"What's the Rush?" First Review, August 25 2016
"What's The Rush?"
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © August 2016
Just about two years ago, while writing about some of her acoustic work, this is a line I used to describe Tracy K.....
"This is old school...I'm talking Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee kind of stuff...acoustic blues at its best. Tracy K has certainly done her homework, 'cause she nails this type of stuff - vocally, musically and more importantly, mentally. Her scrappy, scratchy voice, her masterful harp skills and her intensity all excel".....
Now she's back with her fourth release - "What's the Rush?" - and although she's added a full band on some of the tracks, none of what I said back then has changed, I've just got more to add.
On "What's the Rush?", Tracy - on vocals, guitar and harmonica - is joined by: Jason Nowicki, Terry Barnett and Tony Desmarteau on guitar. Leonard "Lewsh" Shaw on keys & horns. Vaughan Poyser and Nenad "Keza" Zdjelar on bass. George Demeduk and Ty Rogers on drums. Jamie "Snakeman" Steinhoff on Dobro & acoustic guitar. and Travis Haugen on organ.
"What Tomorrow Brings" has quite the interesting sound. Musically, with Vaughan and George in a tight rhythm groove and Jason nailing the scorching blues guitar leads, it's easily one of the disc’s most traditional blues tracks. On the other hand, with Tracy adding a bit of twang and sass to a whole bunch of grit and soul, I found myself enjoying the country feel all of that added to the track.
Everything may have "Done Gone Wrong" as a result of Tracy writing this song but on it's performance, with everyone peaking, everything's done gone damn good. In addition to belting the hell out of the blues vocally, Tracy's doing it on the harp as well. Also pulling double duty is Leonard, who's keyboard and horn work are equally exceptional. Throw in Jason's ferocious guitar leads and the ruthless rhythm of Vaughan and George and now you're listening to the disc’s best track.
Tracy wrote this song at a festival for a workshop called "Heartstrung". While reflecting on the meaning of the word, she decided to write the song about people she knew who fit the meaning to a T. Here's a sample about two of the people I also happen to know....."Mick and Molli live in northern Mississippi all peace and love like a couple of hippies. He's got seven guitars and a dog named Arrow. Molli's real purty, straight up and narrow. she gives Mick some lip and he slips her the tongue. Looks like these folks is... heartstrung." The song then goes into aspects of other loving couples lives, including Ozzy and Sharon (yep, them). Since Tracy already knows me pretty well, I'm sure that once she meets the Blewzzlady, we'll make it on the updated version of this song. Musically, it's a party. Nenad and Ty are rockin' the rhythm & Terry and Leonard are cranking it on guitar and piano leads.
"Time Machine" is the second of the discs two acoustic duet tracks. It's a jazzy number that features Tracy sounding quite skillful at singing a bunch of improvised, meaningless and nonsensical syllables made cool by the famous scat singers of years gone by, and Tony - the songs co-writer - doing a masterful job on acoustic guitar.
The disc closes with it's only cover - a spine tingling, bone chilling, hair raising rendition of Randy Newman's "Guilty". It features Nenad and Travis creating the heartbeat on the bass and organ and is highlighted by Tracy singing her heart out while Jamie puts on a pristine performance on acoustic guitar. At nearly six minutes long, the recording was about ten minutes too short for me. If you're a music teacher and the lesson is about putting your heart, soul and your mind into the song, just stop instructing and play this track. In addition to a four chair turn, a performance like this would create havoc amongst "The Voice" judges.
An interesting side note about this track is that it starts off with footsteps (apparently walking over to the turntable) and leads into the sound of a needle being dropped onto a record. Then, as the song begins, and ends, you can actually hear the scratches so commonly associated with that mode of listening. Tracy explained to me that as a youngster, she actually wore out the needle listening to Bonnie Raitt's version of the song and she just felt right adding it to her version, in tribute to her greatest influence.
Other songs on "What's the Rush?" include: "Everybody Wants", "I Got the Honey", and "Indigo Heart".
To look into getting your hands on a copy of this excellent disc and to find out more about Tracy K, just go to www.tracyk.ca. And as I always ask you to do, please tell her the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient