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JT Coldfire – Always & Never

Self Release

10 tracks – 34 minutes

JT Coldfire is a stalwart of the Austin music scene and has travelled extensively playing his music. This CD was in fact recorded in Sweden with an all-Swedish cast of supporting musicians, but the songs and performance are definitely Texan in feel and were all written by JT himself. Opener “Get It On (In The Back Of The Bar)” is a real roadhouse rocker, complete with a honking sax solo, boogie piano and frantic harp and makes a lively opener to the CD.

JT’s voice has that touch of grit that suits this type of rock and roll and “It’s Alright With Me” shows his voice off well against a lighter production whilst “Rather Die In My Sleep” is a slow blues with plenty of guitar and harp to support JT’s anguished vocal on a song that tells of tough and violent times.

“Let’s Go For A Drive” is another change of pace with an opening guitar figure that recalls John Hiatt’s “Riding With The King” before the drums enter and the song develops with catchy guitar and harp accents plus a female voice to add color. “Feelin’ The Muisc” is an acoustically-based piece with some nice harmonies on the chorus – more Americana in feel than Blues. “Toast To A Bluesman” has something of a John Lee Hooker feel to the music and a distorted vocal and was perhaps my least favorite track though the chorus of “I’d rather be swimming in whisky and women and, Lord, may I never come up” did make me smile.

“I’m The Best Thing You Ever Had” sounds quite a boast as a title and JT explains through this slow blues how his girl has missed her opportunity by ending their relationship. In contrast “Party Lovin’ Pappa” does exactly what the title suggests in a frantic piece of rock and roll that packs in four verses and a harp solo in just over two minutes! “Tell Me Mama” is a more relaxed affair with the harp of Roland “Woe” Guajardo again to the fore. Roland is also credited in the sleeve notes with ‘always bringing his Mexican kitchen with him’! Closing track “Tired Man’s Blues” is a fast shuffle which adds a further Texan touch to the mix with accordion.

Overall I enjoyed this CD. There is nothing startlingly new or original here but JT has a good voice and plays guitar competently. There is a good degree of variety in the material and the Swedish backing musicians acquit themselves well throughout.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and enjoyed the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in April.

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