CD Review: Blues Nation
Tuesday, August 26 2008
Written by Jamison Mahto,
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cdreview.jpgThe Blues Nation’s self-titled CD features five seasoned and experienced players that are top notch. The band consists of Dusty Miller (Comanche Tribe) on Guitar & Slide, Terry Tsotigh (Kiowa Tribe) plays Drums & Harmonica, Obie Sullivan (Muskoke Creek Tribe) on Keyboards, Sonny Klinekole (Kiowa/Comanche/ Apache Tribe) plays the Bass, and Tom Ware (Kiowa/Comanche Tribe) who rounds out a wonderful Native blues band on Guitar & Vocals.

The first trac, “What Do You Think” is a smooth, slick shuffle groove, played like they were on the stage at the Cabooze. The vocal is reminiscent of Bobby Blue Bland or BB King with a guitar that reminds me of Albert/ Freddie King. The guitar player, Dusty Miller has phrasing that is extremely lyrical and romantic. He attacks the fret board like a man possessed and then goes to a tempo change and a slow 12 bar blues progression. 

This CD begins with a blistering blues solo riff over whole note rests and is as much an homage to that page of the homegrown blues manual of righteous notation gained not through books and lessons but the learning that life has to teach. 

“Empty Tipi Blues” is a rocking shuffle with some of the nicest bottleneck I've heard in some time and it is actual glass fingerings, not steel to steel but the softness and romance of the glass and the bottle and the drink it held before it was cut up. The rhythm section, bass and drums are totally rock solid and in the pocket. There is a brilliant organ solo. It occurs to me these guys are having fun.

The next trac “Without You” is a beautiful blues ballad standard with some interesting nuances to its arrangement and a dynamic vocal that is soulfully sung. The guitar solo in this song stands out as some of the absolutely finest blues guitar playing you’re ever going to hear anywhere by anyone.

The trac “Can’t See The Signs” sweeps me up into an R-n-B groove of the most primal sort. This is the song that puts the rhythm into my street as I groove to it rollin’ down Hennepin Avenue toward Nicollet Island, “She’s Cryin” starts out with old style Mississippi Fred McDowell-type blues guitar intro, with what sounds like an acoustic stand up bass and harp blowing. This is a dying breed right here – being kept alive by practioner’s of the faith. These cats have an affliction and they doctor it with music. Outstanding and brilliant blues playing by all players. Here is a sound that is genuine.

“East Bound Greyhound” features another beautiful guitar intro solo, lots of edge, still raw, not slick and that’s good. I like a slick blues guy but just not as much as a raw blues guy. Again this band is keeping that Hammond B3 sound alive. What a beautiful thing. It adds depth and warmth to the overall production of this trac. A wonderful addition.   

“My People” is an up tempo shuffle with a message for the blues nation,  “My people have a right to sing the blues.” And all respect to Bill Murphy, some of this vocal reminds me of you, bro’ and it sounds so good and cool and takes me back to another time just like all good music does all the time. It’s a miracle. 

There’s that pesky organ again. I really love the instrumentation of this band because having good keyboards is essential to the depth and breadth of the sound. It provides perfect backdrop to the glass bottleneck guitar solo. One of these days I’m going to take a vacation and go visit the Blues Nation. But for right now, their CD is on the I-pod, I’m riding my bike and it’s definitely a blue world.

For more info on Blues Nations, see:

Jamison Mahto 
Reporter/Indigenous In The News
Indigenous In Music CD Review
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