Lil’ Shaky and the Tremors – Aftershock | Album Review

Lil’ Shaky and the Tremors – Aftershock


CD: 10 Songs, 37:32 Minutes

Styles: Blues Covers, Horn Blues, Ensemble Blues, Soul-Influenced Blues

Fill in the missing word in this adage: “Familiarity breeds…” If you said “contempt,” you’re right, dear reader, but it doesn’t always engender such an antagonistic feeling. Sometimes, familiarity breeds a feeling of nostalgic security. You know you’ve heard a song, watched a show or seen a movie countless times, but always tune in to a remake. Why else would TV hits like the current Hawaii Five-O, Twin Peaks and the upcoming movie Baywatch be generating so much buzz? The same principle applies to the ten blues covers on Aftershock, from Rhode Island’s Lil’ Shaky and the Tremors. Aficionados, you know you’ve heard these tunes before, especially “Why Are People Like That” and “I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me)”. Nevertheless, these classics are like Lay’s potato chips: “Bet you can’t eat just one.” Front man Ed Wright and his multi-talented companions prove just how addicting old favorites can be. Vocally, they provide great harmony, as on the selection reviewed later. Instrumentally, they’re above-average, but don’t quite pack the wallop of other powerhouse groups. Overall, they have the down-home comfort of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the soul-based blues genre.

In a personal note that Mr. Wright enclosed with this CD, he comments: “[It] was a project I did with Chris Vachon, the leader and lead guitarist of Roomful of Blues. Chris also engineered and produced it. Chris has been nominated twice in the past for his production work by the Grammy [award board]. We’re both very proud of the results.” By all means, they should be. For some hard-line critics, the word “debut’ is synonymous with “shoddy work” and “poor effort,” but not Aftershock. It’s well-crafted enough to serve as an introduction to the blues for new listeners.

Lil’ Shaky and the Tremors are composed of Ed Wright on lead vocals, screams (LOL) and bass guitar; Chris Vachon on guitars and background vocals; Jeff Ceasrine on piano, organ and congas, and Larr Anderson on drums. Special guests include Brenda Bennett on lead and background vocals, and DD Bastos on background vocals. Also joining in are two separate ensembles: The Gospel Love Tones, featuring Walter Cooper, Steven Cooper, and Kenny Haywood; and The Naked Horns, featuring Jaime Rodrigues, Robert DeCurtis, Mark Legualt, Steve DeCurtis, and Josh Kane. Other individual performers include Mike Antunes on tenor sax; Mike Rand on harmonica; Chris Boyd on pedal steel; and Ed Vallee on slide guitar.

This album’s last track is also its best one.

Track 10: “It’s All Over Now” – Featuring a beer-warranting intro with howling harp and growling guitar, this is a song about what happens to a relationship in the wake of betrayal. “Well, my baby used to stay out all night long. She made me cry. She did me wrong. She hurt my eyes open; that’s no lie. The tables turned, and now it’s her turn to cry.” Bobby Womack, originally, and this current band couldn’t have said it any clearer. Savor Ed Vallee on magnificent slide guitar.

For blues veterans, Aftershock won’t cause much of a ripple, but it’ll make new fans’ souls shake and quake!

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