The Bush League review…March 30, 2018…

THE BUSH LEAGUE

JAMES RIVAH

RIVER’S EDGE–KOKOMO ME BABY–SAY YES–SHOW YOU OFF–CATFISH BLUES–KICK UP YO HEELS–LONG GONE–HEARSE–TUXEDO BLUES–MOONSHINE–COLD SHOWER–WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU

The Bush League hail from the Central Virginia area, and were an IBC semi-finalist in 2012 and 2017.  Vocalist John Jason “John Jay” Cecil and bassist Royce Folks are the college friends that founded the band, thru their mutual passion for the Hill Country blues of North Mississippi and the uptown soul of Memphis, sprinkled with a sweet shot of gospel fervor.  On their latest album, “James Rivah,” they bring on board guitarist Brad Moss and drummer Wynton Davis.

That pulsing beat leads off, as the listener is baptized in the murky waters that flow down at the “River’s Edge,” a nod to the James River that flows thru their homeland.  Next up, clever guitar lines help John Jay to turn “Kokomo Me Baby” into both a noun and a verb on this cool tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell.  “Show You Off” and “Kick Up Yo Heels” are destined to become juke joint dance floor burners, while John Jay gets his Cooke groove on with the suavely-smooth lovin’ groove of “Say Yes.”

We had two favorites, too.  One of the coolest odes to illicit potent potables is the piano-heavy romp that is “not Chardonnay or Beaujolais,” but good ole home-grown “Moonshine!”  And, if you didn’t get enough religion in the Alpha cut that began this set, then check out the Omega set-closer, a rompin’ stompin’, Sunday-morning-shout-out to an uncaring lover, “baby, What’s Wrong With You?”

The Bush League create a sound that is at once rough, raw, passionate, and always refreshing.  With “James Rivah,” they hit the nail on the head when they refer to their sound as “shiny new dirty ol’ blues!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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