With his fourth release, Nashville-based guitar player/songwriter/singer Stacy Mitchhart steps up to a new level. Unlike his previous live CD which was loaded with covers, this one sees a return to the world of R&B and Soul featuring 8 originals from the gifted artist. As a bonus, two of them are reprised at the end of the disc with completely different mixes. In addition to the 6 regular members of his backing band, Blues-U-Can-Use, there are 9 guest musicians and 4 background vocalists. The CD has a different feel thanks in part to being co-produced with Crystal Taliefero. Mitchhart previously self produced all his CDs. He once again provides the song arrangements.
The autobiographical title track is a nonchalant number that provides plenty of insight to Mitchhart. Lyrics such as: ‘blues man down in Mississippi, I really can’t walk in his shoes’ and ‘get tired of folks saying this ain’t what blues should be’ are surrounded by fantastic backing vocals. "King Bee" is performed with a funky groove and a guitar solo that is laced with feeling. Its not your standard blistering attack which has become far too common in today’s blues. Two existing married partners become involved in a predicament known as "Caught Up In The Middle". The song is delivered with so much conviction it appears the Blues Doctor is singing from experience. This one should rate high on the Soul charts. "I Might Be Your Husband" is a nasty groove that presents a lyrical twist to the popular Have My Husband tune. On it, Steve Hardin is red hot on piano. By far, "Cadillac Assembly Line", with its piercing notes, is the heaviest blues number on the disc. However it still has that Mitchhart funky, R&B grind to it.
"Down Home Blues" is played delta style with Stacy doing a mighty fine job on acoustic guitar. It’s a real treat as he rarely plays this way and he is exceptional at it. Clapton’s pop hits of the 90s come to mind on the mellow "100 Degrees In The Shade" which features passionate BB King style playing. Mitchhart continues stroking, as BB would do to Lucille, on the signature instrumental "Keep Bluesn’" taken from the way Stacy signs his name. Throughout Mitchhart delivers solid vocals with his popish and raspy voice.
Perhaps a better title for this 70 minute, 12 track CD would be Songs For Lovers as most of the tunes are steamy and are about cheating, making up, relationships and hot romance. If you are looking for in-your-face contemporary blues or traditional 12-bar blues, you have come to the wrong place. The disc reveals a romantic side with ever- present heavy horns providing the pulse for an R&B feel.
For CDs, booking and information, contact:
DANA ROBBINS/KIDD PRODUCTIONS (615)646-5177
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, 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.
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