Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dreamin’ - Grady Champion (GSM Music)

2010 international Blues Challenge winner Grady Champion proves the blues has a future with the release of fifth album Dreamin’. The ten track album of original material, produced by Champion and partners in crime Zac Harmon and Christopher Troy, mixes elements of a variety of styles from traditional blues to sweaty R&B, gospel ,pop and soul, all recorded with finesse rarely found on independent CD’s.

Although billed as “contemporary blues” their use of hip hop influenced electronic percussion, soulful backups and effects, alongside gritty guitar and wailing harmonica, Champion and Co. may have created a new genre something akin to “Neo-Blues.” All the songs feature Champions’ smoky tenor and hot harp playing reminiscent of a young James Brown or little Walter. Champion knows when to lay it down smooth and when to shout.

Strongest among the tracks are the sassy title tune, featuring backups from Sue Ann Carwell who sang on Purple Rain. The foot stomping “Same Train,” brings the blues in the twenty first century. “Make That Monkey Jump,” is sure fired to bring the house down, and old school fans get a nod with “Thank You for Giving Me the Blues,” with its new spin on a twelve bar. Grady Champion proves he is here to stay and worthy of the accolades with Dreamin’, a champion indeed.

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