Saturday, October 9, 2021

#521 : Altered Five Blues Band - Holler If You Hear Me

2021 – Blind Pig Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 9, 2021

Those sensational blues-masters of Milwaukee Altered Five Blues Band has added another piping hot release to their catalog with Holler if You Hear Me.  Clocking in as their sixth album, the energy of the band runs high, and is magnificently captured within this Tom Hambridge-produced recording.  The powerful and soulful voice of front-man Jeff Taylor sounds so good backed by this tight-as-hell band consisting of guitarist Jeff Schroedl, bassist Mark Solveson, keyboardist Raymond Tevich, and drummer Alan Arber.  Special guest Jason Ricci is the icing on the cake, with his harmonica accompaniment on five of the thirteen tracks.  This is absolutely a winning combination. 

I am in love with the album from the moment “Holler If You Hear Me” breaks out of the gate.  The rhythm barrels through like a locomotive as we get a solid dose of Tevich’s hot ivory stylings topped with searing blasts of Ricci’s harmonica.  The party pushes forward as Taylor lets loose on his anthem of after-hours debauchery in “Guilty of a Good Time”.   Schroedl’s guitar solo absolutely sizzles as the rhythm fiercely latches on.  Harp-a-blazing, Ricci gives a flawless performance as he goes toe-to-toe with Arber’s furious beat on “If You Go Away (She Might Come Back)”.  A dash of swamp water is sprinkled atop “I Got All I Need”.  This delightful bowl of slow-simmered blues heats up to a boil, licked by the red-hot flames rolling off Schroedl’s guitar.  It’s absolutely wonderful.  The record comes to its close with “Big Shout Out”, a sort of blues version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.  This upbeat roll-call honors the blues artists of the past who’ve paved the way for those who play the blues today, and is a splendid song to end the album with.      

Holler If You Hear Me is as solid as an album can get.  It’s one hundred percent straight-up blues, delivered on a silver platter.    




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Altered Five Blues Band "If You Go Away (She Might Come Back)" [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]


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