Eddy and his band were in top form on Valentine's day, sounding and looking sharp as they gave the enthusiastic crowd a healthy helping of blues, some rock, and a little Chuck Berry. Eddy kicked things off with "Blues for Breakfast" which included Eddy's strong, passionate vocals and sharp, inspired guitar picking. In fact, Eddy and his veteran band sounded sharp all night, especially Eddy's playing and that of excellent rhythm guitar player Mark Wydra. Most of the night Eddy played his own material, especially from his last CD, Reservation Blues. This is a solid CD which includes songs he performed including the title cut, the up-beat, guitar rich "Sensation" and the moving "Ship in the Desert."
But Eddy's blues has a message too. His "Tear Down the Walls of Hate" sends a powerful, well-written message of people overcoming their differences to live in peace. All delivered with his ringing, sharply picked guitar licks, energetic, enthusiastic stage movement, and strong, impassioned vocals. "I Came Up the Hard Way" describes a man who has worked hard to get where he is from tough beginnings. This old Clearwater song has lost nothing in the decades since he first recorded it. Like Eddy himself, his music is hip, stylish, full of fun, and encouraging about life and living it to the fullest. While this blues sometimes has a darker edge, as life does, the overall message you are left with is hopeful about the future of blues and man.
Eddy's facial expressions, from big grin, wide mouthed surprise, and hip dancing add much to his music. If you can't have fun listening and watching "The Chief" in action, well then maybe you just don't know how to have fun. While the crowd was a little slow to start dancing, the hip, infectious "Cool Blues Walk" which had Eddy starting out in the crowd and smartly stepping up to the stage really got the crowd up and moving. As he danced and moved about on stage his energy and high spirits fueled the dancers in the room to get up and move.
While Eddy did not play many covers, you know he always has to give you a little Chuck Berry, from his own "Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down" with upbeat, Berry inspired riffs to Berry's classic, "Johnny Be Goode." And he delivered solid covers of "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and "Sweet Home Chicago." But Eddy is his own man, and his own blues is very, very good. He has turned out some great songs and excellent CD's, but it is live performances where he really shines. He loves performing to a crowd and I doubt anyone had more fun than he did during his two-night stand at the Narrows.
In addition to Mark Wydra excellent job on lead and rhythm guitar, Eddy was backed by Ike Anderson on bass and veteran drummer Merle Perkins providing a solid rhythm section. Eddy indicated he recently spent a few weeks touring in Europe and completed recordings for a new CD with surf rockers Los Straight Jackets in Nashville the third week of January. Eddy said this CD features a few covers, but mostly originals based on roots music or rock-a-billy. Also in January, Eddy performed an all-acoustic show with fellow guitarist Jimmy Johnson at his club, Reservation Blues, in Chicago. Eddy performs at his own club whenever possible, bringing in guests to perform with him such as Son Seals, Otis Rush, his cousin Carey Bell, and many other celebrated blues artists. Definitely check out his club a little north of the Chicago Loop if you get down there. You can check out his upcoming club calendar at www.reservation-blues.com. One thing is for sure, when Eddy is playing you'll always be entertained. And when he's out of town touring, he makes sure there is still great blues action back home at Reservation Blues.
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