CD: 11 Songs; 42:21 Minutes
Styles: Blues Rock, Contemporary Electric and Harmonica Blues
As the New Year dawns, what better way is there to start it off than listening to great American blues rock from – Holland? Indeed: the Veldman Brothers are back! This time, they’re Livin’ By the Day as they gain fame throughout their native Netherlands and around the world. This reviewer first critiqued them three years ago, on their debut album Spreadin’ Around. Since then, they have only improved, increasing the stupendous energy of their performances. According to their website, they earned the 2011 title of “Best Band” from the Dutch Blues Foundation. Since they’re heavily influenced by masters like the Vaughan Brothers and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, purists might think they sound like far more of a rock band than a blues band. Nevertheless, they’re like the perfect New Year’s Eve party: wild and uninhibited.
The Veldman Brothers are Gerrit on all guitars and vocals, and Bennie on organ, Rhodes, piano, harmonica and backing vocals. They’re joined by bassist Donald Van Der Goes and drummer Marco Overkamp. All eleven songs on this album are originals written by Gerrit, except “Real Deal”, with music by Bennie and lyrics by his slide guitar-slinging sibling. The following three are prime examples of their postmodern style. They may not copy the legends of old note-for-note, but that’s a good thing.
Track 01: “Frenzy” – This opening instrumental sounds the most like a Stevie Ray Vaughan number, especially its peppy guitar intro and background organ by Bennie. Considering the title, one might expect the tempo of this song to be frenetic, but it’s not. It’s extremely danceable and conducive to playing air guitar along with Gerrit’s feisty licks.
Track 02: “I Want You” – If there were a class in school entitled ‘Blues 101’, the second selection would be one of its first lessons. It has all the features of a traditional blues song: a classic rhythm, repeated lyrics, and incendiary solos of all its main instruments except drums: harmonica, organ, and guitar complete with wailing wah-wah pedal. It also has one of the most perennial messages of this genre’s favorite subject: “I can’t share you; I can’t share you with another man.”
Track 05: “Livin’ By The Day” – Featuring melancholy acoustic slide guitar, the title track is a poignant tribute to the Veldman Brothers’ father: “He worked hard all his life, had a job from nine to five. He took care of kids and wife. What more can you expect from a man?” However, “some changes came along”, and his life began to fade. One of the purposes of the blues is catharsis – the release of strong (and often unpleasant) emotions. To those who are losing a loved one and are doing what the title says, this song offers hope and empathy.
We will all be Livin’ By The Day in 2015, so Happy New Year from Rainey Wetnight!