Scott Weis Band – Simmer Me Down
Pennsylvania Blues Hall of Famer Scott Weis celebrates 15 years of music with his sixth CD as he and his band have a rocking good time. These guys are a bad ass rock trio and have gotten props for their work by ZZ Top and Tinsley Ellis, to drop a couple of familiar names.
The trio of Weis (guitar, lead vocals and harp), Robert Kopee (bass and backing vocals) and Roger Vos (drums and backing vocals) make up the Scott Weiss Band. Cindy Mizelle on backing vocals also does a stellar job. John Ginty and Phil Silverburg share the keyboard work. Bashivi Johnson adds some nice percussive efforts to the mix, too. Weis penned 8 of the songs here and offers up a pair of cool covers. This was recorded at Showplace Recording Studio by the engineer Ben Elliot who passed recently at age 67. In addition to working with Weis and Ginty, Elliot also has worked with Warren Haynes, Leslie West, Luther Vandross, Ben E. King, Slash, and many others.
The haunting and spiritual beginning of “Pride and Soul” opens song and the CD. Weis and his backing vocalists sing, “I know that you can take my pride but you can’t take my soul” in this big blues rocking cut with a driving beat. Weis delivers some big slide guitar and a massive solo. The pace slows down for “All Over Again,” a thoughtful rocking cut with another big guitar solo. Next is the title track, a bouncing and rollicking cut with some nice piano added and Weis blowing some harp for us, too. He growls out the lead vocals and the song is a fun ride. “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” is a classic soul ballad and Weis give sit his own spin with emotive vocals and more well done backing vocals to help out. The organ adds sweetly to the mix and Weis offers a restrained and equally emotional solo on his guitar. UP next is “Helpless,” a cut with stinging guitar work, organ and another big solo on Weis’ ax.
“Jesus Just Left Chicago” is the other cover on the album, a ZZ Top cut that Weis pays homage to well. The pace picks up with “Right Where It Belongs,” a driving rocker with a big sound and a big solo on the guitar. “The Way I Do” is a ballad and a change of pace for the listener. Some soaring guitar work supports the cut well. The funk comes out for “Saved,” where we get a couple of guitar solos to listen to; with the second Weis takes us home. The CD concludes with “Transcendence,” an instrumental cut that blends raga, rock and some blues into a guitar anthem that showcases Weis’ ax work. The piece ranges from thoughtful and ethereal to driving and upbeat.
This is an album blues rock fans will enjoy. Weis rocks out and delivers high energy performances on each cut. He, the band and backing musicians all do a fine job here, so hold on to your hats and enjoy the wild ride!