’s bedroom before “My Way Home” comes across with an old-time feel as it searches for a path to return to simpler times. The uptempo dance tune “Take Care Of Me” follows before the ballad “I’m Done” offers up hope to be remembered positively for a life lived well. “Out Take” – an unfocused grouping of sound bites from the studio – bring the album to a close.
Available through iTunes and several European-based websites. I regret having to type this, but When I’m Gone is a mixed bag of a few nice tunes and solid solos dragged down by some true time wasters unfit for ears on this side of the Atlantic.