A Scrumptious Blues and Soul Gumbo With a Side Order of Country Too.
Do you ever hear an artist or band’s name and can’t remember why you know it; but you just know you like their work? Well; it happens ever so often at RMHQ (possibly because I’m getting old!) and such is the case with Jeffrey Gaines. I don’t appear to own a single track of his and two phone calls later I’m 99% sure I’ve never seen him play live either so this is all new to me (or is it?).
Anyway; the lovely artwork on the CD cover instantly caught my attention; and as I’ve said before would have made me pick it out of the rack in a Record Shop; which is usually a good sign; and in this case Track #1 the mellow magic of Feel Alright bares my ‘gut feelings’ out again. Gaines has a pleasing crossover vocal manner, blending Sweet, Sweet Soul with a Bluesy rasp around the edges; and how cool is his guitar playing and the band behind him?
This is immediately followed by the rakishly romantic love song Firefly Hollow, which conjures up images of young love on a Saturday night somewhere warm and sultry in a small town somewhere in the Southern states of the USA.
With that mood in mind; let’s jump forward a couple of tracks to the uptempo and feisty Promise of Passion…..Oooohhheeee…..imagine what might have happened if Bruce had recorded a follow up to The River in a stifling Memphis studio and this could have been the lead track. Seriously; it is THAT GOOD!
Gaines takes us on a real switchback of emotions with gorgeous ballads like Bjorn Toulouse and the heart shredding No Longer which is perfect for late night radio play.
But the guy can Rock too; albeit in a tightly wrapped and usually intense manner (this is the Blues after all). Sparks must have come off his guitar during the recording of Frowned Upon and later on Thick and Thin that River period Bruce springs to mind again, as the song has a cool melody and a hook to die for; plus even more sparky and sparkling electric guitar interplay.
Selecting a ‘favourite track’ isn’t always easy; especially in these days when bands no longer need a single for radio play; but Children’s Games which closes the album is far too good a song to be left hidden on a record. A moody, slow and deeply personal love song all rolled into one; what’s not to like?
Oh for the days when I had my radio show; as this album would easily be the backbone to several shows in the next couple of months.
Only three plays in and I’m already in love with Jeffrey Gaines soulful strut; and can’t imagine why it’s taken him 15 years since his last release to come up with this delicious gumbo of Blues and Soul with a side order of Country too.
Released January 26th 2018