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Steve Guyger - Radio Blues
Severn Records
Run Time 53:03

Steve Guyger’s accolades as one of the best harp players in the blues world for the last 30 years need no mention here. Hailing from the City of Brotherly Love, Guyger makes his home in the Northeast and tours regularly with his band the Excellos. On this disc, Guyger recreates the sounds he heard as a young boy on old time radio. Enlisting the talents of Johnny Moeller on guitar, Steve Gomes on bass, Robb Stupka on drums and Bill Heid on keys, the album’s sound is as pristine and polished as those old records Guyger listened to as a boy.

Guyger pennned 10 of the 14 tracks here demonstrating his deep knowledge of the tradition he was born of. From the rollicking shuffle of “You’re So Fine” to the blues ballad “Cool In the Evening,” Guyger’s supreme command over harp and vocals are brilliant. Without sounding like he’s a knock off another harmonica legend, Guyger’s licks and sounds are purely his own. Effortlessly switching between the higher demand of the chromatic harmonica (featured on “Blues Won’t Let Me Be”) and back to the more traditional 10-hole diatonic, Guyger gives you every sound imaginable from this little tin sandwich. Guyger’s voice is wonderfully slurred sounding like a mix between the belting of Elmore James, the sloppy Jimmy Reed and the gruff of Charlie Musselwhite or Paul Butterfield. He sings and fits in the mold he’s shooting for on each and every track on the disc. Moeller and company don’t play second fiddle either. While fitting in the mold for Guyger’s harmonica fronted band, Moeller and Heid’s leads aren’t greedy or yearning for attention here. They are in the pocket all the time and never stray.

Guyger’s got the bounce of early sixties R&B influenced rock and the fifties and sixties harmonica sounds of Chicago in the bag. If you need evidence, check out Guyger’s easy command of the Joe Liggins’ classic “Honeydripper” instrumental that anchors this album. With a foreword by Rick Estrin (one more outstanding harp player from the West coast), Guyger in Estrin’s words is a “guy you need to get hip to.” Still running high off of last year’s traditional acoustic release with Richard Ray Farrell, Guyger turns in another winning gem to continue his streak of great traditional blues. Visit Guyger on his Myspace:

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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