The Axxmann & Friends – No Fancy Cover | Album Review

The Axxmann & Friends – No Fancy Cover

self release

10 songs time-41:31

Actually there is no cover at all for Matt “The Axxmann” MacDermaid’s latest CD. Seeing as the CD case photo supposedly shows The Axxmann trekking through the snowy woods of his home state of Michigan, perhaps his moniker refers to him maybe being a lumberjack as the guitar playing here is mostly unstructured shredding or wah-wah meanderings with only an occasional arranged solo. It isn’t specified if he sings any of the songs, as there are seven other vocalists listed without specifying who sings on which track. The nine band written originals are for the most part pretty tame featuring soul less vocals, except in the case of the three songs that feature female vocalists. In a few they sing about the blues, but there isn’t much in the way of blues songs here per se, save one cover and two originals.

A nice boogie beat infuses “The Renegade”, a modern day outlaw song featuring soulful organ by Robert John Manzitti. Otherwise the delivery doesn’t ring true. “If I can’t sing the blues in heaven, there ain’t no place for me” is a line in “Ain’t No Blues In Heaven”. No place for you, because you don’t even sing them here in this song. Although Bob Tarinelli contributes some great blues harp, it’s a song about the blues, not a blues song. So far no lead guitar to speak of. On the tribute to the late Irish blues-rock guitar icon Gary Moore “No Moore Blues” we finally get some guitar soloing, mostly of the shredding variety. The female vocal is very soulful along with more great organ playing.

The first blues song is a cover of Jesse Mae Robison’s “Sneakin’ Around” that features some good blues guitar. “My Baby’s Town” is a heavy blues song. Back to twiddling, shredding, directionless wah-wah and string bending on “Life’s Not What You Make Of It”. Some nice soaring guitar riffing lifts the plaintive female vocal on the strong effort of “The Storm”. Well ok, I guess “The Wolf Barks At the Moon” qualifies as a blues. Wish there was more in the way of good blues guitar elsewhere, as there is in this song and a few others. The gruff male vocal on this one is effective.

Good guitar playing on a handful of songs here doesn’t justify “The Axxmann” title, but his heart is in the right place and this CD surely has some good moments. The three songs featuring vocals by the ladies are well worth your time. Less hokey lyrics and more in the way of better arranged guitar solos would be welcome the next time around.

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