Al Smyth: Comfort Me (Al Smyth, 2007).
|Oracles Music Network||
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:
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."
|Other Paper Review||
Praise from John Petric
|Columbus Dispatch Article||
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 !!
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WNCD 93.3FM The Wolf - BEST BLUES OF 2007
C.B. ROY'S MOSTLY BLUES TOP 25 AIRPLAY
Top 25 CDs for January 2008
1 RONNIE EARL - HOPE RADIO ----- Stony Plain
POPOVICH - STILL MAKING HISTORY ----- Eclectogroove
L.A. BLUES ALLIANCE - WHAT A LIFE ----- Fontana
5 STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN - SOLOS, SESSIONS & ENCORES --- Epic/Legacy
JASON RICCI & NEW BLOOD - ROCKET NUMBER 9 --- Eclecto Groove
BLUES BAND - FOOTPRINTS ----- Delta Groove
CHARLIE MORRIS BAND - WHAT A SCENE! ----- Blues Pages
12 DEBBIE DAVIES - BLUES BLAST - Telarc
13 JOAN ARMATRADING - INTO THE BLUES ----- 429
BELL - LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE ----- Aria B.G.
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
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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