Saturday, July 18, 2015

Robin Barrett & Coyote Kings - Howl / JPBlues - Live at Darwins

Coyote Kings   
2015 –Robin Barrett
By Phillip Smith; July 18, 2015

I always look forward to hearing from Robin Barrett and the Coyote Kings from Walla Walla, Washington.  Howl, the fourth installment from this Pacific Northwest band, contains a cache of smokin’ electrified blues.  Kicking off with title track, “Howl”. Barrett throws down the gauntlet, blasting crafty riffs of swampy goodness.  This one digs in deep, and I like it.  “Waiting to be Free”, is on top of my list of favorites as well. This one slows it down a notch, and Barrett’s guitar wails so beautifully.  Another track that puts a smile on my face is the Chuck Berry influenced “Jackhammer Slow Jammer”. It really gets the blood pumping. The most interesting and coolest track though, is “Party”, wherein Barrett blends funk with swamp blues. At times it reminds me of ZZ Top. Other tracks that surely deserve a mention are the eerie “Dark Dark Night”, and “Crazy in the Head”, a track that takes me back to the Eighties, listening to Timbuk 3’s “Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”. 

JP Blues   
Live at Darwin’s
2015 –Midnight Circus Records
By Phillip Smith; July 18, 2015

One listen to his latest album, Live at Darwin’s is all it takes to understand why John “JP Blues” Pagano is rapidly rising up in the ranks of blues guitarists.  This sizzling guitar virtuoso is joined by bassist Tony Hossri and drummer Shiloh Bloodworth to make one killer blues trio.  I love the gritty and swampy “Old Man Joe”.  This quick paced track reminds me so much of my favorite Southern Rock band, Black Oak Arkansas, down to the Jim Dandy-styled vocals. I had to stop and think a while the first time I heard JP’s rendition of Jay Z’s “99 Problems”.  It was so interesting and quite the unexpected treat to hear this rap song played so bluesy. JP pours his soul out in “Another Time, Another Place”.  From a calming and beautiful beginning, the song builds traction, gaining speed until an explosive battleground of pure guitar expressionism is reached.  But wait, there’s more.  The finale “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” dishes out nearly ten minutes of unadulterated blues and ferocious jams.  JP’s guitar playing on this track is simply amazing.  It doesn’t matter who moved your cheese, this is where it’s at.     

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