John Nemeth review…May 3, 2017…

JOHN NEMETH

FEELIN FREAKY

MEMPHIS GREASE RECORDS  NGRCD001

UNDER THE GUN–S.T.O.N.E.D.–FEELIN FREAKY–RAINY DAY–YOU REALLY DO WANT THAT WOMAN–MY SWEET LOVE–GAVE UP ON YOU–GET OFFA THAT BUTT–I’M FUNKIN; OUT–KOOL AID PICKLE–LONG BLACK CADILLAC

There aren’t too many players on the contemporary scene that can match the soul-blues intensity of John Nemeth.  We’ve been fans since the beginning of his career, with his “Come And Get It” album.  He won the Blues Award for Soul/Blues Artist Of The Year in 2014, then followed that up with a win for Soul/Blues Album Of The Year in 2015.  In  week or so, we’ll all know if he wins another Blues Award for which he is nominated, the 2017 B. B. King   Entertainer Of The Year.

His latest set for the Memphis Grease label is entitled “Feelin Freaky,”  and it’s another good ‘un.  These eleven original cuts showcase John’s blues and R & B influences in his songwriting, singing, and that always-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time harp blowing.  This set was produced by none other than Luther Dickinson, and joining John , who’s on harp and vocals, are his core band, The Blue Dreamers, with Danny Banks on drums, Matthew Wilson on bass and guitar, and Johnny Rhodes also on guitars.

John takes a hard look  at “the pressures we have to face” in today’s society, where “it’s real hard living Under The Gun,” from Memphis to Chicago to Sandy Hook and everywhere else.  This one is spiced up by a fine horn arrangement, too.  Staccato guitar lines and John’s big ‘ol chromatic harp beg us all to “come on and freak with me” in the album’s title cut, and John shares the pure joy of “letting your body do its thing”  with the harp-driven blast of funk that makes you wanna “Get Offa That Butt.”  “I’m Funkin; Out,” is another cut with a heavy dance groove, while a married girlfriend gets him in a sho’ nuff “Kool Aid Pickle!”

We had two favorites, too, and both were  on John’s soulful side.  Charles Hodges’ organ and the smooth horn grooves pull together on John’s ode to a broken love affair, “Gave Up On You,” because there’s “no beauty beneath your skin.”  The other was “Rainy Day.”  With a defining string section, this one hearkens back to the glory days of Hi Records as John sings of a man who “had nothing saved” when love’s storms hit.

With “Feelin Freaky,” John Nemeth mixes pumped-up dancefloor jams with classic soul, and does so with ease. It’s further testimony to this man whose name is always in the mix at awards time!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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