300 MILES TO MEMPHIS
I FEEL LIKE SUPERMAN–TRAVELING RIVERSIDE BLUES–STEAL AWAY YOUR LOVE–DOWNTOWN TRAIN–‘TIL THE SUNRISE–BLACK DRESS–OUT ALL NIGHT–300 MILES TO MEMPHIS–THE DEVIL’S GOT YOU NOW–JESUS JUST LEFT CHICAGO
Being the guitarist in a blues power trio is a tough gig. He has to have the chops to vary things night after night to keep things “fresh” and “real,” to quote the popular vernacular. Mississippi Fever, outta St. Louis, has a stomp-down good ‘un at the helm in Brent Barker, along with bassist Ted May and his brother Tom on drums. They have just released “300 Miles From Memphis,” a blistering set of eight originals and two covers that give Brent and the fellows room to lay down a hot groove.
You gotta love that wah-wah-infused guitar that leads off Brent’s Saturday-night-and-I’m-ready-to-rock anthem, “I Feel Like Superman, partyin’ from the bottom to the top!” “Steal Away Your Love” has Brent lookin’ for a “partner in crime” to “break and enter your heart,” with piano from Rick Steff. Brent gets his swagger on with the chunka-chunka strut of “I’m your Downtown Train,” and busts out the wah-wah again for a session from “the love doctor,” with a lady wearin’ that hot-lookin’ “Black Dress.”
Brandon Santini’s harp drives the freight-train beat of the title cut, referring to the distance between Memphis and St. Louis, and the fellows close the set with a buzzsaw cover of “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”
We had two favorites, too. A lover who’s long gone is the subject of “Out All Night,” and Brent’s slow-burnin’ lead lines on this one make you feel his pain. And, at the opposite end of the spectrum is Brent kicking off “Traveling Riverside Blues” with sweet acoustic work before blasting off into the stratosphere and singing ’bout those “women in Vicksburg, clean on up to Tennessee!”
Today the temperature in Music City was a robust 92 degrees, but that ain’t nothin’ compared tyo the heat laid down in “300 Miles To Memphis” from Mississippi Fever! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.