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SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOOSE LODGE…Matt Butler: Reckless Son, Colin James: Blue Highways, The Bob Lanza Blues Band: Time to Let Go, Tracy K: What’s the Rush?
by George W. Harris • January 5, 2017 • 0 Comments
If you grew up in the suburbs or the city, you missed out on a major part of American, the local hangout. Towns like Post Falls, Idaho, White Bear Lake, MN or Marysville, CA have buildings for the VFW, Optimist Club or the Moose Lodge, and on weekends, these cozy environs are where the denizen come to have a beer, chat and take in some comfort food type of music for listening or dancing in their Wranglers or Lee jeans. Here are four albums that reflect the heart and soul of Americana.

Matt Butler makes you feel like you’re listening to a young Bob Dylan on this freewheeling and yet intimate album. There’s a folksy quality to his songs, and his voice is earnest and sincere. The support is Spartan, while he plays acoustic guitar and harp on “Home For Good,” on other tracks you have guitars, bass, steel and mandolin supplied by Josh Lattanzias on “When the Sun Goes Down” and Kurt Thum’s B3 on the smoky “Without A Sound.” Some country shuffle livens up “Ride Again,” but most of the time you feel like the minstrel stepped into town, which can be a good thing.

Colin James has the rockin’ blues in his blood, playing like Johnny Winter and singing like a street corner artist. The tight little band of Geoff Hicks/dr, Steve Pelletier/b, Jesse O’Brien/p and Craig Northey/g team up with B3er Simon Kendall and harpist Steve mariner for a rollicking read of Freddie King’s “Boogie Funk” while the team does a rockabilly shuffle on “Lonesome.” James sounds old world as he Delta picks on “Gypsy Woman” while Hicks’ drums snap on “Going Down.” Some earthy slide guitar takes you to the mossy lanes on “Ain’t Long For Day” and Robert Johnson’s “Last Fair Deal” closes the album with James picking and singing on the back porch. A real treat!

Bob Lanza has the boogie in his blood as he picks and strums the riffs as his two pack a day voice teams up with Sandy Joren/b, Vin Mott/dr, Randy Wall-Arne Wendt/key and a collection of wheezing harmonica players. Some slick bari and tenor saxes provide texture and hot solos on “Mind Your Own Business” and the vintage blues rocker “Rush’n The Blues,” while Lanza’s AWB guitar rhythms get funky on “When The Sun Comes Up” and “Don’t Go No Further.” The team struts on the blues rockers like “You’re Not In Texas” and the boogaloo all night on the closer “Walkin’ Thru the Park.” A Strat beer gut special!

Tracy K shows that even cowgirls get the blues as she sings, plays and composes most of the material with a barroom brawling team of George Demeduk/dr, Vaughan Poyser/b, Leonard Shaw/key and Jason Nowicki/g. She does some cozy and intimate duets on the earthy Delta beauty “I Got The Honey” with Jamie Steinhoff and the jazzy blueser with Tony Desmarteau on “Time Machine.” The rest of the time she is raucous with the boogie on “Everybody Wants,” dashes into the gospel on “Done Gone Wrong” and tells a story with a Crescent City groove on “Heartstrung.” Feeling bad feels good here!