Tim Bastmeyer’s All Star Blues Band
Self-Release – 2017
9 tracks; 33 minutes
Tim Bastmeyer is a Canadian guitarist and vocalist and this is his fourth release, recorded in Ontario with several well-known players: Julian Fauth is on piano, Paul Reddick on harp, Sean Pinchin on slide guitar, James Thomson on upright bass and Cam De Latt on drums. All the material is original, written by Tim, Julian and James, with everyone contributing to some of the songs. Opener “What That Woman Does For Me” is laid-back country blues, Tim adopting a deep Johnny Cash style voice as he sings of his feelings for the girl, the interplay between the two guitars and piano charming and the rhythm section very supportive. “Northern Boogie Blues” describes a night out on the town with Julian’s gentle piano setting the tone for some nice down-home harp from Paul. “With You” has a blues structure with electric guitar overdubbed on top of acoustic though Tim’s voice is not the strongest and he does tend to sound a little too laid-back at times, almost speaking the lyrics rather than singing; in the later section of the song there are some interesting things going on with the bass lines and the laughter at the end suggests that the band enjoyed that also! “It’s A Shame” is rather a dirge but is redeemed by some good picking and Julian’s piano work. Things look up on “That Woman” which has Tim double-tracked on vocals on a lively tune and lyrics along the ‘seen you with another man’ theme; Paul plays some nice harp on this one.
“Love Turns To Pain” is a slow blues with slide and piano opening things up: “since she left me I’m going insane, it’s a classic story, love turns to pain”. Nothing novel here but a well-played acoustic blues piece. The sole instrumental is “Funky Ten” which blends elements of funk and jazz and provides opportunities for everyone to take a solo to good effect. Gentle slide and harp introduce the very country sounding “Tomorrow Is Another Day” though the strange multi-tracked vocal effects here left this reviewer cold. The album closes with a spoken narrative about what sounds like a disastrous gig, apparently inspired by Tom Waits; once again, the playing is good, especially Julian’s piano, but the overall effect does not encourage you to press the replay button.
Overall this short album contains some solid acoustic playing but falls short in terms of the songs and vocals.