Mud Angels - A Bolt From The Blue
12 songs; 52:14 minutes; Splendid
Help! I’ve fallen in the mud, and I can’t get up. I am not calling for rescue; I am calling for company! Join me, neck-deep-in-love with the slide guitar opening, rocking rhythm, two six string mid-song solos, and angelic vocals from the Mud Angels’ debut album’s first track, “Derailed.” The album is a wealth of vocal and guitar melodies, performed by front woman Laura "Torch" England and lead guitarist Kenny Cobb. Sure, it’s a CD from a “regional band” in the Madison, Wisconsin area, but so what. Even The Beatles were a local hit before their inter-galactic success.
Laura England is the real star in this tone-rich, guitar-driven outing. The timbre of her voice instantly calls one’s attention away from even an interesting task, and she is wonderfully versatile across varying styles, emotions, intensities, and ranges. Her comely looks (seen in the liner photos) put the peanut butter square in the middle of this chocolate bar. England also shines as a songwriter; she crafted all of her vocal melodies, most of the lyrics, and some of the song structures. Born and raised in North Carolina, England only in recent years began singing Blues. Blues and Rock highlight the strength and style of her voice. "The expressive and challenging melodies of the blues feel so natural -- it’s like this is where my voice belongs," says England.
The Mud Angels are a Blues-Rock band justly nominated for three awards in both the 2007 and the 2008 Madison Area Music Awards competition (Female Vocalist of the Year, Blues Song of the Year, and Blues Artist of the Year). Their sound is created by England on vocals, Kenny Cobb and Jackson on guitars, Mike Burden on bass guitar, and Andy Mosey on drums.
At the band’s core are Andy Mosey, Mike Burden, and Jackson, who have been playing together in various forms for more than ten years. Serendipitously, they recruited singer Laura England to front the band in the spring of 2005 and lead guitarist Kenny Cobb in the fall of 2006 to complete their guitar-driven, vocal highlighted sound. It is Cobb, the band’s newest member, who provides the stylistic adhesion that pulls together the tightness of the core and vocals with crafty fretboard fireworks to create their full and rousing sound.
Through two years performing the influential bluesy tunes of powerhouses like Susan Tedeschi (to whom England is frequently compared), Sue Foley, Candye Kane and The Allman Brothers Band, the Mud Angels steadily added original songs to their set until this album shaped up.
The Mud Angels released A Bolt From The Blue in February 2008. The record includes 12 original tunes with a variety of styles coming from having three writers in the band, Laura England, Kenny Cobb and Jackson. The record showcases many moods, like slow, sexy numbers "You Sang My Note," "Bring Color Back," and "River Landing." "Kiss Me Slow" is downright sensual while "You Say I'm Picky" exudes sassy confidence. "On My Side" finds England chastising a selfish lover for soured love, but singing sweet devotion on "I Gotta Know." "Tell Me Where We're Going" and "It's Late" are flat out, catchy-guitar-hook, rocking blues. Jackson takes a turn at vocals on his edgy and bitter lyrics found in "Politics."
But, for a fun oddity, try the 90-miles-per-hour Rock and Rolling ode to sweet summer fruit, “Summer Tomatoes.” How many varieties of love apples can you name? There are no less than 21 types are listed in the lyrics.
The Mud Angels will be touring around Wisconsin and beyond in 2008 to promote this new record, with appearances at a number of regional blues festivals. Keep an eye out and both ears open to the Mud Angels for more of their catchy originals and favorite blues rock covers!
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL