Willie Lomax is a fine blues guitarist who hails from Tampa, Florida. His two CDs, "Give Me Back My Teeth" and "Ribs Are Ready," include some exceptionally talented guest musicians including Ronnie Earl, Sam Carr, James Peterson and the late Frank Frost, among others. Given the quality of the company that he keeps, I looked forward to seeing the Willie Lomax Blues Revue on their first visit to the BamBoo Room.
Supported by a four piece band comprised of Dave Shelly (vocals/saxophone); Neil Weistein (bass); Bud Grudnik (keyboards); and Mick Ruane (drums), Lomax provides stellar guitar work and makes effective use of his supporting musicians. In fact, Lomax seemed to prefer blending in with the band, rather than standing out, leaving "frontman" duties to his talented singer/saxman, Dave Shelly. While Shelly played with the crowd, Lomax focused his attention on laying down some fine guitar riffs. I was pleasantly surprised when Lomax took an extended stroll around the room, putting on an animated performance that included stints of playing on his back with his legs in the air, not missing a note!
The musical agenda for the evening included a nice combination of cover tunes, such as "Grits Ain't Groceries," and original material from his two CDs. The original tunes varied in style from the zydeco-flavored, "Backrub," to the more R+B sound of "If Women Ruled The World," a song that featured a fantastic extended sax solo by Dave Shelly. Also included were the more bluesy original numbers like the burning slow blues of "Too Many Fences" from the band's 1999 CD, "Ribs Are Ready".
Solos by Lomax on guitar (he even played some trumpet on "Grits Ain't Groceries), Grudnik on keyboards and/or Shelly on saxophone, permeated each song, resulting in an enthusiastic response from the audience at the BamBoo Room. Everyone seemed to really get into the sound generated by the band on every song. Personally, since I have been used to hearing a variety of exceptional acoustic blues performers at the BamBoo Room over the past several months, the evening with the Willie Lomax Blues Revue was an enjoyable diversion from the norm.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.