Mike Zito review…December 30, 2016…

MIKE ZITO

MAKE BLUES NOT WAR

RUF RECORDS  1238

HIGHWAY MAMA–WASTED TIME–REDBIRD–CRAZY LEGS–MAKE BLUES NOT WAR–ON THE ROAD–BAD NEWS IS COMING–ONE  MORE TRAIN–GIRL BACK HOME–CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK–ROAD DOG–ROUTE 90

 

Mike Zito has been on our radar for several years now, with his own solo career as well as a productive stint with the Royal Southern Brotherhood.  He’d always wanted to make a fun, guitar-centric blues-rock album, and what better place to do it than right here in Nashville with drummer, composer, and producer extraordinaire Tom Hambridge at the helm.  The result is the blistering twelve cuts that remind us to “Make Blues Not War,” on the Ruf label.

Let’s get right to the music.  Leading off is the tale of that “Highway Mama” who’ll  “make your motor run wild!” Zito’s all over the guitar here, as is special guest Walter Trout on additional guitar.  The biographical story of Mike’s son, Zach, is the theme of “Chip Off The Old Block,” who was “bangin’ on my guitar before he could walk!”  Zach’s come full-circle, too, as he’s the featured guitarist on this one.

“Road Dog” is perhaps the set’s most poignant cut.  It details the loneliness of life on the road thru Mike’s eyes, where “all I ever do is leave.”  “Redbird” is full of Hendrixian psychedelia (and is perhaps Mike’s answer to “Little Wing”), and “Crazy Legs” choogles along at a breakneck pace and deals with those “tight red skirts” and other things you”ll see at your neighborhood bar!

We had two favorites, too.  The title cit is a good ole slide-guitar fest with down-home harp from guest Jason Ricci as Mike prefers to “pass around the peace pipe”  instead of fighting!  And, the set closes with an absolute rockin’ road trip along “Route 0,” name-checking everywhere from San Antone to Katy to Beaumont on the way down to the Land Of Dreams!  Kevin McKendree’s piano wraps a big ole bow on the whole thing!

With “Make Blues Not War” Mike Zito has hit on an album that is pure fun, and serves as his reminder to himself and us fans why he enjoys playing guitar!  Peace out, Mike!  Sheryl and Don Crow, the Nashville Blues Society.

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