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The JT Blues Band – 21st Century Blues

Self Release 2010

11 tracks, 46.42 minutes.

The JT in The JT Blues Band refers to Joe Territo who is the guitarist and main composer of the material on the CD. The other players are Joe Scrivo on bass, Rick Baker on drums and Rick McDonald who handles the lead vocals. The band is from Buffalo NY and has been around since 2004 but this appears to be their first main release.

The artwork for the CD cover is excellent, with a silhouette image of an old bluesman playing an enlarged IPOD, thereby cleverly representing the title of the album. It is also to the band’s credit that they have gone for all original songs. However, the songs are not particularly original and the quality of the CD is not really 21st Century, the sound sometimes suffering from the guitar being too strong in the mix. For instance, in “Buffalo Is Still My Home” all that I can hear is the guitar riff, both in the rhythm beneath the vocals and the solo sections. It is repetitious in the extreme and the vocal is mixed down low, so there is no escaping the guitar.

“Send Me Your Love” is a slow blues and the longest track on the CD, clocking in at over 7 minutes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this track more than many on the album as there is less emphasis on rhythm playing from the guitar. “Run Right Into The Blues” is an upbeat tune with a catchy chorus which revisits some of the icons of the blues – “I saw a Red House yonder, I swear the sky was crying; passed right by the crossroads, I saw Mr Johnson flying” – is quite a clever lyric, one of the best songs on the album.

I would have liked to be more positive about this release but at a time when so many self-releases are brilliantly recorded this CD was a disappointment, with a rather dull sound and the balance issues of guitar and vocals already mentioned. Perhaps on a future project the addition of some keyboards would avoid the over-reliance on rather ‘samey’ guitar riffs.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He recently attended the Blues Blast Awards in Chicago and had a great time! Back in the USA for the January 2011 Blues Cruise!

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