Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chris Cain Spins His Urban Blues Vignettes With Jazzy Tint

Chris Cain has been playing his blues with a jazzy twist on the West Coast for quite some time. Having recorded for the the Ford Brothers’ Blue Rock’It label as well as Blind Pig, since 1987 he has built up quite a body of excellent recordings that is matched by his lively performances. An reference point for Chris’ sound might be B.B. King (who his dad first took him to see with he was three), particularly the King matched by the souful jazzy grooves provided by the Crusaders (think of B.B.’s rendition of “Never Make a Move Too Soon”). His latest album is on Blue Rock’It, “So Many Miles” and it is another strong recording by him. He is provided excellent support here by Robben Ford Band with Robben playing rhythm guitar on many tracks, and on one instrumental, “East Foothill Fingerprints,” Larry Carlton joins him for a a soulful jazzy-blues guitar jam.Outside of the instrumental, the disc is a showcase for Cain’s songwriting and shows how the way he has with words while displaying his heartfelt vocals and hot guitar as he tells his stories quite strongly.

The title track is a tale of driving from Syracuse, stopping in Lincoln, staying at a funky hotel room, flying down the highway, and “so many miles, so many places, so many wide open spaces … .” Opening “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be A Better Day,” Chris evokes Albert King in his’ opening guitar lines as Ford drives the groove with his rhythm playing as Cain sings that “we have both wasted, all the petty games we have choose to play, I know we had some good times ... but tomorrow is going to be a better day,” with a strong solo from Cain before he vocally returns and asks to bury the past and clear the way for the better day.  He brings us some intriguing urban vignettes such as “Late Night Jungle Dreams,” a powerful topical lyric about a Vietnam Veteran who is a demolition expert but never adjusted to returning home, and then takes us down to this joint and the folks hanging there in “Down at Dino’s,” that opens with Ford’s backing wah-wah guitar setting the atmosphere. On “Interplanetary Jam,” he introduces us to a character who is preparing for alien invasion in his basement while “The Decline of the Golden Boy,” deals with a former superstar college athlete and big man on campus who never adjusted to life after college. Throughout, Cain interlaces these stories with strong vocals and guitar with excellent backing from the Ford Band, with horns added on a few tracks. Throughout, Cain’s ability as a guitarist is displayed as his driving solos are concisely delivered, interesting driving solos, swinging with unexpected twists. Chris Cain’s sound is soulfully delivered blues with an urbane jazzy spicing and “So Many Miles” showcases this exceptionally.

For FTC purposes, the review copy of this was provided by Blind Pig Records.

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