Stew Cutler And Friends review…July 1, 2017….

STEW CUTLER AND FRIENDS

EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT

COGNA 70070-28026-2

THE GRIND–GUMBO TRANE–BEFORE I GO–NOT MY CROSS TO BEAR–BROOKLINE–TV PREACHER–WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BABY–MISS D–BLACK CAT BONE (LIVE)

Guitarist Stew Cutler has never been one to limit his music to any particular style or genre’.  That’s one of the reasons his “Every Sunday Night” gigs at Arthur’s Tavern in NYC’s Greenwich Village are so popular.  And, yup, that’s also the title of his latest album.  It was not recorded at Arthur’s, but Stew and his band ventured to Queens to the Psych Studio, and most everything was laid down in one take.

Stew’s guitar takes on many variations throughout these nine cuts, showing why he’s been right at home playing with everyone from Bowie to Arzell Hill to countless others.  This set is almost an equal mix of instrumentals and vocal tracks, and there are highlights aplenty.  Leading off is one of those instrumentals that is really blues-oriented and full of greasy-good slide guitar, Stew’s original, The Grind.”

Along with Stew on guitars, we also have Bill McLellan on drums, Bobby Harden and JT Bowen on vocals,  Nick Semrad and Julian Pollack on keys, and Chulo Gatewood on bass.  Stew shows off some more serious jazz chops with a funky tune that is the aptly-titled “Gumbo Trane,” with fine percussion work from Bill, and keys from Julian.

Three of the vocals stood out for us.  Bobby Harden brings the soul while Stew’s guitar does its share of testifyin’ on a great read of Gregg Allman’s “Not My Cross To Bear.”  A bit later, Bobby plays the part of the perfect con man, asking for “an hour on Channel 35” to be a “TV Preacher,” so that he can get away from “nothin’ in my pockets but poor.”  Perhaps the album’s highlight, tho, is a blistering, soul-satisfying vocal duet between Bobby and JT Bowen, as they take us all down to East McLemore to the Church Of Stax with a sanctified throwdown of “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby.”  Stew’s guitar hits just the right notes at just the right times on this one, too.

Stew Cutler’s vision for this album was to re-create the vibe at Arthur’s Tavern in the studio, and it came out perfectly.  So, if you can’t make it “Every Sunday Night” to Arthur’s, thanks to this set, you can effectively capture the good-time vibe!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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