2020 – Middle Mountain Music
Release Date : March 6, 2020
By Phillip Smith; Feb. 22, 2020
Out of the Box, a cigar box guitar project by Ben Rice and RB Stone caught my attention in a magnificent way. Rice and Stone have written eleven original blues tracks which they perform using an assortment of cigar box guitars comprised of 6 and 4 string Washboards, Swampeast Cigar Box, and a Lobo Cigar Box. Backing Rice and Stone on this self-produced project is drummer Dave Melyan, bassist Joseph Barton and Jimi Bott on tambourine. Bott, the award-winning blues drummer who has played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and The Proven Ones, also recorded and mixed the record.
The guys bust out in full rockabilly style on “Hot Rod Mama”, both tearing it up on 6-string Washboards. The slide sounds terrific, and their vocals are dynamic. Melvan’s back-beat and Rice’s mesmerizing riff instills a relaxed North Mississippi vibe to “Easy Rollin’ Down the Road”. Stone breaks out his harmonica on the delightfully cool retro track “Hoodoo Workin’ Overtime”. There’s a bit of a Howlin’ Wolf essence about this one that I adore. “Swamp East Boogie” puts a smile on my face with every listen as Stone lets loose on his SwampEast CBG. The Southeast Missouri area they sing about is very familiar to me. “Bad Blood on Mean Whiskey” has a menacing ambiance and a badass attitude that is irresistible.
The grand finale of this splendid album is a song called “Lobo Jam”. This four and a half minute instrumental jam consists of an edgy driving rhythm and lots of smoking slide guitar. I absolutely love it. This album is a must for blues and cigar box guitar fans.
For more information about these artists, visit their websites: https://rbstone.com and https://www.benricelive.com/