Ellen Whyte and her Reflex Blue are back with another innovative and diverse approach to the blues with their latest offering, Standing At The Sunrise.
Two-time Grammy Award nominees and Cascade Blues Associations - Muddy Awards (in 1998 and 2001) Best Contemporary Blues Band recipients have been praised by critics and captivating audiences since the maiden release of Different Point of Blue. With the gutsy and raw, yet sensitive and supple, vocals of Ellen (dubbed The Neon Blonde of Blues) and the rock-solid sound of Reflex Blue, this is no surprise.
Produced by Grammy Award winning, Dennis Walker (who has produced such other notable blues stars including Robert Cray and B.B. King), Standing At The Sunrise is an eclectic compilation ranging in styles from straight ahead blues to elements of jazz, funk and soul.
The opening track, I NEVER KNEW, is an all around good-time shuffle featuring fat horn fills, clean and mean guitar riffs, and a mammoth Hammond solo.
Flexing her creative muscle, the title track has a Zydeco inspired rhythm with a Louisiana style piano while Whyte lets loose on her accordion.
The sweet and soulful ballad I FOUND MYSELF IN YOU, highlights the harmonic range that Ellen Whyte is capable of as she exorcises her mellifluous voice.
While this CD ventures into other genres, it always comes back to the blues as on the instrumental shuffle BLOWOUT ON "A" STREET which elicits unyielding solo's from guitarist Gary Meziere and Alex Shakeri on harp.
The Oregon based Ellen Whyte is again attracting regional as well as national attention with her very distinctive sound. Standing At The Sunrise is unapologetically unique in its approach, individual in its execution and is an all around pleasurable experience.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tony Engelhart, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.