12 songs; 41:32 Minutes
Styles: Blues Rock, Contemporary Electric Blues, Harmonica Blues
Whom do you get when you mix the Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix? Brooklyn, New York’s Steve Krase, rhyming with “ace” – and that he is, on blues harmonica. He previously spent ten years as harp man for the Houston group Jerry Lightfoot and the Essentials. After they broke up, Steve spent a few years as sideman with Matt Leddy and the Meatcutters before forming Steve Krase and the In Crowd. In 2004 and 2005, this band was in the finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. With such a pedigree, it’s no surprise that Steve has put together some top-notch talent to perform alongside him on his debut CD. It features Krase on harmonica and vocals, guitarists James Henry and David Krase, bassists Eugene “Spare Time” Murray and Gaven Krase, Bobby Markoff and Robert Lewis “Pee Wee” Stephens on keyboards, drummers Mark Dufrene, Don Swanson and Carl Owens, Eric Demmer on saxophone, Tommie Lee Bradley on backing vocals, and pianist Randy Wall. On seven original songs and five covers, they make no apologies for their sizzling style. The three selections below are fresh compositions:
Track 02: “Put the Cokane Down” – Taking illegal drugs is never a good idea, especially when a local lawman might be watching: “Put the cokane [sic] down…You see, the sheriff is on the other side of town. I shot my wife; I shot my car! I told my friends I’m going to be a star.” Unfortunately, that’s not what happens to our narrator, and the only place where he gains any fame is in prison. David Krase wrote this song, and also provides its sly guitar intro.
Track 05: “Someday” – The title track is a slightly mellow ballad that’s definitely poignant, also written by David Krase: “My mama left me when I was just thirteen – left me in the graveyard with an old gypsy queen. Tombstone for my pillow and a gravesite for my bed; don’t cry, Mama, I will find you someday.” One would hope this tune is not autobiographical, although its highlights are Steve Krase’s howling harp and “Pee Wee” Stephens’ eerie keyboards.
Track 07: “Texistential Blues (Song for Jerry)” – This reviewer would like to nominate the title of number seven as one of the most creative of 2014. A rollicking instrumental, “Texistential Blues” most clearly shows where the influences of SRV and the Allman Brothers Band comes in. It may be short, not even three minutes, but it’s the sweetest and spiciest offering on the album.
Blues traditionalists may fault Steve Krase in three areas: a slight reliance on covers, his talk-singing vocals, and how far he leans toward the ‘rock’ side of blues rock. However, these are minor flaws compared to his major musicianship. “Someday” is an album that’s perfect for summer, either at an outdoor barbecue or on the road for vacation!