Mason Ruffner

You Can't Win

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There are 13 new songs on this disc and they range from some slow blues to his characteristic hard-driven Texas blues that he learned growing up in the Fort Worth. His main influences that you can hear are Jimmy Reed, Anson Funderburgh, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, though much of his vocal phrasing probably comes from the time he spent playing in Robert Ealey's band. His guitar playing is his strong point and he displays it well. From the tasteful slide work on "Mama's Girl" to the loping lines he uses on "Can't Stop Lovin' You," to the chuk chuk guitar of Back in the Alley" to the the hard-driving "Dee Blues." On this latter cut he lets his guitar soar and pound away at the restraints of the speakers, and spends his time really bending the wires to stretch any limits that remain. He makes excellent use of his horn players here, using them to augment his sound and make it fill up the room. A nod must be given at this point to Keith Sykes who co-produced the disc with Mason Ruffner for his contribution on that end. Its good to hear that rasp voice rubbing over the lyrics, but it is even better to hear the guitar-driven Texas blues of this man again. A dynamite performer if you get a chance to see him.

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