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Big Shot Reub & The Reloaders - Roundhouse Blues

Hat and Case Music

10 songs; 47:26 minutes

Styles: West Coast Rockin’ Blues

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Precision counts, even in music! Case in point: Big Shot Reub and the Reloaders with their debut release “Roundhouse Blues.” San Diego based Reuben Vigil and his posse (Jodie Hill on bass and Ric Lee on drums) play “almost right”--almost perfectly. However, that “almost” is HUGE. What crucial elements are present, and which are missing in the diversely influenced 10 song set of originals? The answer lies in the acronym LUV: Licks, Undertones, and Vocals. He nails two out of three.

LICKS: Big Shot Reub is a near-master on lead guitar! He displays his prowess with “So Much Inside Me,” which he characterizes on the Reverbnation website as “a jump-swing tribute to the greats, including Wynone Harris and Louis Jordan.” His musical arrangements are as varied and melodic as those in blues can get. Big Shot reminds me of a YouTube fan's comment about Mark Knopfler: “[he was] the man who could make the guitar tell stories.” Reub does the same. For more highlights, savor the picante flavor of “Viva Bracero” and the cutting intro on “Celestial”!

UNDERTONES: Songwriter Reub remembers that a well-crafted song is more than the sum of its parts: the melody, lyrics, and beat. The instrumental track “C” is chilling proof of this. Stevie Ray Vaughan most famously covered this territory in “Riviera Paradise,” although his version was more relaxing. Big Shot's will give one shivers. There's something ominous about the way one note follows another, reminiscent of a spider's slithering appendages climbing the nearest wall. There's also the wry desperation on “I Don't Drink” that one finds at the bottom of a bottle—or bass guitar. “I don't drink 'cause I'm alone. I drink 'cause you're not home!” Reub laments.

VOCALS: Not everyone can be Gregg Allman or Muddy Waters. Big Shot Reub’s technique and feeling are not at that level on this CD. The only addicting hook he presents is the one on “Time Was,” which will cause spontaneous sing-alongs.

Big Shot Reub & The Reloaders played and performed in various San Diego bands before coming together to record “Roundhouse Blues,” which in Vigil’s words, “is a labor of friendship and getting my friends back to work. In this effort all processes have been near seamless. I am a lucky man.”

Big Shot Reub has a shot at the big time if he heeds Mark Twain's words in relation to his blues!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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