Travis & The Flamekats
(Salt Lick Recordings (2002))
14 tracks, 46 minutes
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: March 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Travis & The Flamekats, hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska are made up of the husband and wife team of Travis and Becky Koester, on guitar and bass respectively and find
solid support from Chris Robbins' guitar, Ryan Larsen's drums, and harp from John Moss and Mike
Cooney. There's a fine cross-section of styles over the course of nine originals and a few well-placed
covers. Bo Diddley's Before You Accuse Me opens the set with Travis delivering some
chomping electric blues and for The Basset Lodge Blues, it's a stripped-down acoustic romp
with good slide. Parkins Farm actually seems to be the more familiar 'Parchman Farm' and
features Cooney's solo harmonica while Howl For Me Baby works off a muscular 'Tramp' groove
where Moss delivers the harp. Woman In Love shows Becky Koester to be a potent vocalist
while Playin' My Blues is another acoustic workout with some effective guitar. The dud in the set
comes in the form of Peaceful Easy Feeling which seems rather out of place, although its
inclusion is certainly valid to the Koesters. A few tracks were recorded 'live' while the balance is made
up of relaxed 'living room' work that sounds fine, and vocally, Koester has an appealing style with
plenty of grit when called for. A worthwhile effort, although with Travis' guitar prowess, his harp
assistants would be better off being fed a steady diet of Little and Big Walter for more of a tough
Chicago approach and less of the Bob Dylan-inspired wheedling.
www.flamekats.com or http://www.guitar.com/artists/flamekats for more information.
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