Notwithstanding graphics, name (including pun), and logo that seem very Nordic suggest the listener should expect a very “metal” sound, BluesSmith leans more toward the kind of hard rocking blues to be heard across Ontario and probably cross North America. This is not so much traditional electric blues as it is the sort of blues-rock epitomized by artists like David Clayton Thomas and a number of Seventies bands out of urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver. It appears the blues revolution has finally hit Canada’s cowtown.
This band has a solid sound. This is good, hard-hitting blues. This is great rock and roll. It’s like hearing your favourite bar band finally get good enough that you don’t need three beers to appreciate them. Intrumentally, these young musicians are right on and Chris Yaholkoski’s rough-hewn vocals place him right up there with some of the best blues rock vocalists of this century. These vocals bring to mind singers like David Clayton Thomas, John Kay, or R. L. Burnside.
I would look forward to hearing these boys play live. In fact, if they ever come to K’Town, I’ll make it a point to come out and to bring my friends. The recording is a whole ‘nuther matter.
The sound quality of this recording is more than a little lacking. It’s thick and muddy and only the power of the music allows it to break through the mud. The sound is like that you get when you’ve left the bar where the band is playing and walked down the hall to the hotel lobby. This band should definitely be looking for a new recording studio, or at least a new producer. This one simply has not done them justice.
The less than perfect quality of this recording is more than made up for by the quality of the musicianship. If you’re interested in what’s up and coming on the Canadian blues scene, it would definitely be worth your while to check out this Calgary trio.
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