Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mitch Kashmar and the Pontiax - 100 Miles to Go (Delta Groove, 2010)

Originally issued on a small Belgian label in the mid 1980's this reissued album is a nicely swinging disc of harmonica led blues that deserves a second life. Kashmar sings and plays harmonica, backed by Jon Lawton and Bill Flores on guitars, Jim Calire on piano and organ, Jack Kennedy on bass, and Tom Lackner on drums. After coming out of the west coast blues scene, this album broke Kashmar through and allowed for touring and recording opportunities to follow. Kasmar has a big sweeping harmonica sound and smoky full bodied voice that brings the music a certain emotional depth. "As Long As I Have You" is taken at a nice mid-tempo with the band setting a invigorating shuffle pace and Kashmar wringing a lot of emotional mileage from his singing. Harmonica interludes are patient and thoughtfully done, integrated well into the music and are classy, not flashy. "100 Miles To Go" is a nice uptempo shuffle that explores standard blues themes of love and life on the road. Lawton and Flores trade guitar sparks that keep the pace moving along nicely. The late harmonica wizard William Clarke sat in on the instrumental “Horn of Plenty,” trading solo spots with Kashmar and making for nice laid back jazzy feel. "Lip Service" is another harmonica based instrumental, taken at a very fast pace, it is a fine display of Kashmar's ability on the instrument. Horns are added to fill out the sound on "Gonna Find Somebody New" and their riffing behind the music adds a nice dimension to the song. A couple of bonus tracks are added on to the original album, notably "The Petroleum Blues," a recent "blues and the news" song that deals nicely with the environmental degradation caused by humanity's insatiable desire for oil and gas. This is a very solid and well done blues album. The musicians are patient and let the grooves come to them and play with a great deal of class. Kashmar is a fine singer and harp player and deserves wider attention. 100 Miles To Go - amazon.com

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