Sean Carney's Midwestern, authentic blues took him to a first place showing in 2007 at the International Blues Competition in Memphis, TN. A resulting tour to Florida, back home to Columbus, OH and headed for Alberta, Canada in the middle of winter saw Carney and drummer Eric Blume joining Canadians Graham Guest (piano & organ) and Ampeg baby bassist Chris Brzezicki for six club dates at Blues on Whyte in Edmonton for this recording, obviously edited down from the extended stay to these ten tracks. Carney is a no-nonsense singer and guitarist, a bit crude at times, using less than clean lyrics, with a rockabilly foundation and a lean, tough voice that effortlessly expresses contemporary and traditional man/woman themes. Guest and Brzezicki are more than up to the challenge, fitting in quite well for allegedly being sit-in replacements. Mindful of tradition, Carney does a cover of the Jimmy Witherspoon coy, cool blues-swing evergreen anthem for the times, incorrectly titled "Money's Getting Cheaper," actually "Times Gettin' Tougher Than Tough." He more faithfully brings Willie Dixon's legendary "29 Ways" with a tinkling piano from Guest, and "Too Many Cooks" in a slick calypso beat with a sly organ sound. Bobby "Blue" Bland's "It's My Life Baby" kicks off the set in a typical, upbeat choogling shuffle. Of Carney's originals, the curdling, downhearted, real slow "What Can I Say?" has the most honest emotional content, though the background crowd noise is a bit much. Songs like the rock to shuffle "All These Worries" (with lines like "I wanna get high so I don't know what's going on," and "put me out of my misery" send the wrong message), Detroit Junior's long, loping "Call My Job" and the ballad "Life of Ease" include questionable lyrics, blue, not obscene, but inappropriate for radio airplay or younger audiences. After two CDs, Carney is well-deserving of his accolades from an artistic and musical standpoint when concentrating on good, old-fashioned blues with sophistication. Die-hard blues fans won't care about the rough edges and flip lyrics, but his third recording should be the one that breaks him out to a national audience.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos