The Jon Spear Band review…July 23, 2017….




Just about any food served down South comes with a side of “Hot Sauce,” intent on bringing out the flavor of most any dish you’d care to eat.  And, for a lotta folks, the hotter the better.  If that’s how you like your blues, then you’ll love the latest offering  from the Jon Spear Band, with that flavorful title.  Like a good hot sauce, this set of twelve strong cuts offers up blues, party songs, and a good dose of socially-topical cuts, served up as only this band can do.

Dara James is on vocals, lead guitar, and harp, Jon Spear is on guitars and vocals, and the rhythm section of drummer John Stubblefield and bassist Andy Burdetsky add backing vocals throughout.  Dara is on the slide guitar and vocal on the leadoff  story that deals with the exuberance of youth, and the relative ease in which one can find trouble at “The Bottom Of The Bottle.”  Ron Holloway’s sax gives the spicy flavor to the title cut, as Dara asks a potential paramour for “a little shake from your bottle, baby,” and to be his “Hot Sauce for tonight!”

Two cuts hit home on the socially-conscious front.  “Wintertime” is a torch-blues song sung by Dara regarding the plight of the homeless and those down on their luck, while the stinging guitar lines of “Blues For A Soldier” pull no punches in going all-in to support those who give all in defense of our freedoms.

The set has some lighter moments, too.  “Really Great Gig” is the story of a gig that ends up with cops everywhere, and follows a jumpin’ blues-a-billy beat.  And, everyone knows a “Butt-Dial Kyle” who hasn’t quite mastered the art of working a cell phone!

Our favorites were two of the band’s signature “stories-in-songs” and their respective characters.  First up is the story of a New Orleans gambler named “Pierre Jourdan” who “bet it all, but the other guy won,” and  his subsequent sad end.  The set closes on a somber, almost dirge-like note, with the story of “Natchez Burning,” a dobro-laden acoustic account of the deaths of 209 club patrons and all but two of the band, Walter Barnes And His Royal Creolians, trapped inside the burning Rhythm Club after owners sealed off the exits to prevent gate-crashing on April 23, 1940.  Following the acoustic portion of the song, there is a short pause, then 100 seconds or so of pure electric guitar fury in remembrance of this tragedy.

With the Jon Spear Band, you can always bet your last money that the music will be excellent, and the songs built either for the dance floor or to make you think.  Everything goes good with “Hot Sauce!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

One response to this post.

  1. […] – Don & Sheryl’s Blues Blog (July 23, 2017) […]


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