Mike Zito and the Wheel review…November 11, 2015…

MIKE ZITO AND THE WHEEL

KEEP COMING BACK

RUF RECORDS CD  1221

KEEP COMING BACK–CHIN UP–GET BUSY LIVING–EARLY IN THE MORNING–I WAS DRUNK (WITH ANDERS OSBORNE)–LONELY HEART–GIRL FROM LIBERTY–GET OUT OF DENVER–NOTHIN’ BUT THE TRUTH–CROSS THE BORDER–WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND–BOOTLEG

Guitarist Mike Zito has won a Blues Award, he was a founding member of Royal Southern Brotherhood, and he’s had several critically-acclaimed solo sets with his band, The Wheel.  His latest is for Ruf Records, and, for us, it serves as one of his best.  The title is “Keep Coming Back,” seven cuts of Mike’s originals, three written with Anders Osborne, and two rarely-offered covers.

Mike’s battled a lot of personal demons throughout his life, but he’s persevered to become one of the best contemporary bluesmen, and he never lacks for material to write about.  The leadoff title cut is a great testimony to this fact–Mike’s blistering slide, coupled with Jimmy Carpenter’s sax, is a stark reminder for us all to remember that, when you get knocked down, just “Keep Coming Back to the blues.”  The challenges of daily struggles in today’s society just to make ends meet is the subject of “Chin Up,” while a lover hiding behind a web of deceit is asked for “Nothin’ But The Truth, to set you free.”

Both “Get Busy Living” and “Early In The Morning” are lighter fare, and are a nod to Southern rock and Mike’s RSB days, and small-town life and love is chronicled in the “street fights, Friday nights,” of the rockin’ “Girl From Liberty.”  The set closes with a John Fogerty-CCR classic, the stuttering choogle of “Bootleg.”

We had two favorites, too. Zito absolutely nails the mile-a-minute, Chuck-Berry-fied Seger classic, “Get Out Of Denver.”  And, one of the set’s most powerful pieces is a page from Mike’s life, where one’s choices are often met with less-than-desirable consequences, “I Was Drunk,” done as a duet with Anders Osborne.

Mike Zito continues to live out the songs he’s written.  This album is at once defiant and passionate, subtle and raw, and his musicianship on “Keep Coming Back” is as impeccable as ever!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by James Parker on November 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    GREAT BAND! MZ told me it was his dream line-up he had always wished for. He’s the real deal; the best person in the music biz I ever worked with. But I’m partial. He ‘keeps coming back’ here to li’l memphis. Once brought his ‘sis Samantha Fish & brothers-RSB. I can not possibly word this strong enough. Get this band. Offer to buy 100 CDs and lick their boots; just get ’em.

    Reply

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