M.S.G. - The Acoustic Blues Trio (Hereafter MSG) has been around for several years and is one of the group of new acoustic blues performers associated with the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation in Washington DC. The trio is comprised of Jackie Merritt on harmonica, rhythm guitar and bones, Miles Spicer on guitar and Resa Gibbs on washboard and kazoo, with all three taking lead vocals and providing vocal tracks. They have recorded a couple of albums and just released a new recording, a 5 song CD “Be Careful What You Ask For,” which includes both some songs that have been proved quite popular with their audiences but had not included in their CDs as well as new material they are working on and the CD packaging promises a full CD is in the works.
Anyone who has had the pleasure to see the three perform will have an idea of what to expect: solid musicianship, and strong (at times extraordinary) vocals. Spicer takes the lead on a fine Piedmont blues Charlie Stone, taken from a Larry Johnson recording. Spicer’s vocal is backed by strong fingerstyle guitar (although he would concede he can’t equal Larry Johnson’s original) with Resa on washboard and kazoo and Jackie on bones adding some rhythmic accents. I first heard Resa sing John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery at a Smithsonian Folklife Festival about a decade ago with just Miles on guitar and her vocal was riveting. I recall this one gentleman with dreadlocks on his bicycle simply transfixed watching her from a little distance. Adding Jackie’s harmonica to Miles spare guitar, her vocal here may not totally recapture that compelling performance but still remains stunning. Jackie’s Do You See Me Now? is a folky original with a charming vocal that Resa adds harmony to. Miles and David Bird contributed My Little One, a celebration of one’s new child lovingly sung by Resa with Jackie adding harp.
Resa takes the spirited lead on the traditional Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, with backing vocals from Jackie and Miles, both who add adept and sympathetic accompaniment to end a most welcome addition to their catalog. I also note Jackie Merritt’s outstanding graphics for the album packaging. One trusts that it will not be too long until will have a full CD by the trio, which this EP is an appetizer for. MSG’s website is www.acousticbluesmsg.com, and this is available from cd.baby.com.
I received my review copy from M.S.G.