Friday, January 18, 2008

Tell Me Why reviewed by Steve Jones

Tell Me Why
Alex Wilson
Rathskeller Records
11 tracks

Alex Wilson is an extraordinary young local talent who I have great expectations for . I met Alex in Big Cites last December at a gig there. He hails from the Milwaukee area and comes from a family with strong roots in blues and jazz from Chicago to Milwaukee.

His grandmother Rose Saviano was a Chicago Jazz singer. His father Tom has accompanied most blues legends passing through Chicago and Milwaukee. His uncle Marc is a drummer who has played and toured with the likes of BB King, SRV and Ronnie Earl. Suffice it to say that music is in his blood.

Before I went to Big Cities to listen to him, I did not know much about Wilson. I had heard that he and his band’s sound was good and that he was pretty talented. What I found was an enormously talented bluesman who has such great potential. I stayed for the entire show and I was so pleased to have done so.

His vocals and presence remind me a younger, non-Cajun version of Tab Benoit. There is a softer, kind of sultry side to his vocals that remind you of Tab, and when you hear him growl out something it’s even more apparent. I asked Alex about it and he coyly apologized for not having ever heard Tab sing live or on a recording. He is a very humble kid. Couple a great voice with a hugely talented guitar player and you have Alex; I really do think he has the potential to be big in the blues world!

I picked up his CD, the first he has done and popped it in the car as I drove home that night. I was equally impressed with it as I was with his live work.

From the opening strains of “I Like to Play” to “You Used to Know Me,” we hear Alex sing and play through nine original and two covered tunes. Billy Boy Arnolds’ “Rockinitis” gets a good treatment by Wilson as does Magic Sam’s “Lookin’ Good.” Madison Slim’s harp coupled with Alex’ vocals are superb on these cuts. Wilson’s guitar is also impeccable. The CD features the likes of his uncle and Craig Panosh on drums, his Dad, Andre Marritato and PT Pederson and Nick Moss on bass, Slim, Ken Saydak on harp, Bob Welch and Jimmy Voegeli on keys to name but a few. The original cuts are all solid and display the talents of this great young musician, Alex will be at Big Cities again on Sadie Hawkings Day (Feb 29). I recommend that you not miss this show!

1 comment:

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