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The Insomniacs - Left Coast Blues
Delta Groove Music, Inc.

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker

13 songs; 50:00 minutes; Highly Recommended

 It’s finger snapping, hipster music! It’s energized and fun! And, it should be among the five nominees for Best New Artist Debut at the Blues Music Awards. This CD made me, a weekly album reviewer with limited time, listen to it over and over. That’s how great this album of West Coast, Jump-Blues is.

There probably hasn’t been a totally unique guitar solo passage created in decades, but these guitar riffs sound inventive and fresh when performed with creative bounce and joy like in the playing of 25-year-old Vyasa Dodson. Equally imaginative, two-fisted piano and organ trade leads with the guitar, courtesy of Alex Shakeri, in a traditional manner defining West Coast Blues. All notes are placed judiciously with no extensive, note wasting solos as most songs are shorter than four minutes.

The songs themselves are full of Dodson’s stylized, want-to-sing-along vocal phrases and harmonies, plus there are catchy musical hooks and turnarounds that are in your brain to stay by the second listen. Impressively, nine of the twelve songs are Dodson originals.  With no studio overdubs using horns or such, the foursome recorded the CD to combine various flavors of slow blues, Jump, Swing, Rock and Roll, Twists, and Shuffles that will drive ducks out of the water just to dance.

Justly so, the 4-piece band, with rhythm section of Dean Mueller – bass and Dave Melyan – drums, won the Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award for “Best New Act” of 2006. For a quick tutoring in West Coast Blues, here is the sweet synthesis of decades of top players of the genre from Lowell Fulson and Big Joe Turner to Junior Watson, Hollwood Fats, and Little Charlie Baty to today.

Standout tracks include: “Wrong King of Love” with a “Night time Is The Right Time” beat, a popping instrumental “Crime Scene,” the opening dance starter track, “Stick Around,” and a bonus live track, “No Wine, No Women.”

The slightest downer: the staring, bloodshot eyeball artwork on the cover. I agree with the fan who wrote, “Congratulations! Although, I must say...that eyeball is giving me the willies!”

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