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Brad Wilson - Blues Magic

Cali Bee Music

11 songs; 43:34 minutes

Styles: Blues Rock, R&B, AmericanaA title, the artist’s name, his silver-marker autograph, and an iridescent flame: these are the unassuming aspects of the cover art of Californian Brad Wilson’s fifteenth album. When aficionados open the CD case, will they find “Blues Magic” inside? Wilson certainly hopes so, and this reviewer knows so! This expressive artist presents eleven original tracks, skillfully mixing blues, rock, R&B, and Americana for a mesmerizing experience overall. He may not have waved a wand or pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but Brad’s nonetheless a magician as well as a musician. He and his band (drummer Adam Gust, bassist Brian Beal, and keyboardist Kirk Nelson) play over 100 shows per year and grace such Western venues as Reno’s BBQ, Oregon’s Chowder, Blues and Brews, and Southern California’s Bluesapalooza. Surprisingly, Brad’s music has even been featured in John Carpenter’s last two films and soundtracks: “Vampires” and “Ghosts of Mars.” With his being such a prolific performer, it’s rather difficult to choose only three songs that bedazzle on “Blues Magic.” However, with these up his sleeve, Wilson can’t go wrong:

Track 01: “Blues Magic”--The title track’s sultry semi-rhumba truly is a feat of instrumental prestidigitation--not to mention Wilson’s blazing-hot guitar! There is a full sound combining the smoothness of Steve Miller and the spice of Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band; it’s no wonder that Wilson chose this song as this album’s opener. “I’m lost in your spell,” he tells his lover, and in this case, the “spell” might very well be the music itself. Blues rock enthusiasts will be enchanted.

Track 04: “Hot Stuff”--Guilty pleasure alert: this shameless ode to urgent need may not be the most profound on “Blues Magic,” but it’s a surefire earworm. Fans should either grab their partners for a spin around the dance floor, or start “moving and grooving to the beat” when no one‘s watching. “I need a scratch of your--rhythm and blues,” Wilson implores, but listeners might smirk as they imagine three other words to substitute for the ending.

Track 05: “My One Desire”--Slow blues is a perennial favorite of purists, and this album’s fifth track delivers nearly flawlessly. Some might think the sentiments expressed here were done so with more sincerity on the previous song, but this one’s about love instead of lust. Every blues album needs, or at least features, a number such as this one: danceable and romance-able. Kirk Nelson’s keyboards set the mood, while Wilson’s longing guitar licks seduce.

Brad’s website is a treasure trove of photos, press articles, tour dates, free music streaming, and even journal musings. He and his fellow musicians definitely have a sunny California vibe, especially in the areas of “Blues Magic” and Americana!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 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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