CD: 8 Songs, 34:22 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric and Acoustic Blues
Readers, have you ever heard of the Internet acronym “RIYL”? It stands for “Recommended If You Like.” In the case of Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Tracy K, her new album What’s the Rush? has been RIYL Bonnie Raitt, Koko Taylor, and Maria Muldaur. Ms. Wetnight did some research and looked up one song by each of these artists on YouTube, to see if these comparisons rang true. All of them did – halfway. Tracy K has Bonnie’s wit and songwriting skills, but lacks her edge. She has Koko’s energy, but doesn’t quite know how to belt her lyrics when the instrumentation takes over. She has Muldaur’s sweet vocal style, but not her former ingénue aura. Several of Tracy K’s songs are low-key and autobiographical, designed to make audiences reflect instead of rock. Make no mistake, though: the opener, “Everybody Wants” (reviewed below) is a slayer. On seven original tracks and one cover – Randy Newman’s “I’m Guilty” – she and her band pull out all the stops. This is outdoor-festival music, tailor-made for a big stage and bigger crowd.
“This project began a long time ago,” reads a quote from Tracy K on her promo info sheet, “but, really, what’s the rush? I started recording some recent originals in 2015 at Winnipeg’s award-winning Bedside Studios with Len Milne, owner, engineer, and producer. The magic began, and eventually, what had started out as a demo morphed into an EP and grew into an album. Winnipeg has a stellar artistic community, and there are some fantastic players on this album.”
Performing with Tracy, as she displays vocal and harmonica prowess, are Jason Nowicki, Tony Desmarteau, and Terry Barnett on guitar, Jamie “Snakeman” Steinhoff on dobro and acoustic guitar, Leonard “Lewsh” Shaw on keyboards and horns, Vaughan Poyser and Nenad “Keza” Zdjelar on bass, George Demeduk and Ty Rogers on drums, and Travis Haugen on organ.
The three original songs below will make blues purists get up, dance, and play air guitar.
Track 01: “Everybody Wants” – YOW! Turn the volume all the way up, but be prepared. Jason Nowicki’s guitar growls. Tracy’s harmonica howls. Demeduk’s drums detonate. Leonard Shaw’s keys and horns reverberate, and Vaughan Poysner’s bass blasts the blues away. “Everybody wants to stay out all night long, and everybody wants to hear just one more song,” Tracy exclaims. “Everybody wants to be forever young. You know, baby, how to git ‘er done!”
Track 02: “I Got the Honey” – Clocking in at a mere two minutes and twenty-nine seconds, this little ditty is short and sweet. “Come here, Papa. Come here real quick. This Delta cold’s got me mighty sick. I need to squeeze some lemon into my fruit jar. I got the honey. Now, honey, where you are?” Jamie “Snakeman” Steinhoff takes the instrumental lead on dynamite dobro, Stomp your feet and clap your hands, blues fans, because track two is perfect for doing both.
Track 04: “Heartstrung” – Fab number four is an autobiographical blues rock song, written about some of her fellow participants at a musical workshop called “Heartstrung.” “Cathy and Peter met in 1987. Ever since then, they’ve been a match made in heaven. He’s a laid-back dude, always plays it cool. Keeps the home fires burning while Cathy teaches school. Making their love in the tiny town of Harmstrong; looks like these folks is – heartstrung!”
If you’re in a hurry to hear powerhouse acoustic and electric blues, try Tracy K and her posse!