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Al Smyth: Comfort Me (Al Smyth, 2007).

Al Smyth (guitar, dobro, vocals); Sherri Williams (vocals); Joe Miller (drums, snare drum); Steve Perakis/Bruce Burton/Todd Silas (bass); Linda Dachtyl (keyboards); Max Marshall (sax, flute); Adam Sheets (harmonica); Cary Dachtyl (percussion); Ann Fisher (fife); Tony Antonelli (snare drum); Julie Carr Smyth & Brian Lucey (backup vocals).

Comfort Me, the sophomore release from Columbus, Ohio based, guitar slinger Al Smyth is here, and what a scorcher it is. Purists beware! This isn't your daddy's blues, but that's a good thing, as this is one of the coolest and most enjoyable discs that I've heard in ages. Comfort Me is packed full of slashing slide guitar, rock, soul, '70s funk, Americana, and '60s British Blues all meshed together to create a fascinating musical blend that satisfies from the very first note, to the fading sounds of the fife & snare drum that close this thoroughly engaging, well-written, and well-produced set.

The shuffling, stripped-down, title track opens things up with a stop-start blues rhythm and excellent horn work that leads into "KEEF," an urgent blues rocker and Keith Richards lovefest that sounds very much like prime Stones. "Murder of Crow" is a slow soul blues number that introduces the vocals of Sherri Williams, whose performance throughout this great set is a genuine lesson in passion and pizzazz, while "Bad Luck (That's What I'm Talking About)," is a forceful romp that finds Smyth with just his Dobro on a scorching Delta blues based number. The powerful "Mean Ol' Fireman" is a full-throttle rocker, a-la-The Faces/Black Crowes, with one hot slide lick after another driving the song along. Smyth and company step it up on the stunning "Hard Times," a delightfully funky workout that finds the guitarist and his band really laying into the groove on one of the hottest numbers here, while "Tell a Vision," with its flute and exotic percussion, brings a more rootsy and even jazzy feel to Smyth's table. 

Other highlights include Sherri Williams' return for the full-blown Texas roadhouse blues of "Thorn in my Side," while "Julie's Song," with it's intense slide attack, and "Miss Vera," a laid-back jazzy interlude with Smyth's dead-on Dr. John vocal style, displays his incredible versatility and instrumental prowess. The muscular "Drinkin Man Blues," is a remarkably stripped-down affair that showcases some of Smyth's finest slide work of the album, while the rocking Hill Country stomper, "White Lightning," with Williams on vocals, closes the set, complete with fife and snare drums in tow. It's one of the most memorable performances here, with everyone in fine form, closing out a remarkably satisfying album that leaves you wanting more.

All in all, Comfort Me is a utterly superb release that displays the rugged blues rock that is indicative of Smyth's approach, featuring strong songwriting and economical playing that's far more mature and eclectic than most blues-rock bands' best work. Backed by some of the Heartland's finest musicians, Smyth is a truly gifted guitarist who has put together one killer, no filler album of explosive blues-based rock that's one of the best independent releases to come my way so far this year. 

Copyright © 2007 Robert D. Lehrian/Supporting the Blues. All rights reserved.

Supporting the Blues

 

Oracles Music Network

Concert Review

13th Annual Columbus Blues Alliance Acoustic Blues Festival

"So I have not mentioned the 2nd stage yet. It is nestled in the hallway and is for local blues talent. I’m walking by this stage and all of a sudden I hear the guitar strands of Frank Zappa’s “Zoot Allures”. I stop in my tracks and see that Columbus, Ohio’s own Al Smyth is getting it done in fine fashion. I stick around for the remaining half hour of his set and was completely impressed. Afterwards, the following conversation occurred:

Me (With Dark Horse in Hand): If I had a medal, I would give it to you.
Al Smyth: Why?
Me: Because you don’t get a lot of Frank Zappa references these days.
Al Smyth: Thanks for that, we like to color outside the lines.

His last statement pretty much sums it up. If you like eclectic, check him out. I picked up Smyth’s Comfort Me CD and I really like it. That’s a write-up for another time."

Oracles Music Network

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Review from the Other Paper

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Praise from John Petric

Columbus Dispatch Article  

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Hometown boy makes good 

(or man bites blues dog)

 

Al Smyth's comfort me listed in

REAL BLUES Magazine's TOP 100 blues recordings of 2007

REAL BLUES ‘Top Releases’ charts are based on what CD’s, DVD’s, Books we have received in the previous 12 Calendar months. Like our Top 100 List all have been graded as ‘Highly Recommended Purchases’ and all selections are based solely on Artistic/Spiritual Merit. Selections have already been reviewed or will be within the next issue. This list is a ‘Bribery-free’ listing so you can ‘take-it-to-the-bank’.

Al Smyth's comfort me listed for over 15 weeks on Roots Music Report top 50 !!

Roots Music Report  charts Are Not Compiled by a Record Company, Record Promotion Company or by any Organization or Affiliate  that has an interest in financial gain from any particular record or artist. RMR is not responsible for content of news and articles posted on this site, excluding those composed by RMR. Enjoy our roots / americana music charts our blues music charts, bluegrass music charts, folk music charts, roots rock music charts , jazz music charts, reggae music charts, roots gospel music charts, western swing music charts, true country music charts, and our zydeco music charts. The top 100 and the top 50 of each genre. Roots Music Report helping indie artist receive radio airplay chart recognition.

TANGLED UP IN BLUES is a weekly 2-hour radio broadcast showcasing the very best in National & Local BLUES talent. Hosted by Cornel Bogdan, TANGLED UP IN BLUES airs each SUNDAY NIGHT on WNCD 93.3FM The Wolf in Youngstown, Ohio from 7:00-9:00 pm.Each week we wil upload the show for your listening pleasure.

WNCD 93.3FM The Wolf - BEST BLUES OF 2007

  • KOKO TAYLOR
  • KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD with BRYAN LEE
  • ALVIN LEE
  • JASON RICCI BAND
  • ANA POPOVIC
  • ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND with SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY
  • COREY STEVENS
  • TOMMY CASTRO
  • JOE BONAMASSA
  • DUKE ROBILLARD
  • AL SMYTH <---- !!!!
  • WILLIE PHOENIX
  • THE WHITE STRIPES
  • MICK JAGGER
  • ELAM McKNIGHT
  • SUE FOLEY/DEBORAH COLEMAN/ROXANNE POTVIN
  • BUCK69
  • OMAR KENT DYKES & JIMMIE VAUGHAN
  • BOBBY RUSH
  • ROD PIAZZA & THE MIGHTY FLYERS
  • VAN MORRISON & BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND"
  • COLIN DUSSAULT (HOMETOWN ARTIST)
  • GARY MOORE
  • JOHN HAMMOND

C.B. ROY'S MOSTLY BLUES TOP 25 AIRPLAY 

 

  Top 25 CDs for January 2008 

1  RONNIE EARL - HOPE RADIO ----- Stony Plain

2  ANA POPOVICH - STILL MAKING HISTORY ----- Eclectogroove      

3  L.A. BLUES ALLIANCE - WHAT A LIFE ----- Fontana
4  DIANA BRAITHWAITE & CHRIS WHITELEY - MORNING SUN -----Electro-Fi

5  STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN - SOLOS, SESSIONS & ENCORES --- Epic/Legacy

6  JASON RICCI & NEW BLOOD - ROCKET NUMBER 9 --- Eclecto Groove
7  ROOMFUL OF BLUES RAISIN' A RUCKUS ALLIGATOR

8  PHANTOM BLUES BAND - FOOTPRINTS ----- Delta Groove 
9
  
L.Z. LOVE & LIGHTNIN' RED - GUT BUCKET BLUES ---- private

10  CHARLIE MORRIS BAND - WHAT A SCENE! ----- Blues Pages
11  ALVIN LEE - SAGUITAR ----- Rainman

12  DEBBIE DAVIES - BLUES BLAST - Telarc

13  JOAN ARMATRADING - INTO THE BLUES ----- 429

14  LURRIE BELL - LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE ----- Aria B.G.
15  CHRIS DUARTE GROUP - BLUE VELOCITY --- Blues Bureau

16  ROY ROGERS - THE BEST OF 2 ----- Chops Not Chaps

17  STAN HEDGES - TWO MULE PARADE ----- Stan The Man

18  LITTLE ARTHUR DUNCAN - LIVE AT ROSA'S --- Delmark

19  HOWARD GLAZER & EL 34'S - LIQUOR STORE LEGEND -- Random Chance

20  RUTHIE FOSTER - THE PHENOMENAL RUTHIE FOSTER ---- Blue Corn

21  AL SMYTH - COMFORT ME ----- FBNCC

22  JOHN NEMETH - MAGIC TOUCH ---- Blind Pig 

23  GARY MOORE - CLOSE AS YOU GET ----- Eagle

24  NICK GORDON - CHRONIC BLUES PARTY ---- Swing Suit

25  GERRY HUNDT - SINCE WAY BACK ----- Blue Bella

 

Midnight Flyer is heard Saturdays on KEGR-FM, CONCORD, CA; Thursdays on KKIT-FM, TAOS, NM; and Saturday & Monday on www.fatmusicradio.com

contact: norman@midnightflyerblues.com

BLUE COLLAR BIG TEN CDs FOR 2005

Comfort Me review 
Body: Al Smyth: Comfort Me (Al Smyth, 2007)

Comfort Me, the supercharged 2nd release from Columbus, Ohio based, Al Smyth, the self-proclaimed, “Grand Wazoo” of the I.O.O.F.B.n.C.C. (That’s the International Order of Free Beer n’ Chicken Coalition for those not hip to these things) has arrived, and what a scorcher it is. Purists beware! This ain’t your daddy’s blues, but that’s a good thing, as this is one of the coolest and most enjoyable discs that I’ve heard in ages. Smyth’s sophomore outing is packed full of slashing slide guitar, rock, soul, ‘70s funk, Americana, and ‘60s British Blues all meshed together to create a fascinating musical blend that satisfies from the very first note to the fading sounds of the fife & snare drum that closes this thoroughly engaging, well-written, and well-produced set.

The shuffling, stripped-down, title track opens things up with a stop-start blues rhythm and excellent horn work that leads into "KEEF," an urgent blues rocker and obvious Keith Richards tribute that sounds very much like prime Stones. “Murder of Crow” is a slow soul blues number that introduces the absolutely gorgeous vocals of Sherri Williams, whose performance throughout this great set is a genuine lesson in passion and pizzazz, while “Bad Luck (That’s What I’m Talking About),” is a forceful romp that finds Smyth with just his Dobro on a scorching Delta blues based number. The powerful “Mean Ol' Fireman” is a full-blown rocker, a-la-The Faces/Black Crowes, with one hot slide lick after another driving the song along. Smyth and company step it up on the stunning “Hard Times,” a delightfully funky workout that finds the guitarist and his band really laying into the groove on one of the hottest numbers here, while "Tell a Vision," with its flute and exotic percussion, brings a more rootsy and even jazzy feel to Smyth’s table. Sherri Williams returns for the full-blown Texas roadhouse blues of “Thorn in my Side,” while “Julie’s Song,” with it’s intense slide attack, and “Miss Vera,” a laid-back jazzy interlude with Smyth’s dead-on Dr. John vocal style, displays his incredible versatility and instrumental prowess. The muscular “Drinkin Man Blues,” is a remarkably stripped-down affair that showcases some of Smyth’s finest slide work of the album, while the rocking Hill Country stomper, “White Lightning” closes the set, complete with fife and snare drums in tow. It’s one of the most memorable performances here, with everyone in fine form, closing out a remarkable album on a high note that genuinely leaves you wanting more.

All in all, Comfort Me is a utterly superb release that displays the rugged blues rock that is indicative of Smyth’s approach, featuring strong songwriting and economical playing that’s far more mature and eclectic than most blues-rock bands' best work. Backed by some of the Heartland’s finest musicians, Smyth is a truly gifted guitarist who has put together one killer, no filler album of explosive blues-based rock that’s easily one of my top 10 albums of the year. 


Rob Lehrian/Supporting the Blues