TODD WOLFE BAND
LONG ROAD BACK
AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC ASM 5117
POISON–LONG ROAD BACK–OUTSIDE WOMAN BLUES–NEVER WALK ALONE–PEACE UNTO YOU–FIRE ME UP–ANNALEE–GONE–BLACK QUEEN–ONE SHOT–MERCY–HOODOO RIVER
Guitarist Todd Wolfe is perhaps best-known for his work with Sheryl Crow and Leslie West of Mountain. His last set, from 2013, was “Miles To Go,” and was one of our favorites from that year. He and his band return with “Long Road Back,” ten originals and two covers that continue to show why Todd is one of the most highly-regarded players on the scene today.
Joining Todd are the core band that recorded together in 2013. Roger Voss is on drums, Justine Gardner is on bass, and the inimitable John Ginty is on keys. After the success of their last album, the band has been touring almost non-stop, logging at least 200 nights a year on the road. Thus is the title cut, a tribute to those road-weary players who know it’s tough to maintain a relationship long-distance, since it’s such a “Long Road Back to you!” A stage-door affair with a “flower child from the Royal Crown” is the theme of “Fire Me Up,” while the strutting funk of the leadoff cut is the tale of one of those women who “came without warning” but who turns out to be “Poison,” as she takes much more than she gives. And, the set closes with a groove-filled jam where Todd and John get in some fine solos, giving “Hoodoo River” a downright “Phish-y” vibe!
We had several favorites, too. Cream’s “Outside Woman Blues” is given a great treatment here, with Todd’s guitar blazing the way, and John’s electric piano adding to the vintage feel of this one. A band original that recalls “Let It Rain”-era Clapton is the acoustic dobro-fueled “Peace Unto You.” “Annalee” rides the boogie straight outta the hills of North Mississippi, and Todd’s take on Stephen Stills’ “Black Queen” is positively cosmic, with his wah-wah and fuzztone guitar work on full display.
Todd Wolfe continues to impress blues fans everywhere with his live shows and fantastic sets such as “Long Road Back.” We give it two big thumbs way up! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society,