Monday, September 19, 2011

Lit Up reviewed by Harmonica Joe

Lit Up
Victor Wainwright & the Wildroots
WildRoot Records
14 tracks/ 53:17

Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots new CD, “Lit Up”, is a great follow up to their debut release “Beale Street to the Bayou”. This recording was produced and arranged by Stephen Dee. Dees along with Wainwright wrote the tunes on “Lit Up”. Greg Gumpel and Weston Bradigan each co-wrote a song also. Both Dees and Wainwright are diverse song writers. This project is a swell mix of blues, blues rock, Cajun boogie and some swing feel.

Victor Wainwright plays powerhouse blues on his boogie piano throughout “Lit Up”. His vocal range is big, powerful and raspy with a true blues sound and feeling. He can also bring it down for the slow blues. Stephen Dees takes on the roll of a fine bassist as well as being an acoustic guitar player. Joining Victor and Stephen forming the WildRoots are an awesome list of musicians. There is really a lot to listen to in “Lit Up’. Greg Gumpel brings on the electric as well as the resonator guitar to the mix. Billy Dean drives the drum line; Patricia Dees is on saxophone along with Ray Guiser who also adds his feel with the clarinet.

This fine band also adds a swell list of guest musicians to “Lit Up”. The list here includes Charlie DeChant on sax and clarinet, Chris Stephenson on the Hammond B3 organ, Bob Dionne adds the trombone and also Ken Titmus is brings his trumpet to the mix. Another powerful addition to this recording is Mark “Muddyharp” Hodgson. Mark’s harp playing seems to not just play the same thing that most harp players do. This is a special treat for us harmonica fans. As you see from this line up of musicians there is going to be a lot going on in this CD.

“Coin Operated Women” is a catchy, fun song that showcases Wainwright’s barrelhouse piano style. This is what a boogie piano should sound like. This is some hard charging piano. Added to the mix are really good sax background and solos with some really good blues lyrics. “I’ve got a coin operated women – I drop in my coin – She won’t be satisfied till she takes everything I got”. This is the blues, a fact of life.

Victor brings the mood down a bunch with “Pile of Blues”. “Maybe I could change what I do and give up the booze” kind of tells us the tale of this track. Victor’s raspy vocals stand out here. Mark “Muddyharp” Hodgson’s very tasteful harmonica is outstanding in this song. Add Greg Gumpel’s resonator guitar and this song truly is a “Pile of Blues”.
Lit Up” from Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots is one of those recordings that I could go on and on about with nothing bad to say. There are 14 tracks of blues that will leave you wanting to hear it again. Check this group out and enjoy. This is a keeper!

Reviewed by Harmonica Joe

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