Took You Long Enough
In his mid-twenties, Austin-based singer, songwriter and guitarist Brad Stivers will make folks take notice with this album which is a solid mix of roots rock, blues, soul and country. Certainly the opening "2000 Miles" is a solid rockabilly laced stomper with a raspy vocal crisp solo followed by the driving rendition of a Ray Charles number, "You're Just About To Lose Your Clown," with gutbucket tenor sax from Mark Wilson along with more fine guitar and a solid soulful, vocal. "Put It Down" is another rockabilly flavored performance with his tremolo-laced guitar prominent.
The funky R&B laced ""Took You Long Enough," is followed by a fine country duet with pianist Emily Gimble on a cover of a classic Ray Charles recording, "Here We Go Again," with his guitar in a supporting role. Malford Milligan handles the vocal on a good cover of the O.V. Wright classic, "Nickel and a Nail," with some searing guitar on a version evocative of the late Otis Clay with Roy Buchanan.
An instrumental take on the Smiley Lewis recording, "One Night of Sin" showcases Stivers playing with his judicious and thoughtful development of the solo and his attention to tone. "Can't Wait" is a nicely paced shuffle followed by the brooding "Save Me," again where he employs a heavy tremolo tone. The album closes with a searing guitar instrumental rendition of the James Brown classic "Cold Sweat," perhaps inspired by Albert King's similar treatment of this funk classic.
Stivers is a very good vocalist, and a guitarist who builds his solos in an intelligent and imaginative fashion, never overplays and makes use of his tone to great effect. Stivers establishes himself on "Took You Long Enough" as a roots rock and blues voice to keep one's ears open to.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review appeared in the July-August 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 373). Here Brad performs the Little Bob and the Lollipops hit (also redone by Los Lobos), "I Got Loaded."