Mark May review…May 27, 2016…

MARK MAY BAND

AND THE SOUL SATYR HORNS

BLUES HEAVEN

CONNOR RAY MUSIC   CRM-1601

BOOM BOOM–MONEY–SHE’S A KEEPER–BLUES HEAVEN–PUT DOWN THAT POISON–LEAVING HOUSTON–BOOMERANG–I’M HER FOOL–GULF COAST WOMAN–ALL I EVER DO–GARDEN OF TRUTH–KIND OF GIRL–ALMOST LIKE A SUICIDE

Columbus, Ohio-based guitarist Mark May got interested in playing guitar from his older brother, and when he heard B. B.’s “Live In Cook County Jail” at age eleven, he was hooked on the blues.  Perhaps some of his most formidable years were spent around the turn of the century playing with Dickey Betts and Great Southern.  He’s just released his sixth album, “Blues Heaven,” for Connor Ray Music.  It’s thirteen cuts that explore Mark’s celebrations of good times and the realization that life’s journey does include stones in your passway.  It also encompasses several shades of blues, too.  And, the Soul Satyr Horns add just the right touch of spice to an already heady brew.

A stone-cold shot of funk kicks off the festivities, talkin’ ’bout those girls we all know–“Boom Boom” refers to “those hips” that speak volumes without saying a word!  It has a strong, struttin’ Albert Collins vibe throughout.  “Money” uses a Chicago-styled, stop-time, minor-key groove to convey why it’s sho’ nuff “the root of all evil,” and another cool tune about life’s ups and downs and  reaping what you sow is “Boomerang.”

We really enjoyed his uptempo, party anthems, tho.  “She’s A Keeper”  features slide guitar from Kentucky Headhunter Greg Martin, while Hadden Sayers adds lead guitar on “All I Ever Do is sing the blues!”  And, rhythm guitar man Dave Absalom takes lead vocal on a cut about more of those “questionable women”–“she’s a Kind Girl–the kind that’ll give you the blues!”

Our favorite was the title cut.  A slow-blues piece with smooth sax from Eric Demmer, Mark ponders the eternal question of what it’ll be like “if I ever get to Blues Heaven–will I see all my old friends?”

Mark May’s playing and singing are as sharp as ever, and this batch of material in “Blues Heaven”  adds to his growing legacy as a composer!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

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