Back in the day, rapper Warren G. had a moving statement that went, “The blues have always been American, as American as apple pie, but the question is why. Why are the blues so at home right here? The answer is America provided the atmosphere.” And perhaps behind what might be deemed a simple rap lyric there is actually something quite powerful. Blues music is really a powerful American genre of music that is dynamic, powerful and beautiful when it is performed well.
The Chicago Kingsnakes have been putting out amazing blues music for nearly the past 30 years and their latest release entitled Blue Mosaic is no different.
The Kingsnakes describe that the intent of their new release is to both pay homage to the blues of the past and also show that blues is not a dying breed of music and that it is sure to carry on into the future. The album is a well rounded and expertly performed album that emphasizes what good blues music is all about and leaves the listener with nothing short of a sheer appreciation for blues music.
The Chicago Kingsnakes are comprised of James “Ang” Anderson (guitar and vocals), Nelson Keaton (harmonica and vocals), Gus Gotsis (drums and vocals) and Mike Bailey (bass and vocals).
The album starts off with a rather smooth track entitled Take Your Time which is appropriately named since the slower pace really allows for the music of The Chicago Kingsnakes to work its way into your musical ear. There is an initial glimpse into the vocals of the band however shortly thereafter there is a really impressive glimpse into the instrumental sounds that the band can put out. The instrumentation is a pleasant musical glue that holds together the track well and from a performance perspective is performed with precision, clarity and unique sounds that are inventive and developed nicely.
The best track on the album is So Cold in Chicago. Having been to The Windy City and since this band hails from Chicago, it seems as though this track would be the ideal song to warm up inside a cozy little pub with a pint of Goose Island beer in hand. With the lyrics singing about the cold winter air wrapping itself around Chicago, if you called Chicago home this would be the quintessential song to have playing around the house as a snow storm entered the city and the cold winter winds were whipping off of Lake Michigan. There is a nice hometown feel to the track and The Chicago Kingsnakes prove on this track why they are consistently dubbed one of Chicago’s top blues bands.
Lefty is another great track that really focuses on those rich blues sounds that make blues music what it is. With some repetitive lyrics paired up side by side to guitar sounds that are wide ranging and descend and ascend just about as quickly as one can imagine there is a real symbiotic sound at work on this track. The foot-tapping and head-bobbing effect that blues music should have upon a listener comes out strongly on this track and there is a remarkable guitar rift at the end that really shakes things up nicely.
Take Your Time
Come Back Home
Blues Gone Uptown
Tell the Truth
Sick and Tired
So Cold in Chicago
Hip the Gip
Stop Drop and Roll
You Don’t Want My Lovin’
Mary Jane- Acoustic
Mary Jane- Electric
The Chicago Kingsnakes have been a fixture upon the Chicago music scene for nearly three decades and their most recent release Blue Mosaic is a testament to why they have stayed musically relevant for so long. Blues music is often times not the most popular genre of music out there but this is likely due in large to the fact that people are hesitant to give it a shot. With an album like Blue Mosaic, The Chicago Kingsnakes have shown that blues music can be exciting and invigorating to listen to and more and more people should dive into the genre.
Blue Mosaic is on the MusicKing Records label. The album was produced by James P. Anderson and was recorded at The Spot Studio.
For more information about The Chicago Kingsnakes, check out their website at http://www.chicagokingsnakes.com/.
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