DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

CD Picks: Delta Highway, Randall Bramblett, Blue Voodoo

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on March 12, 2009


Delta Highway
Oh Lonesome Me Records
Genre: Blues

The first time I saw Delta Highway live was this summer at the 2008 Cape Fear Blues Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina. I became an instant fan that very afternoon and since that day, The Devil Had a Woman – Delta Highway’s exciting sophomore effort – has owned the No. 1 slot in my CD player.
This ten-track (plus hidden bonus track!!) CD is loaded with rockin’ blues, sure to excite fans of the traditional genre as well as those who bleed over to the broad-based rocker label.

Founded by frontman Brandon Santini (vocals and harp) and guitarist Justin Sulek in 2003, Delta Highway is fast earning a reputation for strong songwriting and a sound that’s at once rooted in tradition while it explores new avenues. This disc delivers one winner after another. Every tune is essential. No cannon fodder here – from “23 Hours,” the opening shuffle tot he number 11 surprise, “Burnside,” a nod to MIssissippi guitarist R.L. Burnside.

The synergy between Santini and Sulek was tantamount at the live show and translates just as strongly to the disc. Tom “Slim” Louis on bass and “Steady” Kevin Eddy on drums and percussion consistently provide the band’s driving rhythms. On “Feelin Bad,” Santini’s skilled harp work pulls us into the lengthy seven-plus-minute smoke-filled number, while the raw emotion in his vocal holds us there. Sulek’s masterful guitar lines blow me away on just about every track.
Memphis musician Victor Wainwright sits in on piano for “The Devil Had a Woman,” “Got To Be On My Way” and “I Want You To Know.” Chris Stephenson, also from Memphis, plays organ on “Feelin’ Bad,” “We Got a Thang Goin’ On,” “Shake It Just a Little Bit” and ” Somebody’s Gotta Go.”

Delta Highway is a great name for this high-energy group because although their sound is clearly rooted in traditional blues, they are definitely on the move and open to new influences. I highly recommend that you jump along for the ride. It’s going to be a blast! DB, Sept. 9, 2008

Randall Bramblett
Now It’s Tomorrow (2008)
New West Records
Genre: Rock
This 11-song disc from the beloved southern rocker is a gem. Crisply written lyrics, all penned by Bramblett, combine with soulful vocals and sophisticated instrumentals to deliver a CD of great emotional and musical depth. DB, Aug. 21, 2008

Lefty Williams Band
Featuring Jason “Lefty” Williams
Snake Oil (2008)
Genre: Blues

This is the second CD from the up-and-coming Atlanta guitarist. Despite being born without a right arm, Williams’ talent is considerable. The 13 autobiographical tunes are tightly written. Tinsley Ellis, Todd Smallie (Derek Trucks Band) guest. John Keane (Widespread Panic) produced. DB, Aug. 21, 2008
Blue Voodoo
The Storm (2005)
Genre: Blues
BJ Allen heads up this rockin’ electric blues quartet. The group’s 11-track CD runs the gamut from sultry soul to hard drivin’ blues. Love her voice. DB, Aug. 21, 2008


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