Peter Ward review….April 26, 2019….

PETER WARD

TRAIN TO KEY BISCAYNE

GANDY DANCER RECORDS

THE LUTHER JOHNSON THING–A WESTERLY SUNDAY NIGHT–WHEN YOU ARE MINE–TRAIN TO KEY BISCAYNE–I SAW YOUR HOME–BLUES ELIXIR (RONNIE’S HERE)–SUPPOSEDLY–CHANGE (AIN’T NEVER FOR THE GOOD)–AS LONG AS I HAVE A CHANCE–COFFEE SONG–SOMETHING ALWAYS SLOWS ME DOWN–ANTHONY’S SON

Renowned New England-are guitarist Peter Ward made a huge splash in contemporary blues with his debut solo release from 2017, “Blues On My Shoulders.”  His follow-up to it is here, twelve originals that form “Train To Key Biscayne,” for Gandy Dancer Records.  On board for this one are some of his closest friends, including Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Michelle “Evil Gal” Wilson, Johnny “Too Many Bad Habits” Nicholas, Anthony Geraci, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Ronnie Earl.

The cuts herein are blues, swing numbers, and ballads, and the above-mentioned guests bring them all into vivid focus.  Leading off is the gentle, loping swing of “The Luther Johnson Thing,” as Johnson sings of his humble beginnings in Itta Bena, MS, and the things he’s seen throughout his life as a bluesman.  Sugar Ray blows a nice solo about the halfway mark, too.  Sugar steps up for the vocal on the Fifties-inspired love song, “When You Are Mine,” while Michelle Wilson takes a hard look at abusive relationships in “I Saw Your Home.”

We had several favorites.  Sugar Ray is on vocal in a tribute to his Rhode Island hometown, in the Berry-licious “A Westerly Sunday Night.”   Texan-by-way-of-New England Johnny Nicholas is on vocal on the title cut, the swingin’ story of taking that “Train To Key Biscayne,” name-checking numerous stations along the way.  Peter is on vocal on a tune that showcases the guitar skills of Ronnie Earl, “Blues Elixir (Ronnie’s Here).”  The set closes on a somber note, with the reverential instrumental, “Anthony’s Son,” dedicated to Anthony Geraci’s son, Todd, who recently lost part of a leg in a tragic pedestrian accident.

A great man once opined that “the blues ain’t easy, but at least it’s real.”  Fans, with Peter Ward and “Train To Key Biscayne,” this is blues that is as real as it gets!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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