The Sean Carney Band - Live Blues On Whyte
Nite Owlz Records 2009
10 Song Tracks; - 50 minutes 15 seconds
Style: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues
Are you ready for a personal live show from Sean Carney, Eric Blume and their two talented Canadian gig mates? Then just turn up the volume wherever you are so you can simulate that club experience; you’ll feel like you’re there in person as you listen to this jam taking its unscripted natural course. You don’t get this in a studio recording, so look elsewhere if it’s that slicked up, touched up, highly mastered and mixed studio craftiness you want—you won’t find it here. This is simply and purely Sean in the raw with his mighty fine players and backers.
If you’re reading blues reviews, then you’re a blues fan. And there’s a good chance you’ve also attended the IBC at some point in your life. Had you attended the 2007 IBC, you would have ridden the 3 day blues wave straight to the Orpheum Theater stage to witness The Sean Carney Band blues surf away with the 1st place win.
To win this competition among the 150 or more acts that compete is like winning the talent lottery. And this Columbus Ohio resident is no exception or overnight sensation. He’s an old soul late-30-something active blues promoter, musician, supporter, writer and host. A quick glimpse at his website and you’ll see that he gets it honestly—it’s literally in his blood. Nothing like a 1940’s vintage black and white photo of your jazz trombonist grandfather on the bio link of your website, and there’s a music educator father, trombonist uncle and more….talk about passing the torch and carrying on a legacy of great modern American music.
This recording came only two crazy whirlwind weeks after The Sean Carney Band’s 2007 IBC Memphis win. With barely enough time to bask in the now of their win, they hit the Memphis road to Canada via a stop over for 3 shows at Ft Myers Beach Florida through an Illinois to Minnesota blizzard arriving 2,996 miles later in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, specifically to the Blues on Whyte club.
While at times the vocals give us a hint of what just had to have been an insane amount of road weariness and exhaustion, Sean and the band remind us why and how they won the IBC and why they will forever be around years from now as future IBC special guest, host and BMA award nominees and winners. They have perfected their perspective instrument skill with heavy doses of pure honest from-the-heart blues passion and intellect.
After the Blues on Whyte announcer on Track 1, Sean opens Track 2 with a Bobby “Blue” Bland original “It’s My Life Baby” asserting his own characteristic vocal style here and throughout the remaining tracks as well. Graham Guest showcases his piano finesse with an outstanding solo complementing the track. Track 3 is a Sean and Eric Blume original “All These Worries”. Eric ‘the heartbeat’ Blume--fellow Columbus neighbor, engineer, writer and teacher—has his own star-power and resume. Check out his website at www.myspace.com/ericblume. Graham Guest once again splashes the middle with some impressive grooving organ rifts to round out the fun.
Track 4 starts out with a fun fast-paced fast-driving blues beat “Why Do You Lie”. Another Carney/Blume original, the consistent drum pocket allows Graham to have his fun with the organ ball before he tosses it back to Sean to sing the story and rip the strings in that mesmerizing way we’ve witnessed live on stage. This is where you’ll be shaking your head, going ‘man, that’s good blues guitar’, or as Paris Hilton would say ‘that’s hot’. In fact, listen closely; you’ll hear those fan-approving ‘whoas’ and ‘yeahs’ being shouted throughout the audience!
Moving right along comes Willie Dixon’s 29 Ways. Someone HAD to be swing dancing at Blues on Whyte that night. Graham’s back with a brilliant jazzy-swing-boogie woogie solo sure to make you move your behind. And here’s where we get to hear another great Canadian talent, Chris Brzezicki on an Ampeg baby bass. Tossing the spotlight, Eric’s drum solo rounds out the fun, garnishing a few audience screams and shouts of approval of its own before Sean takes us all home.
The next three tracks give us a traditional blues dose of Emery “Detroit Junior” Williams, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Willie Dixon with “Call My Job”, “Money’s Getting Cheaper”, and “Too Many Cooks”. Sean’s guitar licks are varied, free yet deliberate with intent and a plan—so much so—his blues contagion spreads like a fever to his stage mates, overflowing like white lightening onto a sock-it-to-me audience. I think they were having way too much fun up there. And in my humble opinion, that makes for some of the best blues bands I’ve ever heard.
The final three tracks are Carney/Blume originals, “Life of Ease”, “What Can I Say”, and “Bad Side Baby”. Track 10’s “What Can I Say” shows us the emotional sensitive side of Sean with his guitar, as he quietly lays down a feeling, taking us somewhere familiar and lingering there just long enough to climb back out with a triumphant celebration of persuasive electric charm.
If all the world’s a stage and the men and women in it, merely players, then certainly Sean has the lead role when it’s his stage. Signature style from attire, attitude, chops and licks all combine into one package giving us a heady blues dose of ‘something special’. This is a package you’ll not only want to hear but also see, so be sure to check out his website for upcoming tours and show dates.
Belinda Foster is a Columnist and Contributing Writer for Greenville SC Magazine “Industry Mag” and former manager of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues. She currently books blues-rock-jam musicians and is a devoted promoter and supporter of live blues root music and history, making frequent trips to “The Crossroads” and Clarksdale Mississippi, birthplace of the blues. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report” can be found on line at www.industrymag.net
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