James Montgomery Band review…Feb. 23, 2013…

JAMES MONTGOMERY BAND

FROM DETROIT…TO THE DELTA

VIZZTONE OPEN E RECORDS  OEO63

INTOXICATED–SAME THING–LITTLE JOHNNY–THE MOTOR CITY IS BURNING–I DON’T WANT TO HAVE A HEART–DELTA STORM–WHO DO YOU LOVE–PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS–HIT THE ROAD JACK–RIVERS EDGE–CHANGING OF THE GUARD–BLACK CADILLAC

 

James Montgomery is a Detroit-born harpman who, while growing up, was mentored by some of the legends, such as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, and Jr. Wells.  He moved to Boston in the late Sixties, and, even Aerosmith opened a few shows for him back in the day.  He’s also worked for Johnny Winter, and has lent his skills to the likes of contemporary rockers Uncle Kracker and Kid Rock, adding his bluesy touch everywhere he’s been.  And, many of them return the favor on his latest set for Vizztone, “From Detroit….To The Delta.”  This set features twelve cuts that take the listener on sort of a “reverse journey,” guiding us back from the uptown sounds of the city, only to return to the fertile grounds of the Delta from whence the blues originated.

As well as James on harp and vocals, George McCann is on guitar, David Hull is on bass, and Seth Pappas is on drums.  And, sure enough, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, the Uptown Horns, and Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford all make cameos, showing just how full-circle James’ career has progressed.

The horns punch up the leadoff  “Intoxicated,” and you can hear James telling everybody “I’m movin’ to Boston” at the end of the Hooker-inspired “The Motor City Is Burning.”  There’s also a cool, jazzy take on “Hit The Road Jack,” with Charise White taking the female lead.  “Delta Storm” finds James “headin’ south on 61, tryin’ to find the light” after a woman did him wrong.  Sadly, it happens again on another love gone wrong song, this time referring to “The Changing Of The Guard.”

We had several favorites, too.  “Who Do You Love” kicks off with a funky, danceable groove, then a rapped chorus, courtesy of DMC himself, takes that “47 miles of barbwire” to a place it’s never been before.  “Little Johnny” teams up Johnny Winter’s slide and James’ harp on an autobiographical tune that also features Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer.  James Cotton helps close out this musical journey deep down in the Delta with the acoustic, stop-time swing of “Black Cadillac.”

James Montgomery has used “From Detroit…To The Delta” to bridge the gap from the Great Migration following WWII up thru today’s contemporary blues.  He’s used the things he’s learned over his career, and, in Cotton’s case, makes great use of a player who was a part of the early days of the blues, and is still a viable force today.  James Montgomery has shown us the staying power of the blues!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society

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