Big Blues Party
True to it's title, Piney Woods' Big Blues Party sounds like a bunch of friends getting together to play some songs, drink some beer, and have an all-around good time. Piney leads an impressive roster of 19 local luminaries through 11 songs ranging from barrelhouse blues to garage stompers to waltzy slow jams. The album opens with 'They Came to See Me,' which jumps out with stinging guitar and a funky blues groove that backs up Piney's cutting put-down of a young-buck wannabe. The track segues into the slower, more laid-back 'About my New Wife,' which finds Woods telling his hard-luck story to a waitress in a bar, voiced by Mojo Hand's Lauren Robert, over a '50s R&B-style groove with some interesting changes thrown in. Other highlights include '(Crazy 'bout My) Gene Keady Hair,' which belies it's silly subject matter by throwing in a nasty, slow-burning everything-but-the-kitchen-sink solo and including a rap (!) over part of the song; the tough, straight-forward 'Blues at Daybreak,' and the soulful 'Glad for What I Got,' which features Indy jazz legend Pookie Johnson on sax and vocals. The musicianship on this disc is uniformly stellar, with the musicians showing just the right amount of discipline and showmanship, and Piney's vocals, despite being a bit up-front in the mix, anchor things nicely. He's no crooner, but he gets the job done, preferring a talking-blues style in most of the songs.