BEEN DRIVIN’–I KNOW WHAT YA DID–SHE GOT IT ALL–CONTROL YOURSELF–COLD HEART–PAWN SHOP–MEAN TOWN BLUES–THE PAINKILLERS–BAPADUBAP–JAIL BIRD–STORM FOR THE DEVIL–RAINY DAY FRONT PORCH BLUES
The Balkun Brothers are no strangers to success in the blues world, with a lengthy list of accomplishments that include being named the Best Band In Connecticut in 2015, and being Grand Finalists in the 2013 IBC’s. Steve, on guitar and vocals, and brother Nick on drums and vocals, have just released their second full-length album, and first as a duo, a self-titled twelve-cut affair on the Dixiefrog label.
Steve’s outstanding guitar skills and Nick’s stomping percussion showcase their influences, from the Delta masters, funk, rock, and metal, and bring them all into full view and easily show why these guys have such a following. The ace in the hole on this set is producer Popa Chubby, whose biting, blues-rock stamp is all over this one.
The fellows don’t waste any time, blasting off with the freight-train boogie of “Been Drivin’ all nite to get home to my baby!” A cheatin’ lover is caught “down to the river, down by the bridge,” doin’ the do with another man on “I Know What Ya Did,” while Steve’s driving, “walkin’ blues” guitar lines ride the sad tale of a woman who “took all my money, then she took my soul—She Got It All!” “Cold Heart” bristles and boils over a voodoo chile vibe, while the guys literally funk up the joint with the uptown swagger of “Bapadubap!”
We had two favorites, too. The set’s lone cover, Johnny Winter’s “Mean Town Blues,” has lightning-fast runs from Steve that give this one the feel of a Mississippi Hill Country stomp. The set closes on a sweet, Delta-fied note. With a rain falling in the background throughout, Steve’s dobro weaves a classic “my baby left me” story, the “Rainy Day Front Porch Blues.”
From Muddy to Motorhead, down thru Son House and Jimi’s “Red House,” the Balkun Brothers put all their myriad influences in their hats, shake ’em on down for ya, and come up with a dazzling set of blues that continues to explore fresh, exciting new boundaries! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.