2014 – Roly Platt
By Phillip Smith; Jan 3, 2015
It takes a harpist like Roly Platt to show the world that a harmonica, in the proper hands, can be the main dish instead of a mere seasoning. Platt, a thirty-five year veteran of the Canadian music scene and two-time Maple Blues Awards nominee for “Harmonica Player of the Year”, recorded eleven fantastic pieces for his first solo album, Inside Out. Backing Platt in the studio is producer/keyboardist/pianist Lance Anderson, guitarist John Tilden, bassist Russ Boswell, and drummer Al Cross. Platt also brings in special guests Steve Strongman, John Jordan, and Neil Chapman to join.
Platt pays an instrumental back-to-back homage to Ray Charles with “I Got a Woman” and “Georgia On My Mind”. Break out the dancing shoes for “I Got a Woman”. Platt tears this rip-roaring party song up while Tilden tosses out some quite impressive guitar licks. Cross, on drums, brings it to closure very nicely. Afterwards, settle in for a calming rendition of “Georgia On My Mind”. I love the way Anderson sprinkles a bit of gospel seasoning on the Hammond organ while Platt nails every note. And speaking of “gospel seasoning”, listen for the cleverly planted segue of “Bringing in the Sheaves”, which leads right into “Rippin’ It Up”, an original ditty about dances at the old church hall. A throwback to the early years of Rock and Roll, Platt sings and plays this in the spirit of the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis. A tight instrumental performance on “Mad River” makes for a hell of a bluesy romp. This is a smokin’ jam that brings me great joy each time I hear it.
With Steve Strongman on guitar and vocals, “Ocean of Tears” is pure blues, and sounds so good. Played with heartfelt emotion, Platt makes it impossible for this song to go unnoticed. Jordon John lends his amazing voice along with his acoustic guitar, for a very cool, country rendition of James Taylor’s “Bartender’s Blues”. One more ‘must-mention’ track is the beautifully played “Over the Rainbow” from the film, The Wizard of Oz. Platt and Anderson both score big on this lovely cover.
Inside Out is such a rewarding listen; one doesn’t have to be a blues harmonica fan to enjoy.
For more information on Roly Platt, visit his website at http://www.rolyplatt.com/