John McVey is a Texas-based guitar slinger who is joined on this effort by drummer Frosty Smith, bass player James Cloyd Jr., and keyboard wiz Aaron Price. While he wears the proverbial 10 gallon hat, he's not a poser simply marketing his heritage. Instead, he's a solid, real deal blues guitarist who skips the effects pedals and plays only the notes he can squeeze out on his own- and there are plenty of them here. "Bayou Boogie", which opens this set, is the kind of upbeat instrumental showcase that bar bands around the land have used for years to get into the groove at the start of a set. It serves that same purpose here as McVey then drops the pace and moves into the salacious shuffle, "I'm Yours", where he unapologetically proclaims "I've got more love than you can hold". Memphis Slim's kiss off to an errant mate, "Wish Me Well", features plenty of single note picking and a big rich tone complemented by Price's saucy work on keys while Earl Hooker's instrumental "Blue Guitar" and the simmering title track are mid-set chances for McVey to show off the variety of his practiced chops. "Through the Tears" features jazzy riffing that stands in stark contrast to the heavy grind of "Dealing from the Bottom of the Deck" and the funky "I Don't Stutter". Willie Dixon's "Same Thing" puts Price back in the spotlight with a smoking solo that starts the fire for the terrific guitar showcase that follows on "Freddie King Goes Surfing". The set closer, "Walking In the Footsteps", segues into a nice, delicate, acoustic send off to this mostly electric affair. While no new boundaries are being pushed here, this is a solid effort. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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