11 songs – 50 minutes
Peter V Blues Train picks up where they left off earlier in the year, pulling out of the station with a back beat to deliver another tasty blend of modern blues, jazz and funk with Running Out Of Time, the third release in their catalog since their debut at the International Blues Challenge a few years ago.
Already tabbed to represent the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation as its representative to compete in the best self-produced CD category at next year’s IBCs, the band features Peter Veteska on guitar and vocals backed by several of the finest musicians in the New York metropolitan area.
The four-piece unit includes Aron Louis Gornish on keyboards and a rhythm section composed of Alex D’Agnese on drums and Sean Graverson on bass. They’re aided by a pair of music heavyweights: Jeff Levine, the keyboard player who led Joe Cocker’s band and worked with Hall & Oates and The Chambers Brothers, and sax player Danny Walsh, who’s worked with Gregg Allman, Aerosmith and several jazz superstars. They’re augmented by Tom Adams (piano), Coo Moe Jhee (bass), Eddie Jackson (congas and vocals), Gary Neuwirth (harmonica) and Kelley Dewkett (vocals) for one cut each.
Dedicated to the memory of the late Michael Packer, founder of the regional Blues Hall Of Fame network and an early booster, this album was captured at Joseph DeMaio’s Shore Fire Recording Studio in Long Branch, N.J., and features seven originals and four carefully reconstructed covers.
Levine and Walsh provide the brief intro to “Stay On Track,” a funky tune that puts a new spin about the need to stay on track despite all of the roadblocks that crop up in your path. Instead of two steps forward and one step back, this one finds Veteska’s strong, crisp vocals delivering lyrics that have you taking three forward and four back — but never losing sight of his goal.
A cover of Richard Ray Farrell’s “Cherry On The Cream” swings from the jump as it sings praises of a lady who always knows how to treat the singer right before the music takes a turn toward jazz with the horn-driven “Buzzed Busted & Blue.” It quickly evolves into a slow blues that deals with the aftermath of a woman taking her own train and leaving him behind.
Peter and the boys leaves Levine at the station for the remainder of the disc, but continue to pick up speed. First up, Big Maceo Merriweather’s 1941 classic, “Worried Life Blues,” gets a contemporary slow-blues treatment. Then the searing original blues-rocker “Running Out Of Time” delivers a complaint about a former lover who now only pisses the singer off. Veteska’s burning guitar work drives the anger home.
The band gets jazzy, funky and instrumental with Peter and Danny exchanging solos as the mood changes dramatically for “Time To Collect” before a steady-walking, modern take on Doc Pomus’ familiar “Youngblood,” a 1957 hit for The Coasters co-written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. Then the mood turns jazzy and acoustic for “Time For Me To Go,” the realization that it’s time to pack up and move on because the relationship is over.
Another slow-blues burner, “Freedom,” features Veteska on the fretboard and serves as a follow-up to the tune that comes before as it questions the value of finally being free to miss a lady he still has feelings for. Dewket sweetly handles the vocals and Neuwirth makes his sole appearance for a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Me Like A Man” before “Lay Down My Friend,” a tip of the hat to Packer, brings the album to a close, aided by Jackson, a longtime member of Michael’s band.
Available in select record stores in the New York metropolitan area or direct from the artist’s website (address above) Running Out Of Time may be a little difficult to obtain, but it’s worth the effort if your tastes run to contemporary big-city blues.