Let me start by saying: Woo-hoo!!!! I've heard Tom play many times, but never with his own band. Yowser. This was one musically rich evening! Tom recently released his debut CD, "Big Thunder", and we got a good sampling of it's songs at this CD release party (one of several he had
in the metro area). With Tom on piano and vocals, the band also includes the legendary Jon "Gunner" Gunvaldson on guitar, Rob Stupka (another legend) on drums, John Iden on bass, and sitting in on sax this night, Lamont Cranston's Rick O'Dell. (On the CD, Gordy Johnson plays bass and Kenni Holmen plays sax).
They started out with B.B. King's "You Upset Me Baby," with Gunner just smokin' right off the bat. Regardless of the song, you can hear B.B. in a lot of Gunner's playing. We were also treated to a funky version of Deadric Malone's "Ain't Doin' Too Bad", a song performed by many and recorded by everyone from James Cotton to Bobby "Blue" Bland to Magic Slim. Another great blues staple - which has really stood the test of time - was "Goin' Down Slow." Tom and Gunner each do a tear-it-up solo on this one - both live and on the CD.
Tom has an obvious affinity for Charles Brown and recorded several of his tunes for the CD: the slow, beautiful "Fool's Paradise," featuring more runs than your grandma's stockings, and "Bad, Bad Whiskey," which caused the dancing at Dave's to escalate. Also from the CD, we heard Hunter's own "No One To Come To," a smoky, minor key jazz tune that caused visions of Mose Allison to dance in my head. Another nice spot in the set list was the instrumental "Hep-ology" (or "Hippology," depending on whether you credit
Bruce Katz or Ronnie Earl). The CD can be purchased from the Electric Fetus or at: www.bluesonstage.com.com/swp
This band is simply grand, and we are all very fortunate to have them here. Get out and see them while you can; I have a feeling it won't be long before they load up the van and start criss-crossing the country.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ann Wickstrom, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
Photograph copyright © 1999 by Tom Asp, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.