The Ruff Riders review…February 1, 2016…

RUFF RIDERS

HIT THE ROAD

POWER WAGGIN’ RECORDS

HIT THE ROAD–BOUNCE BACK–BACK DOOR KENNY–CUT ME DOWN (12.5 BAR BLUES)–RUMORS–OPEN DOOR–TROUBLE–MY ’65–ROLLIN’–LEAVE ME ALONE–RICH SONG–STUCK ON YOU

The Ruff Riders are a gritty, blue-collar band from Erie, PA, and they’ve played their tough brand of blues throughout that northwestern Pennsylvania area.  This five-piece band is led by the powerfully-soulful vocal stylings of Amy “Shally” Shallenberger, and they have just released their debut, “Hit The Road,” on Power Waggin’ records.

Backing Shally on this fine project are Sean Seth on all guitars, Otis James on the harp, Tony LaPaglia on bass, and Joe Capara on drums.  They all utilize vintage instruments throughout, which adds to the overall cool ambience of the grooves.

Shally starts things off over a driving shuffle, trying to convince a lover to chuck the “old ball and chain,  and Hit The Road, just you and me, baby, and the road below!”  Sean’s vintage Gretsch goes into full-on twang mode in an ode to gamblers everywhere, “Back Door Kenny,” giving it a Sun rockabilly feel, while “My ’65” is a rockin’ guitar-and-harp-fueled tale of a 1965 “blue and white, dual exhaust” Harley-Davidson bike.  A more somber tone pervades the passionate story of the pain, “the kind you just can’t bear,” of the loss of a close friend, and is entitled “Rich Song.”  The set closes on an uptempo, rumba-rockin’ note as Shally vows to remain her own woman, regardless of the advances of a paramour, “that don’t mean that I’m Stuck On You!”

We had two favorites, too.  “Cut Me Down (12.5 Bar Blues) is a stone slab of slow-blues dealing with that scorned woman after the love has gone, who “takes my ride outta town!”  And, Seth’s four-stringed cigar box guitar wails like that proverbial hellhound on the Delta-inspired, minimalist arrangement of “Rollin,” where Shally defiantly vows that “I’m standing on this ground ’til it swallows my soul!”

The Ruff Riders are full of high-energy, good-time blues with a show-stopping singer and killer backing band.  What say we “Hit The Road” with ’em, for one helluva blues ride!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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