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Shawn Pittman – Edge Of The World

Delta Groove Music

13 tracks; 51.28 minutes

In the liner notes of his latest release Edge Of The World, guitarist/vocalist Shawn Pittman admits his love for records being released in the 50’s and 60’s as little technology was involved to over produce the sounds. So it seems he gets to realize his dream of releasing music that is out of a time capsule of that era. Listening to this music is like listening to sounds of old vinyl recordings.

Pittman is a multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, bass, piano and drums. With Jonathan Doyle handling all the horn arrangements, these guys are the only two people who created this album.

A natural reaction to being exposed to a guitar player with Texas Strat tones is rolling the eyes and thinking you’re going to hear another Stevie Ray Vaughan wannabe. Fear not. Pittman’s guitar playing instantly connects to the T-Bone Walker era with roots reaching to Gatemouth Brown, Johnny Watson and Albert Collins.

Tapping into that lineage certainly gives this a rootsy feel. Pittman makes the sock-hop era come alive but the music is contemporary enough without being relegated to being an old antique on display in a museum.

Speaking of T-Bone Walker before, what a better way to set the stage with Chester Burnett’s “Sugar” as an opening number that swings with Pittman’s Lone Star State guitar styling’s. Sean’s work on the other instruments is not too shabby as is becomes a power-house effect erupting under his smoking fret work.

T-Bone’s ghost is actually all over this old style recording. The dance fever continues in “Leanin Load“ with its two-step shuffle.

Sean seems to revel in music that is under the shuffle umbrella. But it’s something you don’t get tired of due to Pittman’s commanding of the genre. And he commands it well in “Scent of Your Benjamins.” With writing partner Lewis Dickson, Pittman crafts a piece of work that parents and grandparents can enjoy as they most likely lived through that era itself.

Doyle’s tenor & baritone saxophone contributions can’t be ignored. They are there giving a nostalgia feel to “Almost Good” with Pittman attempting to be a Jerry Lee Lewis imitator on piano. And to tell the truth, he does a pretty good job.

Pittman can be criticized for being too authentic and relying on shuffles to much to accentuate his musical points. But this is where people can miss the point. This is about a musician presenting music that feels real, looks good and smells good. There’s no hankering for mainstream radio airplay. Just an honest approach that in itself has become a lost art.

Pittman can play a mean 12 bar blues like the rest of them. Here he fires up “That’s The Thing” with enough bravado to make even Michael Bloomfield blush. The soloing is warm and crisp bearing no pretense.

Sean doesn’t play a lot of slide. When he does, he becomes a junior Elmore James in the short rocker “I’ve Had Enough.” The song’s only weakness is being too short because you want to bask in its rocking vibe for a while. A rocking vibe that continues in “This Time” with Pittman’s drum work being front and center and stomping enough to shake the dust off the beams.

It’s toward the end of the CD where Pittman moves from the shuffles to straight-ahead rockers. Rather then picking up steam, the energy begins to sag as it seems Sean’s trying so hard to please.

Still credit has to be given to Pittman. In an era where over-driven blues-rock seems to exhaust its resources, here is a young man wanting to tap into an essence of the past and bring its finest elements up to date. In this day and age, things like that are hard to pull off..

Review Gary Weeks is based in Marietta, GA.

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