Nick Moss / Nick Moss Band

Lucky Guy!

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The first time the Nick Moss Band recorded a full album with harpist Dennis Gruenling went so well, the gang decided to reconvene for a second set just a year later. Like many sequels, 2019's Lucky Guy! doesn't offer surprises, but it could be argued that The High Cost of Low Living didn't exactly shock either. That was by design. Moss and Gruenling make it their mission to keep the greasy sound of Chicago blues alive, and while they're traditionalists, they're not stuck in the past. Lucky Guy! makes that plain by heavily relying on originals -- Moss wrote 11 of the tunes, with Gruenling delivering a matching pair for good measure -- that let the band show both a bawdy sense of humor and a big heart. The latter is evident on the closing "The Comet," a song written in salute to the departed Mike Ledbetter. Its stripped-down arrangement is an understated, moving coda to a high-octane record, but it's not the only song to offer a slight departure from the norm: the instrumental "Cutting the Monkey's Tail" is a sly, jazzy treat; "Full Moon Ache" bounces to a beat that threatens to break into rockabilly; and "Hot Zucchini" is a clever update on Booker T. & the M.G.'s. These accents help make Lucky Guy! something that's a bit more than reliable modern Chicago blues; they help the album seem alive and fresh.

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