Larry Wimmer – Leavin’ Prophetstown | Album Review

larrywimmercdLarry Wimmer – Leavin’ Prophetstown

Self-Release – 2015

8 tracks; 41 minutes 

Larry Wimmer really does himself no favours with a PR leaflet that describes him as ‘a journeyman of the R&B and blues scene in the Midwest’!  Actually as Larry wrote, sang and produced everything we hear on this (his third) album as well as playing drums and guitar, he is more “renaissance man” than’ journeyman’!  Recorded at several sessions in his native Wisconsin, Nashville and LA, the album is an enjoyable listen with strong songs and solid playing.  Larry is joined by a large cast of musicians: Michael Sinclair, Jim Brock, John Kalkman, Erik Scott and Leland Sklar play bass; drums are mostly Larry himself though Keelan James plays on two tracks; lead guitar duties are handled by Tom Britt, Alex Gowland, Rex Carroll and Mark Rogers; keys are by Nathan Kaddatz, Lemel Lewis and Tim McDonald; Christelle Berthon adds harp and Khalid Jernigan sax to one track each and a choir of Etta Britt, Lala Deaton and Leah Stilson add backing vocals to one cut.

Opening track “What’s The Matter” swings along with horn parts played by keyboardist Nathan, slide from Tom and the chorus of backing singers.  Larry’s voice is ideally suited to this sort of soulful material and he carries the song very well, the full band production giving quite an epic feel.  The title track takes a leaf out of the Springsteen book with a song about getting away from a small town and if Prophetstown IL is the subject of the song it would certainly qualify with a population of just 2000.  Larry has paid his bills and is heading for the Greyhound station: “Gotta be gone, gotta be strong, ‘cos I don’t belong”.  “Hands Of Time” has a soulful vibe with Khalid’s ethereal soprano sax and Leland Sklar’s bass lines, Larry’s vocal here sounding like Robert Cray to these ears.  A chunky guitar and piano riff underpins a gently funky approach to “Nowhere In Particular”, Larry more than content to hang out with present company.

Infidelity is the subject matter of the funky blues “Just Like A Woman before Larry drops the pace for the gentle love song “Everything I Need”, the longest track and a fine showcase for his voice: “She’s a part of me; some people say if you cut her they believe I would bleed”.  “Real Love”, one of the two tracks on which Larry hands over the drum stool to Keelan, gives Larry the opportunity to play some tasty guitar over Nathan’s piano work in another gently funky tune.  The final track is “How Long”, a rolling blues with French harp player Christelle Berthon showing her paces.

Overall this is a very enjoyable album that shows that Larry is a talented guy who, in this reviewer’s opinion, deserves wider attention.

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