Seth Rosenbloom – As the Crow Flies
9 songs, 47 minutes
New England has a Blues sound. The home of Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray Norcia and Anthony Geraci, throughout the 1970’s from the bottom of Rhode Island to the top of Maine was bristling with Blues Power. A swinging melting pot of Chicago marching, West Coast Swing, Texas shuffle and a bit of Mass-hole defiance, New England Blues rides a Blues Rock line that tips more Blues than Rock. New England also produces generation after generation of Blues musicians. Current elite Bluesmen and women Monster Mike Welch, Susan Tedeschi and Erin Harpe all learned at the feat of Robillard, Earl and company.
Waltham, MA born guitar firebrand Seth Rosenbloom is a fine ambassador for a new generation of New England Blues. Rosenbloom’s 2nd full length As the Crow Flies features a meeting of generations while presenting a view of how the Northeast sound could be moving forward. A combination of original material, co-writes with local artists and excellently chosen covers, As the Crow Flies snaps along at an unhurried pace, letting the Blues slowly work their way around the listener.
Rosenbloom assembled a murderers’ row of musicians. Top on the bill are the husband-wife team from the Boston collective Band of Killers, Sonya Rae and Ryan Taylor on background vocals and guitar respectively. Duke Robillard Band members Bruce Bears on keys and Mark Teixeira on drums offer veteran polish and flourish. Boston based bassist, and current North Mississippi All Star, Jesse Williams rounds out the rhythm section. Local singing sensation Erica Van Pelt contributes additional background vocals and Michael Rosenbloom (one can assume a relative of Seth’s) adds violin and Andra Voldins Dix adds viola. This is truly a mixing of the generational music scene that is at the core of New England Blues.
The music is also cross generational. “Gotta Roll” is a tune penned by Sonya Rae Taylor that shuffles and scrambles. The darkly riffing co-write between Ms. Taylor and Rosenbloom “Did You Try to Break My Heart” is all menace and anguish. These new tunes are put in contrast with the title track, a 1972 Tony Joe White boogie. Here played for maxim thump with Ryan Taylor slashing at Rosenbloom’s lead work with Duane Allman styled slide runs.
The stand out performance on the album that drives home its regional roots is “I Wish You Could See Me Know.” Written by Ronnie Earl and Darrell Nulisch from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters’ 1990 landmark recording Peace of Mind, “I Wish…” is a gem of Soul Blues invention from a foundational band. Rosenbloom is not the singer Nullisch is, nor is anyone a guitarist of the same caliber of Earl (except his friend Duke Robillard). What Rosenbloom does is pay homage, pay respect. By being himself and employing his crack band to breathe modern life into this 30 year old song, Rosenbloom transcends and makes the New England Blues his own.
Seth Rosenbloom has crafted a great album in As the Crow Flies. The music is performed with feeling and intention. The tempos are unhurried allowing for extra grind and swagger. There is space and dynamic creating drama for all of Rosenbloom’s solos to scorch. Seth Rosenbloom is showing he understands the lessons to be learned from his elders. He is also taking advantage of the possibility the music holds for the future.