I first became aware of Andy Poxon as a mid-teen guitar prodigy with a distinctive red-haired afro. Recently I saw him with DC area saxophonist Scott Ramminger with whom he had shared a short tour and the two were playing songs from their respective recent releases. Listening critically I was struck by the maturity he displayed as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. These qualities led Duke Robillard to produce his new Ellersoul records recording Tomorrow. On the notes he observes that Andy “is a complete and mature musician at the ripe old age of 18.” Further Duke notes that how Andy arrived there was partially “derived from intense listening and research for the American traditions of of blues,early R&B, classic country hillbilly, rockabilly, swing and jazz.”
Tomorrow was recorded in Rhode Island under Duke’s supervision with his band of Bruce Bear on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass and Mark Teixeira on drums with Duke adding guitar, and horns from Rich Lataille, Mark Earley and Doug Wolverton. With the exception of an instrumental Jammin’ At Lakewest, co-written with Duke, Poxon composed all of the performances.
The music on this is quite enjoyable as Andy has crafted songs that reflect his musical inspirations with a definite pop slant perhaps. His natural singing shares the appeal of the lyrics with elements of blues and classic R&B (a definite New Orleans flavor can be heard on several songs including the lively All By Myself). Other songs reflect his youthful experiences such as You Lied where he caught her with him and finds his baby has lied to him from the start and tore his world apart and College Boy, with its rollicking groove as his baby left him for some old mean college boy. The title track is a lovely ballad with a hopeful lyric and nice trumpet from Woolverton.
|Here is Andy Poxon with saxophonist Scott Ramminger at JVs in Falls Church.|
In addition to his songs and vocals, his guitar playing stands out. With all these ear-splitting blues rock guitar prodigies being touted and promoted, it is refreshing to listen to Poxon’s guitar. One can hear elements of rockabilly mixed in with his straight blues attack. His attack, tone and the swing in his solos contrasts with the blues-rock of some of his contemporaries. A good case in point might be the closing Jammin’ at Lakewest. This is a jump blues instrumental feature for Poxon and Robillard, with swinging single note solos from both. Its certainly refreshing to hear a young guitarist who does take off from Stevie Ray Vaughan but rather channels such legends as Tiny Grimes, Al Casey, and Johnny Rogers.
It is tempting to talk about someone of Andy Poxon’s age as a performer that exhibits considerable promise and how interesting it will be to see how his music evolves. It must be stated that Tomorrow is a choice recording of blues and roots that stands on its own considerable merits.