NICK MOSS BAND
TIME AIN’T FREE
BLUE BELLA RECORDS
SHE WANTS IT–WAS I EVER HEARD–LIGHT IT UP–FARE THEE WELL–TIME AIN’T FREE–BEEN GONE SO LONG–TELL YOU SOMETHIN’ BOUT YOURSELF–I WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW–DEATH LETTER BLUES–NO REASON–EZ BREE ZEE–WALKIN’ ON A LEDGE–BAD ‘N’ RUIN–(BIG MIKE’S) SWEET POTATO PIE
We’ve been fans of the Nick Moss Band since his initial album, “Got A New Plan,” back in 2001. At that time, the Chicago guitarist was playing the classic combo style blues popularized by the Chess artists. As the years have gone passing by, Nick’s playing has matured, as has his artistry. As such, his later albums, such as “Privileged” and “Here I Am” took a more blues-rock approach with a decidedly harder edge. With his latest release, “Time Ain’t Free,” Nick successfully straddles that thin line between the old and the new, with nods to his past and peeks into his future.
Also of note on this set is the emergence of vocalist/guitarist Michael Ledbetter. A linear descendant of Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, Michael began his career as a bluesman, but “found a calling,” as it were, within the Chicago operatic community. Specially picked by Kate Moss, Michael’s classical training serves him well on his lead vocal forays.
There are thirteen originsls herein, and a couple of dynamite covers. “Was I Ever Heard” rides Nick’s vocal and guitar over a freight-train beat, as he recounts the trials and tribulations of a traveling bluesman. The chugging “Been Gone So Long” and the set’s opening cut, “She Wants It,” with some serious slide from Nick, both recall his early days. Nick revisits Seventies’ soul with a song written for young daughter, Sadie, the wistful “EZ Bree Zee.” And, Nick is always good for a shot of topical social commentary, this time in the form of “No Reason.’
Michael Ledbetter’s cuts were more contemporary in nature. He tells a cheatin’ lover that chances go ’round in the scathing, minor-key, “Tell Me Somethin’ ‘Bout Yourself,” and testifies like a tent revival preacher on “I Want The World To Know,” and a cool cover of a Rod Sstewart/Faces song, “Bad ‘N’ Ruin.”
Nick’s cover was our favorite. His slide howls like the proverbial hellhound on “Death Letter Blues,” bringing Son House’s brooding classic into modern times.
“Time Ain’t Free” serves as perhaps Nick Moss’ finest album to date. His musical boundaries continue to broaden, and the addition of Michael Ledbetter adds depth and dimension to the vocals. Definitely another good ‘un from the Nick Moss Band! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.