2019 – Ghost Town Blues Band
By Phillip Smith; Sep. 28, 2019
I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new album from Ghost Town Blues Band since first hearing about it this past Spring. It was indeed worth the wait. Shine, the band’s fourth studio album, and fifth overall is downright spectacular. Soulfully packed in roots and blues, each of the dozen original songs stand out in their own way. With singer/guitarist Matt Isbell as front-man, this Memphis-based band consists of guitarist Taylor Orr, saxophonist/producer Kevin Houston, trombonist Suavo Jones, bassist Matt Karner, drummer Andrew McNeill, with Cedric Taylor on B3 and piano.
The feel-good energy of “Running Out of Time” delightfully ushers the album in. I love the Allman Brothers vibe and the sweet sound of slide guitar. “Soda Pop” is a downright blast. Isbell fearlessly rips it up on cigar-box with some hard-driving blues. The song is definitely one of my favorites.
Although “Shine” and “Givin’ it All Away” were both on GTBB’s live album, Backstage Pass, I embrace the new studio recordings. Guest vocalists Paul DesLauriers and Annika Chambers both make an appearance on title-track “Shine”. This beautiful feel-good song always puts a smile on my face. “Givin’ it All Away” is one bodacious jam. The jazz-soaked rhythm from McNeill and Karner set the stage for a captivating performance from Suavo amid the swirling sounds of guitar and B3. I enjoy it immensely.
The funky groove of “Dirty” sinks its psychedelic claws in deep as Orr tosses out screaming cool-as-hell guitar licks. I dig the rap break injected into the song by Suavo too. It truly gives the song an extra dimension. With a chockful of emotion, Orr gives a heart-felt delivery on “Carry Me Home”. It’s such a great song. Illana Katz Katz makes a guest appearance on “Hey There Lucinda” with violin in hand. This absolutely lovely song delicately brings the album to a close.
Shine is one of the best records I’ve heard this year. I give it my highest of recommendations.
For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.ghosttownbluesband.com
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