CAN YOU HEAR THE MUSIC
CAN YOU HEAR THE MUSIC–I’M ALWAYS HERE FOR YOU–I NEED A WOMAN–BLUE MOON BLUES–FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT–THIS ROAD–MY MISSIPPI QUEEN–ONE IN A MILLION–DON’T WAIT UP FOR ME–WORN IN–SCATTERED (INST.)
For forty-four incredible years, Donnie Walsh and the Downchild Blues Band has been a viable force on the contemporary blues scene not only throughout their native Canada, but on a world-wide scale as well. Their “let the good times roll” approach to the blues is what enticed a young fan, Dan Aykroyd, to use this band as an inspiration for “The Blues Brothers” franchise. The current lineup has been intact for some fifteen years now, and their seventeenth and latest album, “Can You Hear The Music,” draws together eleven cuts, eight of them penned by Donnie and the remainder by lead vocalist Chuck Jackson and/or Pete Schmidt, Shane Scott, and Gary Kendall. Donnie is excellent on guitar and harp, and most all the cuts have a good mixture of both. Plus, his arrangements are such that he’s not afraid to mix the horns in with his harp. The boogie-woogie jump of the title cut as well as that of “Fasten Your Seat Belt” are excellent examples of this.
Cuts such as “I’m Always Here For You,” the story of a lifelong friendship, “I Need A Woman,” and “Don’t Wait Up For Me” incorporate a decidedly-Fifties feel, while Michael Fonfara’s organ adds to the swampy, voodoo tale of the tattooed lady who turns out to be anything BUT “My Mississippi Queen.”
Donnie gets in some sweet slide and dobro work for the blues purists, too. “This Road” is a story of yearning for a simpler time, while “One In A Million” is a gospel-flavored love song with Donnie’s dobro in full swing over the catchy riff that drives it.
We had two favorites, too. The set closes with a jumpin’, old-school harp blowout instrumental, “Scattered.” And, in the grand tradition of classics such as “One More Chance” and “I Got Everything I Need (Almost),” we have “I’m Worn In–not worn out!” This one is pure Chicago blues, epitomizing everything this band is all about!
“Can You Hear The Music?” If you can, then you are in tune with one of the most exciting bands in all of contemporary blues. Donnie Walsh and Downchild has stayed in touch with its core audience and kept the material fresh over the years, and this album is right on time!! Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.