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Bushmaster - Revolution Rhapsody aka: Uprising Music

Gary D. Brown/BMI

16 songs; 58:05 minutes

Styles: Blues Rock, Funk, Rock and Roll, Slow Blues, Hip-Hop

This is an election year in the U.S., the Year of the Dragon in China, and according to some who believe in the Mayan calendar, the year of the apocalypse. Regardless, 2012 holds the unexpected--even in the blues world! Surprises are everywhere, especially on “Revolution Rhapsody,” the fourth CD from Maryland Blues Rock and Funk band Bushmaster. Band leader Gary D. Brown (songwriter, singer, guitarist) and his fellow artists present sixteen all original anthems in a mixed bag of musical styles with contemporary themes. Here are three that will spark blues’ fans interest (and perhaps their outrage):

Track 4: “Arizona Shame On Ya”--This is not a denunciation of the Grand Canyon State per se, but rather its immigration policy and treatment of Latino laborers: “They like your yard work, your housework too, your food and music--hombre, they’ll just use you. Skin of brown, heart of blue. Keep your head down; you might make it through….” Harmonica player Rodger Edsall perks ears while Brown demonstrates this is not his first time on a fretboard. Guest star Jaime Acuna, owner of the Chaparritas Mexican Restaurant, expertly translates Brown’s lyrics into Spanish in one passage. No matter which side of this particular debate one supports, “Arizona’s” mid-tempo shuffle refrain is so catchy that one will find oneself singing along.

Track 11: “40 Acres and a Mule”--Winning this reviewer’s nomination for best traditional blues sound, this snappy shuffle tells the story of a man for whom the American Dream hasn’t come true: “They told me a tale and I believed it. My check in the mail? I never received it. Is it ever coming, my 40 acres and my mule?” Every instrument and musician is in top form: not only Brown’s vocals and guitar solos hot as Tabasco sauce, but also Jay A. Turner’s bass and Spencer Brown’s drums. This track will make listeners “plow” their CD player’s replay button into the ground!

Track 13: “We All Fall Down”--A lament about the Iraq war, this “unlucky” rock ballad is as eerie as it is addicting. It morphs from a haunting acoustic dream played by Glen Shirley into a thrashing blues-rock night terror, reminiscent of “Shiver” by Too Slim and the Taildraggers. Kelly Bell commandeers on vocals, and his cold assessment rings true for many: “They said love must be the answer. Hate will eat us up like cancer. Stumble, dancer, then fall, and we all fall down!”

Check the liner notes of Revolution Rhapsody to find the names of all who contributed to this project: harmonica player Rodger Edsall, guitarist Steve Wright, keyboardist Kirk Myers, and vocalist Trudi Brown, among many others. Everyone has worked together to promote a common cause: “Don’t talk down to us. Stand up for us…I wonder what shape the world would be in if Dr. King and Bro. Malcolm X had stopped ‘complaining…’” Bushmaster provides something here for everyone and plenty to contemplate.

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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