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The Avey Brothers - PREACHERMAN!
Before we get started and jump into the deep end let me tell you what the desk I am sitting at looks like. Its covered with papers 4 inches deep, half a dozen tenor sax mouthpieces and CDs everywhere. BLUES CDs that is. Almost daily I receive some CD from some Blues Band out there somewhere in the world. The other week I opened up yet another envelope and found the Avey Brothers PREACHERMAN, CD!
A power trio from someplace named Iowa? Isn’t Iowa known for corn and beans? Well it use to be but now ya better add Blues to that list. In fact lets just say I got me some tunes from bad asses from Bettendorf, IA. That's Mark and Chris Avey, bass, guitar and vocals and Bryan West drums.
And just to let you know what kind of monsters these guys are the harp player they have thrown in there for good measure is none other than Detroit Larry Davidson, winner of the 2007 River City Harmonica Blowout at the Winter Blues Fest, River City Blues Society in Peoria. IL.
With so many CDs coming my way of course I put this one aside and let that desk of mine start to devour it. Then with the urging of my publisher I reached in and pulled it from the fire and popped it into the player and gave it a ride. Good thing I did, cause what I found was a kick ass power trio letting Blues fly in every direction. Better duck here comes another tune.
"One More Thing" sets everything up with strong guitar and vocals with that unison undertone of harp running through the original song. In fact every song on the CD is all original, all Avey! This one starts with power chords climbing up the stairs right to the top of the tune. Big, strong, driving guitars, rhythm and harp. Love that drum beat! Maybe you like a different type of Blues, well this very next track delivers all the variety you could ask for, "Getaway" ---- got that delta/swamp thang working and still hard driving Blues.
I do believe this number, "Pocket Full Of Shame", could have been written as a dedication to my friend Mr. Skyy Dobro. Slide to start things off, make it that Dobro sound, playing so hard I think they broke a string!...and then of course comes the title cut, "Preacherman". Slip slide and hurt me good.
Close your eyes and there stands Robert Johnson coming at you right out of this chart. This cut on the disc is quite possibly the very tune that lead the band and the guys to the IBC. The International Blues Challenge. And its a good thing it did as they finished as finalists in one of the biggest and hottest not to mention one of the most talented Blues challenges anywhere this side of the South Side of Chicago.
Are you looking for energy bigger than a power plant? Do you want to hear a Band that lays it down with emotion and intensity and still remembers the roots of Blues in a modern format? Then here ya go. The Avey Brothers. Need a recommendation of a band to check out? Then run dont walk to their next gig. Go to the Mississippi River and turn left. Somewhere out there, where the Blues are blowing down the corn stakes you’ll find the Avey Brothers. Big, Bad and Blues!
Growing up and playing music, Jazz and Blues all my life I never forgot a story told to me by an old sax player way back when. The story he told me was of the Count Basie Band traveling from one night stand to one night stand, night after night on that old beat up Gray Hound bus. Sitting in a seat drifting off to sleep was one of the great tenor sax players of all time, Mr. Lester Young. Also on that bus was a young gun slinger of a sax man trying to impress Lester and earn a spot on the band stand. He, the young gunslinger, started walking up and down the aisle playing note after note as fast as lighting until he ended standing right in front of Lester blowing like a hurricane. Finally, Lester pushed his ol pork pie hat to the back, looked up and said, “But can you play me a song son?”
That's what the Avey Brothers deliver. They sure can play you a song. Great original Blues songs tune after tune. So how many bags of Blues do these guys have? Three Bags FULL!!.
Reviewer Chuck Gomez worked out of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office of Special Events for over a decade back at the start of the Chicago Blues Fest, plays sax and tours with many leading Blues musicians/Chicago style. He is Columbia College’s special events producer and owns/produces/promotes the Watseka Theatre, Iroquois Performing Arts Center. The Watseka Theatre Blues, BBQ & Arts Fest is the last Saturday of each May, this year May 29th, 2010. Go to: WatsekaTheatre.com for more information.
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