The majority of Ketchum’s material exists in a bell curve where everything sounds good, it’s well crafted folk influenced country music and Ketchum still has a strong voice, but there’s no emotional glue to his work. The music wafts by you, very little sticks
I’ve never seen a bad Asleep at the Wheel show and this one was solid at times and sometimes moved from professionalism to true inspiration. One telling difference between Bob Wills and Benson is that Wills always had an edge of inspired chaos in his work. There was an improvisational sense of never knowing what was coming next.
Blunstone and Argent really haven’t lost a step; Blunstone still sounds more like a rock star than a man pushing 70. Argent gave the original hits “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” a jazzier feel with his signature keyboard style. There were plenty of pleasures in the nineteen-song set.
Patterson was fantastic – telling inside jokes (“I recorded this in Muscle Shoals – Percy Sledge was supposed to sing it but he got too drunk”), incorporating disc jockey raps, off color humor, and dancing in the crowd. Patterson plays hard hitting, dance oriented R&B and strapped on a guitar at the end of the set to unleash a barrage of fiery blues licks. Patterson didn’t bring the house down, he set it on fire
Shuggie often seems emotionally detached from the music. He’s not an authoritative vocalist, his lyrics are well crafted and instantly forgettable, he doesn’t rely on memorable hooks or catchy choruses. As a guitarist, whether replicating Hendrix style blasts or tossing out rapid-fire blues licks, he generally seems more of a technician than an emotionally engaged artist.
Tilbrook worked hard during this long and uneven performance. He’s constantly trying to squeeze the charm in – doing mock rock star poses, mugging for the crowd, orchestrating sing-alongs, taking requests, and providing wry asides
Extended acoustic sets typically have a noticeable deficit in the oomph department and this night was not the exception
I have no idea why Hayes is performing his usual setlist with a clearly inferior unit. Whether it was the lack of rhythmic propulsion or inspiration, he was unusually flat vocally. The difference between a good band and a bad one was clearly on display
Ely enjoys rich lyrical images, check out this opening couplet from Butch Hancock’s “Row of Dominoes” – “Carmen must have been the Devil’s daughter/At least he taught her how to wear her clothes.”
There’s an exhaustive quality about performing each piece with such tremor shaking force. It’s like being hit by serial tidal waves with no time to recuperate. On a number like Joe Simon’s “Your Time to Cry,” it feels like the material is being sledge hammered.
Junior Brown plays guitar like a man that can orchestrate tornadoes. Stooped over his double electric and steel guitar, Brown played solos that sounded like Don Rich (of the Buckaroos) performing at the speed of light
Loudon was in fine form for this show, with most of the material coming from either recently released albums or unreleased songs