Monday, September 15, 2008

Stop and Think About It reviewed by Mark Thompson

Stop and Think About It
Chris James & Patrick Rynn
Earwig Records
12 tracks/52:39

Guitarist Chris James and his partner, bass player Patrick Rynn, are currently part of the all-star band that operates out of the Rhythm Room in Scottsdale, AZ. During their career they have played with legends like drummer Sam Lay, Dave Myers and guitarist Jody Williams. James handles all of the vocals and the pair contribute five original compositions to the project. They are backed by an assortment of blues veterans including Lay, David Maxwell on piano and Bob Corritore on harp.

The disc gets off to a rousing start with "You"re Gone." James quickly establishes that he is a guitarist to be reckoned with. That becomes more apparent when he switches to slide guitar on the next track, "Early One Morning," resurrecting the spirit of Elmore James. Chris goes even deeper into the Elmore's legacy on a supercharged version of "Hawaiian Boogie," with several fine piano breaks from Julien Brunetaud. "Got to Move" is a slow grinder that includes a truly evil-sounding slide guitar tone from James.

One of their original tunes, "Mister Coffee," pays tribute to "..the man that grinds so fine" and features some excellent harp from Corritore. On slower tracks like "I'd Like to Write a Letter," James and Rynn are able to maintain the high level of performance. While James' voice has a limited range, it is easy on the ears and he never pushes it too hard. He is up to the task of covering the classic "Confessin' the Blues," his voice powerful yet under control.

James and Rynn have put together an outstanding package that grows on you with each listen. They have captured the style and sound of the blues from those bygone days. And they were able to accomplish it all while using a rotating cast of backing musicians. How good is this disc ??? My answer is that I am buying my own copy -- and you should get one too !!!

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