Rob Stone

Back Around Here

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Seven years in between recordings, vocalist and harmonica player Rob Stone sure has all his ducks in a row with this first-class recording of blues straight from the heart of Chicago. As talented as anyone on the scene, Stone's trimmed and burning harp complements his soulful vocals, the Midwestern equivalent to an East Coaster like Darrell Nulisch, or collectively, Roomful of Blues. With instrumental help from the vaunted team of Chris James and Patrick Rynn, who also co-write the tunes, legendary drummers Sam Lay or Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Aaron Moore, and David Maxwell, Stone can do no wrong on this set of his originals and select urban blues classics. He's either typically old-school rockin', shufflin', or chooglin' along on these tunes steady as a freight train. Stone's personalized harp in the style of Little Walter rises to the top on the instrumental "Dragon Killers," digs into classic boogie during "Can't Turn Back the Clock," and even does a calypso thing for the autobiographical "Chicago All Night." Maxwell's timeless barrelhouse style is always welcome for any band to utilize, and he's doing it all-out, as "Sloppy Drunk Blues" is very similar to the Ray Charles evergreen "Mess Around." While some might find this child's play and simplistic for this excellent band, the deconstruction and reconstruction of standard Chi-Town blues heard here, with fine attention to detail, are precisely the elements that make Back Around Here a thoroughly enjoyable effort, far from garden variety, and one you'll want in your collection.

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