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Trampled Under Foot - Wrong Side of the Blues

Tuf Records/The VizzTone Group

12 tracks/52:06

Hot on the heels of their live CD from the 2009 Notodden Blues Festival, the band of siblings from Kansas City take a huge step forward in their development on a studio recording that showcases the many talents of Nick, Danielle and Kris Schnebelen – Trampled Under Foot.

The esteemed producer Tony Braunagel tightens up the band's sound and keeps the focus on the expressive vocals from Nick and Danielle. Special guests include Mike Finnigan on the Hammond B-3, Johnny Lee Schell on guitar & backing vocal and the maestro of the harmonica, Kim Wilson, on one cut. Keeping things in the family, the band gets help on backing vocals from their mother, Lisa Swedlund, and perform two written by their father, Bob Schnebelen.

Listen to how the band locks into the slinky groove on the title track. Danielle struts and shouts, fighting off the temptations of a good loving man while Nick picks out a steady stream of memorable guitar licks. Kris pounds out the familiar Bo Diddeley beat on “Bad Woman Blues” as Nick shows that he is his sister's equal in the vocal department. His use of a slide on an amplified resonator guitar provides a lighter sound that serves as a contrast to the powerful drumming from Kris. The grinding rhythm of “She's Long, Tall and Gone” is the only encouragement Wilson needs – and he responds with his usual stellar harp playing with Nick's guitar lurking behind every note Wilson pulls out of his harp.

“Evil Train” is one of Dad's tunes and Schell adds to the graveyard feel with the eerie sound of his cigar box guitar.

After you hear Danielle's stunning performance on “It Would Be Nice”, you will be telling everyone you know about this dynamic singer. She will tear your heart open as she conveys the devastating anguish over a love turned cold. Another highlight is “Goodbye” with Finnigan's organ filling in the space around Danielle's pleading vocal that highlights her admiration for Etta James. Not to be outdone, Nick lays down a brooding vocal on “The Fool” as the music grows in intensity, with Finnigan again providing the spark on the organ. Finnegan pounds the piano as the two singers trade leads over the furious pace of the gospel-influenced “Have a Real Good Time”. Danielle shows her talent as a bass player on the funky “Just Tell Yourself”, singing with a sassy attitude that makes this song another highlight. The closing track, “The Better Life”, is a pretty love song with a lighter feel than the rest of the disc.

This recording has it all – two great singers, a strong batch of original tunes and fine instrumental work. Braunagel limits the solo space, keeping the focus on the songs as well as Nick and Danielle's vocals - and makes sure that the guests don't dominate the proceedings. He allows Trampled Under Foot the space they need to show all of the lessons they have learned in the three years since they won the 2008 International Blues Challenge. Their exciting live shows have created a loyal fan base. This release will continue to spread the word about this exceptional band – and is heartily recommended !!

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. He has been listening to music of all kinds for fifty years. The first concert he attended was in Chicago with The Mothers of Invention and Cream. Life has never been the same.

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