Jim Allchin review…June 22, 2017…

JIM ALLCHIN

DECISIONS

SANDY KEY MUSIC  CD-JA004

ARTIFICIAL LIFE–THE MEXICAN END–BAD DECISIONS–HEALING GROUND–BLEW ME AWAY–SHE IS IT–JUST PLAIN SICK–FRIENDS–YOU MIGHT BE WRONG–AFTER HOURS–DON’T CARE–STOP HURTING ME–MY FATHER’S EYES–DESTINY

Guitarist/composer/vocalist Jim Allchin is livin’ the dream, y’all.  He grew up on a farm deep down in Florida before graduating from Stanford and becoming a well-respected Microsoft executive.  All the while, he honed his musical chops, retiring in 2007 to pursue his dream to be a bluesman.  As such, “Decisions” marks his third solo album.  Produced by drummer Tom Hambridge, Jim is on guitar and vocals, and uses a myriad of special guests  that make this set such a fun listen.  Leading off is a tune that could only happen in today’s society.  “Artificial Life” finds Jim telling himself “things couldn’t be sweller” as he “dreams of being Captain Kirk!”  Reese Wynans is all over the B-3 here, too.  An amped-up trip south of the border is the perfect cure for a love affair that literally comes to a “Mexican End,” featuring a punchy horn section for effect.  Keb’ Mo’ is the duet vocalist on a song written by Jim, Tom, and Richard Fleming, as the wonders of nature set the backdrop to bring peace of mind in the “Healing Ground.”

Jim pays tribute to two special folks here, too.  First up, the aforementioned trio of writers create a forever ode to the love of Jim’s life, “She Is It,” and “wears colors that never fade.”  And, the pain of losing his father as a youth is the somber, reflective mood of “My Father’s Eyes.”

There is plenty of fun to be had, too.  An all-acoustic affair with Reese on piano takes a look at why can’t we all just get along with “You Might Be Wrong.”   There are also three fine instrumentals, two with a cool common thread.  First up, “Just Plain Sick” has one blistering guitar run after another fueled by the honky-tonkin’ piano from Reese.  And, each of the other two follow a spacey, ethereal, quietly-civil groove, “Destiny” and “After Hours.”  Their other commonality?  Each one has guitar courtesy of  our old friend Kenny Greenberg.  Raise your hands, all you old-school ballers who remember when Kenny was the guitarist for the Bobby Bradford Blues Band, which held court down at Cantrell’s on 18th and Broadway, circa 1980, our first exposure to live blues.

Jim Allchin reminds us that the choices we make in life–good, bad, or ugly–all define who we are and how we function in today’s society.  The fact that he does it with a fine flair for contemporary blues makes the “Decisions” to enjoy this set a no-brainer!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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