Steve Strongman – Tired of Talkin’
CD: 12 Songs, 43 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock
What do meat and potatoes, chili, and fried chicken have in common? They’re comfort foods, especially for this chilly season. On his new album, Tired of Talkin’, Canada’s JUNO Award-winning Steve Strongman serves twelve “comfort blues rock” dishes. One will savor contemporary flavors of this subgenre without encountering anything too exotic. No Hendrix-style riffs or ten-minute solos, just hearty music that’s quite filling for its 43-minute running time. On eleven originals and one cover (“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, Willie Mitchell and Al Jackson, Jr.), Strongman and company provide robust vocals and instrumentation.
This is Steve’s seventh studio recording, augmenting a clearly-impressive resume. It includes opening for such blues icons as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter. The performer’s breakthrough 2012 release A Natural Fact was hailed as a standout, earning Maple Blues Awards for Recording, Songwriter, and Guitarist Of The Year as well as a 2013 Juno Award for Blues Recording Of The Year. In 2014, he was thrice-nominated at the Maple Blues Awards (Guitar Player, Electric Act, and Entertainer of the Year) and in 2015 received a second Juno nod for Blues Album of the Year (for Let Me Prove It To You). In 2018, No Time Like Now, was a Juno award nominee for Blues Album of the Year. In 2019, Strongman won Best Guitarist for the Solo Duo Category at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.
Performing with Strongman (vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, dobro and harmonica) are Dave King on drums and backing vocals; Colin Lapsley on bass and backing vocals; Jesse O’Brien on piano; Pat Sansone on keyboards, piano, and acoustic guitar tracks; Audley Freed on electric guitar; James Haggerty on bass, and Ella and Scarlett Strongman on additional backing vox.
The album’s title track is appetizer and main course, featuring powerful piano from Jesse O’Brien and an infectious groove. “Paid My Dues” is a lowdown, throw-down rocker perfect for a night drive down the highway. After that comes “Still Crazy About You,” the first of several love songs. Check out Steve’s melodic dobro, as beautiful as the harmonies on the refrain. “Just Ain’t Right” lies on the other end of the spectrum, showing what happens when misconceptions and rumors lead to arguments in a relationship: “I don’t know what you heard; everything you said was wrong. Now I’m stuck in here feeling like I don’t belong. Baby, what you see isn’t always what you get. I can talk at you, but you haven’t heard me yet.”
Volume alert: “Can’t Have It All” explodes into one’s ears after the funky groove of the fourth song, It’s only two minutes and fifty-four seconds, so hit the dancefloor while you can. This is what a rocking boogie should be, full of vim and vigor, never letting up even for a second. The next two songs are modern yet traditional, with “Living the Dream” pepping one up after the mid-tempo “Tell Me Like It Is.” “That Kind of Fight” drags a bit, but don’t worry: “Hard Place and a Rock” raises the energy level once more. Stomp and clap along to this one.
A word on “Highwayman”: This standout features fantastic work from Pat Sansone and lyrics that deliver a sucker punch: “Well, they’re killing each other right down my street. There’s blood on the door, blood at my feet.” It should be featured in an upcoming movie.
In the mood for blues comfort food? Tired of Talkin’ will fill your soul if not your belly!