Sunday, April 21, 2024

#675 : Cryin' Out Loud - Play Loud & Smoke Often (


2024 – Cryin’ Out Loud

By Phillip Smith; April 21, 2024


Original source :


Play Loud & Smoke Often, the brand-new release from the Maine bluesters Cryin’ Out Loud is a smokin’ ten-track album of blues. It certainly grabbed my attention quickly and by surprise. The band, fronted by Brandon Stallard on lead vocals and guitar, is also comprised of Ben Chute on guitar and slide, Jim Fratini on bass, Erik Lawrence on saxophone, Mark “Bluesboy” Kanter on harmonica, Brooks Milgate on keys, Jeff Glidden on drums, and Amy Telllier on backing vocals.  With Grammy award winning guitarist/songwriter/producer Paul Nelson* at the helm as producer and additional guitarist, the record has a great sound.  

Cryin Out Loud ignites the fuse and lifts off with a burst of high-energy blues on “I Smoke Cigars and I Play the Blues”. Once I hear this song, I know I’m in good hands for a enjoyable listen. The electricity in the air remains strong as the life of a bluesman continues on in song with “I’m Gonna Drink My Way to Memphis”. Stallard’s whiskey-soaked vocals are perfectly suited for this ripping track where the band absolutely nails the performance. I love the Allman-esque jam on “Instead”. Nelson’s guitar performance is simply amazing.  “Tell Her” is sweetly steeped in a soul rock and masterfully takes an approach to the song which seemingly blends the sounds of Bob Seger with the Allman Brothers. As Stallard’s vocals kick in on “Moonshine Lover”, immediately following Lawrence’s big brassy blasts on sax, I’m taken back to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band featuring Clarence Clemons. The big-band sound on this track surely makes for damn good time.

Crying Out Loud’s Play Loud & Smoke Often is loaded with stellar musicianship and brightly shines with glowing charisma. The album just gets better and better with every listen.




* Paul Nelson passed away March 10, 2024 from a heart attack


For more information about Cryin’ Out Loud, visit their website at

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