Minnesota's Steve Vonderharr has gathered a formidable amount of talent for his first CD and works solidly showing his grasp of harp grace and a voice as fresh and smooth as an autumn wind. Tackling six well-chosen covers and tossing in four well-written originals for good measure, the forty minutes of music here runs the gamut from straight-ahead, vintage-style blues to a modern outlook. Kicking off with Little Walter's "Juke," Boom Boom delivers some greasy harp over chunky rhythm guitar offered by Mic McCormick and "Cost Of Your Love" bumps along with a relaxed swing with the harp toned down and sounding sweet and tasty. While "Messin' With My Bread" is credited to John Lee Hooker, the take seems to be based on the Eddie Burns version, and this might get the vote as the sleeper on the disc; John Franken's guitar is restrained yet forceful with a retro sound as Vonderharr hands in some smoldering harmonica and vocals laced with an air of authority. Willie Dixon's "Mellow Down Easy" and Al Duncan's "It's Too Late Brother" revive the Little Walter tribute laid down on the opener and sound tough, yet the former is perhaps a bit too clean and reserved while the latter finds him singing through his harp rig for a nastier effect. Eddie Taylor's "Big Town Playboy," shows the band seeming to transport themselves back to Chicago sometime in the mid-fifties with Tom Hunter's great piano and loping rhythm delivered by John Schroder's bass and Dwight Dario's in-the-pocket drumming and Little Walter's spirit is called in for a searing "Blue Midnight" that offers the subtle and smoking feel of the original with more excellent guitar from John Franken. The remainder of the disc is more up-tempo with the originals, "My Party Song" and "Boyz Will Be Boyz," both rumbling along at good clips, while "Minor Mother" takes on a modern yet relaxed funk-influence with touches of jazz thrown in. Vonderharr's rhythmic sense shows well when he steps out front and pairing himself with one of the best unheralded drummers in Dwight Dario speaks well about his desire to match wits with others in the same field and kudos to John Franken for brilliant and biting guitar. For a first effort, 'From The Shadows' is fine, although purists will probably prefer his reading of Little Walter's catalog.
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