Likho Duo review…October 21, 2017….

LIKHO DUO

NOE’ SOCHA AND CLIFF SCHMITT

BLUES AND THE WORLD BEYOND

LIKHO RECORDS

DERBY STREET BLUES–SPOONFUL–THE DOWNTOWNER–I CAN’T BE SATISFIED–ROMANCE AMONG THIEVES–I’D SAY–BLACK DOG–YOU SHOOK ME–HIDEAWAY–ALMERE–GEORGIA–GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL–TU VUO FA L’AMERICANO–WALTZ FOR KATJA

Likho Duo hail from NYC now, even tho the guitarist-harpist Noe’ Socha was originally from Carpi, Italy, while doghouse bass man Cliff Schmitt was from north Texas.  The two transplanted New Yorkers will represent the Long Island Blues Society during the upcoming IBC’s behind their debut release, the all-acoustic, all-instrumental set entitled “Blues And The World Beyond.”  There are six originals and eight covers over this well-crafted album, and the two players are, literally, “beyond this world” good!

Noe’ was a classically-trained guitarist who fell in love with the blues thru a guitar teacher, while Cliff started on electric bass, switching to acoustic at age 18.  He found the blues thru his dad’s 8-track collection of Clapton and Zep.

The music is really refreshing, fans.  The guitar-harp-bass arrangements, for us, brought to mind the guitar stylings of Django Reinhardt, with Cliff’s bass supplying the work done by Grappelli’s fiddle during their Hot Club days.  Noe’ draws from the influences of Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, and, even Hendrix, and his harp has that good, country-blues, Delta feel.

That country feel leads off, with Noe’s original, “Derby Street Blues,”  done in the style of his heroes, and  Cliff gets in  a bass solo!  Cliff’s original, “The Downtowner,” has some “lonesome” harp from Noe’, while “Romance Among The Thieves” has a jazzy, gypsy vibe.  \

The covers are brilliantly done as well.  You’ve never heard “Black Dog” presented the way these fellows do it, with Noe’s harp echoing Plant’s iconic vocals, and they have a lotta fun with “Hideaway,” and another fine country-blues take on “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”  The set closes with Cliff’s quiet original, “Blues For Katja,” named in the liner notes as a major source of inspiration.

The classical training both of these fellows had as young’uns pays off big with the material in “Blues And The World Beyond.”  As for the duo’s name, Noe’ is legally blind, and Cliff has a vision issue in one eye,  So, with one good eye between the two of ’em, they chose the name Likho, a Slavic mythological Cyclops-like creature.  If you’re at the IBC’s early in 2018, be sure and check ’em out at the Blind Raccoon Showcase!  Until next time…..Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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