CD: 12 Songs, 42:36 Minutes
Styles: New Orleans Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues, Ensemble Blues
If folk-rock singer Jackson Browne played contemporary blues instead, with a New Orleans flair, he might sound like electric maverick Seth Walker. “Sometimes you have to remind yourself why you started something in the first place,” he muses via his promotional info sheet. “On this stellar new album, Gotta Get Back,” it continues, “he does precisely that, excavating the roots of his love affair with music and reuniting with the family that helped spark the fire all those years ago. The record…stretches from Walker’s childhood living on a commune in North Carolina to stints in Austin, Nashville, New York, and New Orleans.”
If a beautiful woman is ‘easy on the eyes,’ Walker’s smooth, good-natured vocals are incredibly easy on the ears. He almost never mumbles when he sings, and his energy streams into one’s soul like warm sunshine on a winter day. All twelve tracks on this CD are memorable originals, with even more memorable sing-along hooks (as on “High Time” and “Turn This Thing Around”). The only downside is that those looking for traditional rhythms and lyrics won’t find any here. Seth Walker isn’t Muddy Waters, nor should he be. His blues isn’t barroom blues – nor should it be. Sometimes, especially on a long road trip, mellow is the way to go.
Along with Walker stars a brilliant musical ensemble that’s nearly the size of the chorus in Les Miserables. This CD boasts no fewer than eighteen additional musicians!
The following three “cherries” on this album will be the sweetest for traditional blues fans.
Track 01: “High Time” – Come along to the Big Easy on this opener, light and breezy. Sorry, those in Colorado: this song isn’t (necessarily) about smoking locoweed. “It’s high time we had a high time together,” Seth sings with his comrades in a harmony reminiscent of Steve Miller. “I’m out here running down the street, but I keep dreaming about you and me, and it’s fifty-nine miles to New Orleans, and I’m calling you up to say…” Every instrument on this song is flat-out perfect, from the organ to the piano to the killer electric guitar. Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Track 02: “Fire in the Belly” – This boiling blues rocker blazes at a musical temperature that would melt steel, courtesy of the smoking guitar solo in the middle and the four-alarm horn section. “Fire in the belly for your love, fire in the belly for your touch, fire in the belly for your joy, joy, joy,” Seth exults without a trace of apology. A romantic flutter in the heart may be well and good, but when it comes to passion, all of its flames burn lower down in the body…
Track 05: “Movin’ On” – Of course, when the “Fire in the Belly” dies down, sometimes it’s “so good to be gone.” With a jaunty guitar intro and refrain that will make listeners want to put on their traveling shoes, this ballad shows there’s more to goodbyes than tears and melancholy. Relish the outstanding organ in the middle as it complements the solo, harmonic and sweet.
Blues fans, make no mistake: Gotta Get Back is fan-freaking-tastic!