CD: 13 Songs, 46:19 Minutes
Styles: Roots, Contemporary Electric Blues and Blues Rock, All Original Songs
The New Year is a time for resolutions: promising to become healthier, wiser, more successful, and all-around better than you were before. It’s time to live your Best Life, which is also the title of the sophomore album from Canada’s Shake n’ Cor & the Bonetones. It features all the hallmarks of contemporary electric blues and blues rock: familiar rhythms, perennial subjects, repeated refrains, and often-heard instrumentation. Purists won’t find much to complain about here, at least in terms of too much genre mixing. Shake n’ Cor keep it real, without any slick tricks on sound and vocal editing. Best Life is a self-produced venture, backed by guts of steel and wills of iron from all the featured musicians. Another piece of good news is that all thirteen tracks are original, bold in and of themselves.
Their website reveals, “Shake n’ Cor is a roots-blues husband/wife duo consisting of singer- songwriter/percussionist Corry Suter, and Shakey Reay Suter on harmonica, keyboards and vocals. Shake n’ Cor was formed in 2011, after 7 years of performing and recording in their original alt-folk-jazz-blues group Little Blue Planet, with guitarist and co-producer Blue Ray Luxemburg – with whom they still maintain a close friendship and musical relationship. Shake n’ Cor and the Bonetones’ music is blues-roots music with jazz-gospel-sometimes rockin’ overtones. Corry Suter is originally from Holland and has been a productive singer/songwriter for over 20 years, and an amazing visual artist for longer than that. The harmonica playing of Shakey Reay Suter has enhanced the airwaves, stereos, and stages of Canada and the United States for over thirty years. He spent most of the 80’s on the road out of Winnipeg in blues, country, country rock, and folk acts, playing in clubs and festivals across Canada.”
Performing along with Shake n’ Cor are the Bonetones: Dave Webb on piano; Keith “Poppy” Picot on acoustic bass; Sandy “Sandybone” Smith on drums, electric rhythm guitar, and A.C. guitar; and Dave “Double D” Dykhuisen on guitar.
The following song, an instrumental, is the best display of the band’s talent.
Track 09: “Shine It Up” – Characterized as “instrumental blues” in the band’s promotional materials, nifty number nine also has more than a touch of smooth jazz. Dave Webb’s piano is crystal-clear, perfectly paired with Shakey Reay’s harmonica. It’s primarily a mood piece, laid-back and slightly melancholy. It may not be beer-chugging blues, but pour your favorite glass of vino as you kick back and let this one soothe your ears.
Make no mistake: Shake n’ Cor are trying hard to make a name for themselves, and their effort shows. However, listeners might want a bit more meat on this band’s bare-bones blues than Best Life has to offer.