A Hundred Years From Today
Out of the Past Music
Steve Howell & the Might Men's "Yes I Believe I Will," I found to be "a delightful, congenial mix of folk, country and blues that will appeal to a wide range of roots music listeners." Howell's latest is an acoustic collaboration with Weinheimer, a member of the Mighty Men, as they interpret early jazz and blues numbers from a variety of sources including Mississippi John Hurt, Jim Jackson, Jack Teagarden, Louis Armstrong and Bo Carter.
Howell's easy flowing finger style guitar and genial vocals are supported by Weinheimer's bass starting with "Lulu's Back in Town" that was first popularized by Fats Waller. Howell does lack the exuberance that Waller had, with a low-key singing approach that is analogous to Mississippi John Hurt, even if he doesn't have quite the warmth of Hurt's vocals (but who does). Of the pleasures to be heard here are covers of a couple of Hurt's recordings including a marvelous "Louis Collins." There is a nice reading of Jim Jackson's "Kansas City Blues," along with the reflective title track that he learned from Jack Teagarden. An earnest "Basin Street Blues" is followed by the medley of "Limehouse Blues" and "After You've Gone" with superb finger style playing and a genial vocal on the latter number."
After a jaunty version of Bo Carter's "Who's Been Here" (Carter's rendering of "Alabamy Bound"), Howell closes this with an affecting rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair," that was a staple of Jack Teagarden and Louis Armstrong's repertoire, and often a highlight of Armstrong's All Stars when Teagarden was a member. Living Blues once characterized Howell as a "gentle, Deep South-inspired acoustic troubadour," and this thoroughly captivating, if brief, recording displays why with his affable and charming performances.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the July-August Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 374). Here the two perform "Kansas City Blues."