The Dig 3 – The Dig 3 | Album Review

The Dig 3 – The Dig 3

Self-Release – 2022

14 tracks; 53 minutes

The Dig 3 started out as a way to get together and play some music during the pandemic lockdown, three good friends enjoying each others’ company, but, inevitably, given the quality of the musicians involved, it all developed into this project. The musicians in question are guitarist Andrew Duncanson of the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, multi-instrumentalist Gerry Hundt who played with Nick Moss and Corey Dennison (and also does a one-man blues show) and Ronnie Shellist, a fine harmonica player and teacher. Andrew wrote all the lyrics (with help on one track) and the music is credited to all three guys. Gerry’s self-confessed ‘rowdy’ one-man band provides foot drums, percussion and various other instruments, bass, guitar, mandolin and harp; Andrew is on guitar and his excellent vocals stand out, while Ronnie weaves his harmonica patterns round everything. The overall effect is an uplifting set of blues with a few soul and country influences, a thoroughly entertaining set of rough and ready traditional blues, a long way from the blues-rock that so dominates much of what comes out as ‘blues’ these days.

Recorded in a single day (with no overdubs), 23 February 2021, in Tolono, IL, the music barrels along with all three men equally sharing the spotlight. “You’re The One” has a chugging rhythm that recalls Muddy as Gerry plays some basic harp with the rhythm while Ronnie takes the lead, Andrew paying tribute to the love of his life, a solid opener. Rumbling guitar and a choppy rhythm underpin a song about alcohol, “Every Drop”, before “Christmas Coming”, an upbeat tune with great vocals as Andrew shows us the more soulful side of his style, an early highlight. We return to Chicago on “Double Cross”, Ronnie wailing superbly, before a country blues feel arrives in the shape of “One Left, One Right”, the directions that Andrew needs to “be in my baby’s arms”. “Don’t Slip” is another ‘rowdy’ tune with Ronnie playing some deep-toned harp over Andrew’s urgent guitar work as he expresses concern for someone who has clearly overindulged and is “holding up that wall”.

“Rock That Boat” is a catchy tune with a co-writing credit for Chicago drummer Andrew ‘Blaze’ Thomas, Andrew’s guitar featured and Gerry giving his cymbal a good workout. We then head back to the country for the amusing “Chicken Kiss”, complete with train sounds from Ronnie and an overwhelming desire from the listener to shout “Yee-Haw”! “Southern Fantasy” has an appropriately uptempo rhythm as Andrew tells tales of Tennessee, Arkansas and New Orleans, rhythm and lead guitar behind Ronnie’s impressive harp leads, another winner. “Reposado Rock” is a thumping instrumental in Chicago style, great harp again, and “Run & Hide” completes the recording session with a fun romp with lively percussion effects and
driving harp, Andrew in thrall to a woman who is attractive…but dangerous; “Run and hide, or stay and play; what’s bad for tomorrow might be good for today”!

However, The Dig 3 is not finished yet, as a further session on October 5 in Chicago yielded three more cuts. The album credits do not say so, but Ronnie appears to be absent from these tracks, however, the addition of bassist Rodrigo Mantovani (Nick Moss Band) is certainly evident on the fast-paced “Love Me Some Of You”, the additional bottom end freeing more solo space for Andrew, who then gives us some Elmore James slide on “Tell Me The Place”. The final track is a stripped-back country blues with Gerry on mandolin (and foot drums, of course) in which Andrew tells us all about life “In My Kitchen”; it sounds a great place too, with all manner of fine food and the likes of Bobby Bland on the stereo!

A good album that is easy to recommend to true lovers of the blues.

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