Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Andy T - Nick Nixon Band Drink Drank Drunk

Andy “T” Talamantez is a Southern California native who spent eleven years touring with Smokey Wilson and Guitar Shorty, although in recent years he has been based in Nashville where he has been hosting the Nashville Blues Society’s regular Sunday night jam. It was at the jam that he heard Nick Nixon. “The first time Nick sang next to me on stage I got goose bumps. Nick sings like I’d like to able to sing.” A guitarist himself, Nixon, developed a relationship with Andy T. ““Andy plays great in every style of blues, so I like to just play rhythm and let him handle the hot stuff. But even when he’s playing the hot stuff, Andy knows that the blues is about soul and feeling, not about playing a lot of notes.”

The partnership formed at the Sunday Jams has developed into a most formidable band. The Andy T - Nick Nixon Band has a debut recording on Delta Groove, Drink Drank Drunk. The CD is produced by Texas guitarist and band leader, Anson Funderburgh, who first met Andy T while Andy T was touring with Guitar Shorty. Anson with his association with various singers fronting The Rockets, most notably with the late Sam Myers, brings his experience in making a number of solid recordings. A variety of individuals add backing here including pianist Christian Dozzier, bassist John Garza, and drummer Danny Cochran.

There is a mix of interpretations of some post-war blues classics and originals with the tone set by the rendition of Gatemouth Brown’s Midnight Hour, with Nixon’s singing complemented by Andy T’s guitar playing which evokes Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, and this track is followed by a cover of Watson’s Don’t Touch Me. The fifties West Coast flavor is continued in the title track, an original from Tom Hambridge and Gary Nicholson, with Ron Jones adding some raspy sax behind Nixon’s vocal celebrating a 24 hour happy-hour with a lazy groove suggestive of Watson’s Motorhead Baby, with Andy T adding some stinging guitar. Nixon’s voice can soar, but also he is able to sing in a relaxed baritone as on Paul Gayten’s No Use Knockin’ with Jones’ sax featured.

Dozzier’s accordion lends a Tex-Mex flavor on Andy T’s original Have You Seen My Monkey, with a slashing guitar solo. This is followed by the crisply played guitar feature for Andy T and Anson Funderburgh, Dos Danos, with Jones wailing on a sax break as well. Nixon’s No End To The Blues has Nixon really tearing into the vocal joined by Markey’s backup singing here with more blistering guitar. On My Way To Texas is a wonderfully paced original that celebrates the blues history and the wide open spaces of Texas as Nixon sings give me some Lightning, T-Bone, Frankie Lee and Albert is so cool. Nixon’s You Look So Good, is a relaxed Jimmy Reed styled shuffle with Brian ‘Hash Brown’ Calway adding harmonica. Dozzier is on accordion for the closing track, a cover of Ray Charles’ I Got a Woman, where Nixon displays his gospel roots in his fervent singing. 

This is a wonderfully produced recording with a terrific studio band to support Andy T and Nick Nixon in marvelous, wonderfully paced and performed performances. Andy T impresses with his fluidity, tone and taste while Nixon brings pretty of heart and soul to his nuanced vocals. Not simply an impressive debut, Drink Drank Drunk will have listeners wanting another dose of music from The Andy T - Nick Nixon Band. 

I received a review copy from Delta Groove. Here the two are performing Have You Seen My Monkey.

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