Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

DAMON FOWLER

SUGAR SHACK

2009-03-06

As one of the newest members of the Blind Pig records stable of artists, Damon Fowler brings more than blues to the party. The rollicking guitar licks of "Some Fun" that introduce the disc set you up for the fun that follows. Mixing things up between guitar and lap steel, Fowler conjures up a Lynyrd Skynyrd twist on the Merle Haggard classic, "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down", a funky, Little Feat style take on the Amazing Rhythm Aces’ "Third Rate Romance", a couple of Chuck Berry style rockers, "VFW" and "Lonely Blues", and a host of other well-penned original numbers. Throughout, Fowler steadfastly avoids the predictability of most blues discs by skipping boogies and shuffles in favor of mostly upbeat southern fried roots rock and road house stomps that would fit nicely on a Delbert McClinton disc. "Sugar Shack" is a swamp rock ode to an after hours club while "Sugar Lee" is a happily ever after tale about a failed romance that blossoms anew after the cleansing effect of time does its magic. "Wrong Side of the Road", on the other hand, is a tale of a woman gone bad with $50 placed in the right hands leaving someone dead. With a smooth lap steel groove, the cut lacks only the overproduction to make it something from an Eagles disc. Slowing things down a bit, Fowler wraps some sacred steel licks around the lyrics of "James", a sympathetic ballad of a man who gets knocked around his entire life, adding just the right amount of anguish to pull you into that tale. While those looking for straight blues won’t find a whole lot here, they will find some well played guitar, soulful vocals and rocking tunes. And sometimes, that’s just what you need. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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