2018 –Old Boy Network
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 21, 2018
New York-based JJ Appleton, noted songwriter/guitarist/producer and Jason Ricci, winner of Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist/Harmonica in both 2010 and 2018, have joined forces again in the studio to record another outstanding treasure trove of blues. Swampy goodness pours out every crevice of their new album, Beautiful Slop, and it truly captures my heart. On acoustic bass is Derek Nievergelt who co-produced the album with Appleton.
I love how they open the record by covering Lonnie Brooks’ “Don’t Take Advantage of Me”. With Appleton spinning a cool groove on resonator, and Ricci mastering the harp as he does, they bestow a new life to this classic with a North Mississippi wardrobe. Ricci shines as he channels the legendary Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on a stellar performance of “Hurt Myself” which also happens to be jam-packed with a slew of amazing harmonica runs. There is obviously a musical chemistry between the two, and that is so very obvious as they tear into the delta blues of “For the Very Last Time”. It’s almost magical. I could listen to this all day long. Beautiful Slop concludes with a heart-felt cover of Rihanna’s “Stay”. Their beautiful, bluesy reconstruction of the song certainly demands attention and gave me a new layer of admiration for Rihanna as a song-writer. Appleton and Ricci score big with this album, and I hope they keep the momentum going for another.
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