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Andy Poxon Band - Red Roots
13 songs; 56:29 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Modern Electric Blues; Blues-Rock; Rock and Roll; Ballad
The Executive Director of a popular American print magazine was approached about surveying a debut CD from a 16-year-old guitarist, singer, and song writer. His response was basically, “Oh hell no – not another kid. I get inundated with their CDs.” Now consider, this same person the next hour was probably talking about the importance of “keeping the Blues alive.” For one, I have had enough of the hypocrisy.
To Maryland’s 17-year-old Andy Poxon, I say, “Welcome aboard.” Many thoughtful experts have pointed out that plenty of other artists like Buddy Guy and Little Walter were pretty young when they started themselves. If we are really serious about keeping the Blues alive, then we can not set the entry level at some arbitrary (and capricious?) age.
I am not going to tell you that Andy Poxon is the greatest thing since Muddy Waters, but his self-produced (at 16-years-old) CD of all original songs is inspiring, entertaining, and full of solid promise. His guitar playing displays inventive, creative licks and studied riffs reflecting plenty of talent plus research; his young voice reminds me of an early Jonny Lang. Lyrically, Poxon follows the Son House school of thought: Blues is between a woman and a man.
The opening track, “Hottest Thing in Town,” is 2:24 minutes of foot stomping, Rock and Roll bliss that is so good that I have already played it twice on my radio show. With the bass strings thumping (Russ Wasson) beside a snappy snare drum (Mike O’Donnell), the song is just wonderful. Then, at 1:03 minutes into the song, Poxon plays a head turning, eye opening, inventive guitar solo that makes south of the Mason-Dixon line migrating ducks turn back north! For the next 53 seconds, Poxon’s guitar owned me – and he could have it all!
Aired next was track 6, “I’ll Sing the Blues.” Lost love sends him to his room to try to feel better by writing a song and playing some Blues. It certainly made me feel better as the crisp song opens with familiar power riffs and, again, has a killer guitar solo.
At some point in his youth, Poxon has paid attention to Country guitarists, because he nicely throws some top-string-twang into “Quitters Never Lose” which is predominantly a Rock and Roll number with Zach Sweeny on rhythm guitar.
For slow dance numbers, try Andy’s three ballads. “I Want You So Bad” features Ray Tilkens on backup vocals, and Tilkens is also credited with “CD recording, mixing, and mastering – plus all keyboards.” Another slow ballad with a little more moodiness is “Raining In” featuring a tear-jerking guitar solo. “When” is played on an acoustic guitar with an electric guitar solo at mid song and with Carol Anne Drescher on perfect-harmony backup vocals.
The album concludes with reverb-rich organ and guitar propelling an upbeat shuffle. The song is like a fun dessert at the end of a holiday picnic.
Looking at the total package, full of song and style variety, it is pretty amazing that a 16-year-old could have self-produced and generated such a fine work. It was already finished when the good folks at EllerSoul Records heard the album and decided to license and distribute it. My guess: that decision was a no-brainer!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL. Amy Walker contributed to this review. To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE.