Mike Zito & The Wheel – Keep Coming Back | Album Review

mikezitocdMike Zito & The Wheel – Keep Coming Back

Ruf Records


12 tracks/51 minutes

Mike Zito remains one of the hot commodities in the blues world.  Winning a BMA aside, his star is shining high with his solo work and work with Royal Southern Brotherhood.  As always, Mike is on guitar and vocals; also featured are Jimmy Carpenter on sax and backing vocals, Lewis Stephens on keys, Scot Sutherland on bass, and Rob Lee on drums.

Zito penned  ten of the tracks here, three jointly with Anders Osborne.  His gritty and open approach to baring his soul makes his sound and act appealing and real.  The album opens with the title track where Zito sings of his personal resolve.  He blazes on slide and Carpenter’s sax is equal the task.  It’s a big, driving blues rocker that is spectacular.  Stephens piano stays with the mix and adds a nice honky-tonk effect.  “Chin Up” is also uptempo, with Zito complaining about war, poverty and Big Brother and telling us we have to do what the song title says.  “Get Busy Living” slows things up, a blues rock ballad with a message that tells us we need to get on with life and live it to its’ fullest.  “Early In The Morning” is a  song  that takes us south with a sweet, country flair. “I was Drunk” features Anders making his lone appearance on both guitar and vocals on a track that he helped write.   Both Zito and Osborne sing of the pain they inflicted on others with their addictions.  Another cut with a country sound, the acoustic guitar picking on the solo is pretty and effective. “Lonely Heart” is next, with a nice guitar solo by Zito.

“Girl From Liberty” mixes Billy Joel and Texas blues rock to sing about a girl back home.  A peppy beat and nice groove make this one quite dance-able.  The first of the two covers is Bob Seger’s “Get Out Of Denver,”a rocker in Chuck Berry style that keeps things going.  “Nothin’ But The Truth” sets you free as Zito sings; lies will take a relationship down.  Carpenter blows some great sax here.  We go to “Cross The Border” next, a mid-tempo piece that features some great guitar soloing.  Things slow down for “What’s On Your Mind,” another ballad.  This time Mike sings of a relationship gone bad.  The vocals and tenor sax both lament about the loss.  John Fogerty’s  CCR tune “Bootleg” closes the album and is the second cover.  Zito loves to break out the Fogerty/CCR stuff at shows and here he does a lesser know cut that showcase his gritty vocals.  Carpenter adds more beautiful sax soloing and Zito again shows his mettle on the guitar.

This is a nice blues rocker with a country edge.  Zito’s fans will eat it up.  Those new to Zito can get a taste of how he melds the blues into a modern mélange of rock that demonstrates his Texas roots.  This is another fantastic album by Zito!

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