You don't hear it much anymore but there was a popular catchphrase back in the '60s: "ass, gas or grass, nobody rides for free." Initially directed at hitchhikers, the saying eventually took on a wider meaning, but here there's little doubt as to which option is hoped for in "Ass, Gas or Grass," a swaggering blues rocker. The tune is one of five on this introductory EP from the band consisting of singer/guitarist Bo and the rhythm section of bassist Brian James and drummer J.J. Garcia. Also included are the Dickey Betts-like instrumental "Sea Song," the Dave Matthews-leaning "Walkin' in the Park" and another guitar-showcasing instrumental, the swingin' "Chillin'." Best of all is "Out on the Streets," a solid blues rocker that will sit well with Stevie Ray Vaughan fans.
Me, Myself & I
As the album title hints at, this is a solo record in the true sense as James plays all the instruments and handles all vocals. The record starts with the delicately-picked instrumental "292 Nashua St." but James has an excellent bluesman's voice and quickly puts it to work on the John Lee Hooker-style boogie of "Blues, Blues, Blues" where he accompanies himself on both acoustic and electric guitars. "Long Black Road" is Muddy Waters-style Delta blues and a stand-out cut. Other highlights include the '70s-style acoustic protest song "Waiter There's a Bomb in My Soup," where James recalls Richie Havens, and a surprisingly inventive cover of "Kumbaya."
Singer/guitarist King is a Dublin, Ireland-based musician and here he offers up a rockin' good time with songs like the Dave Edmunds-like "Keep on Running," a Steve Miller-recalling piano blues called "Drunk for You" and the rhythmic Delta blues of "House Devil Street Angel" where the mood is enhanced by wicked harpoon playing. "Live in a Daydream" is a more subdued country blues but "Juke Joint" plays out to a shuffling beat; if you've gotta walk to the roadhouse here's the one to do it to. Lots of highlights to be enjoyed but many will hail the rockabilly blues of "Down in Flames" as the album's best cut.
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