Orchestrated or ‘arranged’ isn’t words usually associated with ‘The Blues’. Usually, it is more a free form, a spontaneous musical genre lending itself to improvisation and emotional solos and interpretations.
On the many blues gigs I have been involved in you were lucky to get charts with the chords progressions, let alone sheet music.
But Canadian blues singer/song writer Tim Bastmeyer has put together a CD that is tightly structured musically, and rhythmically. The emphasis being on the song and the lyrics more than free wheeling displays of instrumental virtuosity.
Not that the musicians aren’t damned good on their ax. The band comprises Juno award winning Julian Fauth on piano as well as James Thompson on bass, Cory Richardson on drums and of course Bastmeyer on electric and acoustic Guitar and vocals. Bastmeyers vocal delivery has influences of Jim Morrison, without the theatrics and none of the Lizard King’s blues shouting tendencies. I also hear a good deal of Bob Dylan, ‘Country’ Joe McDonald and Lou Reed in there, and it is really quite effective and makes for a good listen.
Bastmeyer’s guitar work is very tasteful, but there is none of the guitar slinger here. Just clean delivery that compliments and was meant to highlight the lyrics. The band is really an acoustic quartet with electric added here and there, and very good, the piano work, as you’d expect from Fauth, is excellent and the ‘kitchen’ of Thompson and Richardson are tight.
There are eleven tunes here, ten originals with the great standard, “Going Down” being the only cover, and probably the one “rocking out” tune on the album where the band show off what they are capable of.
Bastmeyer plays both six and twelve string guitar, as well as electric. He plays in a variety of styles; finger picking, flat picking, slide, and does them all very good.
The opening track, “Window Shopping” is a good tune, and it is not about a walk past the sales displays at the mall, unless malls have changed in their retail offerings since my last trip.
Track two, is “Rescue You” with the video above. Very nice slow blues featuring some tasteful slide work. “Whatever Happened To?” is a shuffle blues, with tongue in cheek lyrics and real nice ‘road-house’ stride piano.
The cynical lyrics, often sung tongue in cheek are a constant theme throughout. Track four, “One Hell Of A Ride” being no exception. Then comes “Going Down”.
“Cancer Blues” starts out as an almost Spanish Guitar flat pick tune on the electric. Another one of my favorites. “Get Up” is almost a jazz/blues tune, and an instrumental with the drummer busy and the piano and guitar playing off each other. It’s almost a dance tune, but only almost.
“Mother” is a twelve bar blues with a country feel to it. Then comes one of my favorite blues tunes of the year, “Corporate Crazy” which Joe McDonald or Bob Dylan or John Prine would have been proud to write. You just have to love a song about Home Depot, Block Buster, and McDonalds. An ode to advertising and consumerism done to virtuoso guitars and a slow driving rhythm. The price of the album is worth this tune alone.
The album winds up with “Flu Blues”, a slow Chicago Blues style ode to a seasonal malady. “Traffic Blues” is a nice way to wrap up the album, off to work, baby. Come back soon, we’ll be here all week.
Bastmeyer has toured both Canada and the U.S as well as Europe, it promises to be bringing his welcomed brand of the blues to audience far and wide and will be touring this month and early next year in support of the album. Catch him if you can, it promises to be “One Hell Of A Ride”.
Show dates and venues can be found at Tim Bastmeyer’s website.
Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved