2017 – Jim Shaneberger
By Phillip Smith; Feb. 10, 2018
Above and Below, the second release from the Jim Shaneberger Band is an immensely invigorating blues-rock album. This West Michigan trio comprised of Shaneberger on lead guitar and vocals, bassist Jeffrey Baldus, and drummer Steve Harris are a powerhouse band with deep Zeppelin and Hendrix roots.
In a flash, they instantly tear out the gate with the magnificent “My Way”. Shaneberger pulls me tightly in with his massive funky riffs and psychedelic guitar licks. On the thought-provoking rocker “Indifference” a song inspired by the 2016 shootings of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling, Shaneberger sings “How many lives must be lost before we set things right?”. Shaneberger’s guitar mastery is duly noted as Harris tears off a tremendous performance on drums sending this edgy rocker of a track past ten, and right to eleven. The momentum only grows as adrenalin continues to freely flow through the veins of Texas-style blues rocker “Above and Below”.
I love the slow-paced Black Crowes/Aerosmith vibe running through the beautifully played “Bright Side”. Shaneberger’s vocals are smooth and cool. With a SRV influence at its epicenter and a downright funky groove, “I Can’t Sleep” brings a big smile to my face. I’m also a huge fan of the funky instrumental jam “Just Sayin’ Bro”. Baldus’ bass is simply amazing on this.
It’s impossible to avoid the trance-inducing hill country blues rhythm threaded through “Way Down South”. It holds the door open quite nicely for Shaneberger’s shredding guitar solo. It’s plumb terrific.
From start to finish, Jim Shaneberger Band is tight as a drum and solid as titanium. It doesn’t get much better than Above and Below for fans of blues-rock.
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