Keep it Coming
by Tony Engelhart
Review date: May 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
As a side project for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's guitarist Judah Bauer and his brother Donovan, 20 Miles is more blues influenced then Jon Spencer. However, this is no traditional blues group. The brother's draw from the late 60's early 70's Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart's Faces, as well as R.L. Burnside and the Grateful Dead. With a jam band foundation, 20 Miles could be compared to such contemporary bands as Phish or Blues Traveler. The bands first studio effort, 1998's I'm A Lucky Guy, garnered great reviews and was a regular spinner on college radio. Their sophomore release, Keep It Coming, maintains a gritty and unpolished sound but the songs are more complete and the arrangements are tighter. While the group is labeled as a duo, they bring in guest musicians for inspiration including brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars.
20 Miles passion for 70's jam rock is apparent from the first track to the finale. Borrowing the awkward rhythm from the Stones "Sympathy For The Devil", "Silver String" has an overtly political message in contrast to the 'feel good' mood of the rest of cd. The band flirts with some down home country pickin' on "Fix the Fences" while "Beautiful Dream" has an early Aerosmith-Mama Kin feel to it. Co-written with the Dickinson brothers, "Like A Rock" is a soft acoustic/electric instrumental which blends country and blues.
The appeal of 20 Miles is their ability to take rudimental elements from each genre and create a positive vibe. Just as legends such as Elmore James and Hank Williams, this group's main objective is to have a good time with their music. Sometimes simplicity works and it definitely works on Keep It Coming.
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