The Jimmys – Live From Transylvania at Sighisoara Blues Festival | Album Review

thejimmyscdThe Jimmys – Live From Transylvania at Sighisoara Blues Festival

Brown Cow Productions

10 songs – 54 minutes

The Jimmys are a Wisconsin-based, horn-driven blues band. Their new album, Live From Transylvania at Sighisoara Blues Festival, was recorded on March 28, 2015 at the aforementioned Blues Festival in Romania and is a tremendous record of a barnstorming live performance, recorded with warmth and clarity.

Led by keyboardist and vocalist, Jimmy Voegeli, The Jimmys also feature Perry Weber on guitar and vocals, Mauro Magellan on drums, John Wartenweiler on bass and the horn section of Darren Sterud (trombone/vocals), Charley Wagner (trumpet) and Pete Ross (saxophone).

Interestingly, when he’s not performing, Voegeli helps out on the family’s fifth generation dairy farm. They till 1,500 acres of crop land, milk over 200 Brown Swiss dairy cows and export embryos, bull semen, and live animals all over the world. And, when he is performing, he leads a kick-ass blues band.

The Jimmys clearly have the crowd eating out of their hand from the opening track, “Jacqui Juice”, where the band eases into the set with a mid-paced instrumental shuffle, with the guitar, piano and horns trading solos around the horn-driven head. The horns of Sterud, Wagner and Ross also lie at the heart of the second song, “I Wonder”, with their stabbing contributions, but the rhythm section of Magellan and Wartenweiler is indispensable to the swinging irresistibility of the track.

The band plays with a confidence that reflects the years of experience of its members, allied to an attitude and enthusiasm that demands a positive reaction from the audience.

Being a live album, the majority of the tracks are upbeat and a perfect background to a night of dancing, from the old time rock’n’roll of “Can’t Hurt Me Anymore” to the 60s-soul-meets-“Livin’-La-Vida-Loca” groove of “Lose That Woman”. There are also however some delightful quieter moments, such as the slow blues of “Lonesome Whistle Blues”, which features a lovely BB King-esque opening solo from Weber and Voegeli channelling the great Albert Collins in his vocal delivery. The trombone solo from Sterud on this track is one of the highlights of the album. There is even some pop in “Hell Or Heaven” to keep the audience on its toes. Throughout the album, solos are swapped freely between Voegeli, Weber, Sterud, Wagner and Ross.

Live From Transylvania features six tracks written or co-written by Voegeli and Weber that have featured on previous studio releases by The Jimmys, together with four covers: Jim Liban’s “Can’t Hurt Me Anymore”; Mack Rice’s “Cold Women” (which features some great vocal harmonies as well as a demonstration of the art of space and dynamics); Rudy Toombs, Alan Moore and Elson Teat’s “Lonesome Whistle Blues”; and The Band’s “Ophelia”. Every track features some top drawer playing from the band and at times, such as on “Can’t Hurt Me Anymore”, you just don’t want the song to end as the musicians drive each other from rousing chorus to rousing chorus.

The album is dedicated to the memory of the late, great Candye Kane and is in many ways a fitting tribute to the much-missed Superhero and Toughest Girl Alive, given that it is stuffed full of great music played with attitude, a large smile and a joyously positive approach to performing.

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