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Milky Whites & the Bluesmen - One Direction

Andrew McIntosh/Riff Productions

9 tracks/44:18

It stands to reason that a country the size of Canada would have plenty of blues musicians. In recent years listeners have grown to appreciate the abilities of northern neighbors like Colin Linden, Paul Reddick, Steve Dawson as well as bands like the Twisters and Monkey Junk. Now Andrew McIntosh - a.k.a Milky Whites – is making a bid for some attention of his own.

Whites is a life-long musician born in Toronto and still based in Ontario province. He has played and toured with a variety bands in a wide-range of styles. For his first release, Whites decided to focus on a batch of original “progressive blues” tunes. He is the lead singer, handles all of the guitar and bass guitar parts plus served as the producer and engineer for the project. The band includes Mark Rockworthy on drums & percussion, Steve Koven on keyboards, Brent Rowan on saxophone and Court McIntosh provides vocal support.

There is plenty of dark despair in the world that Whites inhabits. His view is summed up succinctly on “Feelin’ Like a ‘Shroom”, a slow blues that finds Whites hoping for better days but admitting to “…gettin’ shit on all the time.” The piercing runs from Whites guitar punctuate the urgency in the vocal. Koven turns in a fine solo on his electronic keyboard. “It’s Too Soon for Ya Momma” is a brooding examination of the emotions surrounding the death of Whites’ mother.

Whites describes the torment of a fading love affair on “Can’t Get By”. The builds steadily to a musical maelstrom, then settles into a lighter feel with Rowan’s sax and Koven’s piano providing a nice contrast to Whites harsh guitar tone. “Don’t Take My Baby” finds Whites pleading with his lost lover for the right to see their child. His impassioned, raspy vocal is the work of someone who has dealt with that reality.

The mood loosens up considerably on “The High-Na-Kin Maneuver”, which celebrates bars, alcohol and good times. “Milky Whites” is rock rave-up that presents women as sex objects. The opening cut. “Don’t call Yourself a Friend” is an energetic rocker that features some wicked slide guitar licks from Whites. The instrumental title track closes things out with Rowan distinguishing himself on sax .

This is a solid effort from Whites and his friends. Occasionally the lyrical content gets a bit too simplistic for my tastes but McIntosh the songwriter isn’t afraid to venture into the darker corners of human relationships. Time will tell if his view of the world resonates with the listening public.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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