Review: Kevin Selfe – Long Walk Home

Posted on: Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013

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Kevin Selfe – Long Walk Home

(Delta Groove Music: DGPCD157)

Here’s another top-notch high quality blues album from the good folk at Delta Groove, featuring Virginia-born; Portland, Oregon-based guitarist Kevin Selfe – containing 11 self-penned tunes in a traditional blues style, but with a modern edge, and a host of great players on board.

Selfe seemed bound for a career as a weatherman after graduating in Meteorology from North Caroline State University, but when the blues came calling that was abandoned for a career in music. He relocated from his hometown to Portland in 1997 and his band, Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes have become a big North West favourite.

The core band on “Long Walk Home” comprises himself on vocals and guitar; the great Jimi Bott on drums and Allen Markel on bass. Stellar help comes from the likes of Mitch Kashmar, Gene Taylor and Doug James, with a number of other musicians featured, including an excellent horn section.

Kevin Selfe’s playing is measured and tasteful throughout, and on the opening “Duct Tape On My Soul” he channels some fine T-Bone Walker licks, his gritty voice being of the highest order too. The following horn-drenched “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” is a rolling, funky treat with Mitch Kashmar’s sweet harmonica featured; it’s back to T-Bone territory on the slow blues of “Moving Day Blues”, weighing in at a leisurely 6:21, giving Selfe time to stretch out, with the piano of Gene Taylor in fine form behind him.

The acoustic-based country blues of “Last Crossroad” changes the pace somewhat, with Selfe’s slashing slide and tough vocal, and exemplary work from Jimi Bott – at whose home studio the album was recorded. “Dancing Girl” recalls the tough West Side Chicago blues of the late, great Magic Sam and is a standout here. The epic “Midnight Creeper” starts off with some grungy electric slide, which continues throughout its 7:09, with the rhythm section of Bott and Allen Markel giving it a somewhat ‘voodoo’ feel.

Elsewhere “Walking Funny” is a swinging gem, with the horns of Joe McCarthy, Chris Mercer and Brad Ulrich to the fore, with Gene Taylor tinkling the ivories to fine effect; the acoustic slide is highlighted with a ‘talking’ vocal on “The Blues Is My Home”, a sort of auto-biographical tune about how the blues came to Selfe. This highly recommended album ends in a rousing manner with the breakneck-paced Elmore James-type stomper, “Put Me Back In Jail” . . . kudos hear to Steve Kerin on piano.

Definitely a name to watch for – Selfe is touring worldwide to support the album . . . which tends to sadly not mean the UK these days . . . fingers crossed though, here’s hoping!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.kevinselfe.com

www.deltagroovemusic.com

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