Review: Mike Zito & The Wheel – Songs From The Road (CD + DVD)

Posted on: Friday, Nov 14, 2014

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Mike Zito & The Wheel – Songs From The Road (CD + DVD)

(Ruf Records: RUF 1206)

Here’s another excellent addition to the Ruf Records “Songs From The Road” series, featuring St. Louis-raised, Texas-based singer and guitarist, the much in-demand Mike Zito – a frequent visitor to our shores over the last few years, both solo and as a member of The Royal Southern Brotherhood. He’s caught live here at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands, Texas with his band The Wheel, with the show captured on a second disc DVD!

The track listing covers several of his fine back-catalogue, with just a few changes between the live audio and DVD . . . it is a mixture of roadhouse rocking, blues and funk, all delivered by Zito on guitar and vocals, with Jimmy Carpenter (saxophone and vocals), Scot Sutherland (bass and vocals), Lewis Stephens (keyboards) and Rob Lee (drums) . . . a top, top band for sure.

There is not really a duff track here, from the funky opener “Don’t Break A Leg” through to the autobiographical closer “Gone To Texas”. Zito’s voice and guitar soar throughout, with Jimmy Carpenter’s superb saxophone the perfect foil. Other highlights are the rocking “Greyhound” recalling when a drug-addicted Zito bought a one-way ticket to Florida in 2002, to get away and start afresh; a  nice take on Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and a majestic version of his co-write with Cyril Neville, and title track of a studio album, “Pearl River”.

The blues shuffle of “Dirty Blonde” catches fire with a great performance from all present, which is followed by the funky “Subtraction Blues”, with sterling work from Carpenter and keyboard player Lewis Stephens.

As previously mentioned the second disc is a DVD of the show, with a couple of alterations from the audio – a highlight being the later-period Freddie King tune, “Texas Flyer”. Mike Zito’s profile is pretty high at the moment and all fans of blues, Americana and more will thoroughly enjoy this fine package.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.rufrecords.de

www.mikezito.com

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