Whitey Somers – Down That Road
CD: 11 Songs, 44 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
The wheel: It’s smooth, it’s round, and it moves things. Why reinvent it? Sure, we’ve got steel and chrome, forged and casted, but are any of them square? How about pyramid-shaped? Nope. When dependability is what you need, you can’t go wrong with one fundamental design. Whitey Somers and his posse prove this as they go Down That Road on their latest studio release. It’s an electric-guitar extravaganza that remains as reliable as the wheel when it comes to blues. Several of the eleven original songs have quirky titles such as “Frozen Toenail Blues,” “82% Done” and “Six Months Pregnant (3000 Miles Away).” Nevertheless, their rhythms and realities remain familiar – being broke, being without a partner, and being able to “Testify” about hard times. Even though some of Somers’ vocals are rather workmanlike, they get the job done. Where he truly shines is on his shredder, brilliant on slower numbers like tracks eight and nine. His meaty riffs and gutsy grooves will get people dancing, whether live and in person or at home.
Since the tender age of sixteen, Whitey Somers has been performing internationally at festivals, concerts and clubs, on the bill with many other talented artists such as Rick Fines, Stephen Fearing, Jeff Healey, Harp Dog Brown, David Essig, David Vest and Wicked Grin. Currently, Whitey performs solo acoustic shows with the Whitey Somers Band and as a guitarist for Blue Dog Ramble. As a side man and session player, he’s most recently worked with such artists as the Jessica Benini Collective, Alexander’s Bluestime Band, Beverly McKeen, Blue Cadillac, Lazy Mike and The Screaming Gas. His video for “Down That Road” took third place in the live category of the 2018 Canadian Songwriting Competition.
Performing along with Whitey (guitars and vocals) are drummer Nick Dokter (no typo), bassists Todd Sacerty and Brian Whitty, organist Larry Blatchford, and Nico Rhodes on piano.
A note on the eighth track, “Undecided” – it’s a stunner that Gregg Allman should have been able to sing. The intro is straight out of their playbook, so much so that it sends chills down yours truly’s spine. “I’m growing tired of all your indecision. So uninspired by your lack of vision. You told me lies; you’ll get your way, but I saw your eyes don’t tell what you say.” The background vox add an eerie vibe to this breakup ballad, soaring beyond conventional horizons. If that’s not reason enough to give this song more than one listen, savor the solo in the middle.
Down That Road doesn’t venture into uncharted territory, but why reinvent the wheel? Give Whitey Somers’ latest a spin in your boombox or on your latest playlist. It’s good, solid blues!