Review: Mississippi Fever – 300 Miles To Memphis

Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 29, 2015


Mississippi Fever – 300 Miles To Memphis


Mississippi Fever have been in existence since 2009 but the association of Brent Barker; vocals and guitar, and Louisianan, Ted May; bass, covers about twenty five years, they first met when they were recruited to play for a Los Angeles band, this tenure was short lived and Brent went back to his day job as a television and film soundtrack musician, while Ted continued to play bass for a string of L. A. based bands. The two met up again years later by accident in Louisiana, where they both had returned to with their families.

The man making up the trio is Tom May, brother of Ted, who on drums underpins their punchy, driving blues / rock power music machine which is currently turning people’s heads around. This, their second album consists of ten numbers two of which are covers. The numbers here reflect the many experiences of thirty or so years of individual and collective music making, all now poured into one highly combustible sound. Their stripped down clean, sparse and crisp style is splendidly reflected in the production, where the bass and drums reverberate in and around a stark, searing and raw guitar style that demands you sit up and take notice.

The music possesses a transatlantic feel that reaches out further than a common or garden power trio, for in the music there is a positive mixture of hurt and genuine emotion, “Feel Like Superman”, bursts from the speakers with a searing and funky chocka-chocka wah-wah guitar that is urged on by a driving and pulsating organ courtesy of Steve Grimes, Brent’s rasping vocals commandingly punctuates the pumping percussion. The calmer and more subdued hill country inspired cover of Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues”, evolves into a rather pleasant foot-tapping shuffler.

Z.Z. Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” starts with a light and airy acoustic guitar then is transformed into a burgeoning blunt bass slow burner with a building and roaring guitar, underneath this there is a bubble bursting organ undercurrent courtesy of Rick Steff. The building, slowburning romancer “Steal Away Your Love”, beautifully incorporates a late night smoky rolling piano again, courtesy of Rick Steff with a thumping bass and percussion underpinning a thoughtful and mellow guitar.

“Downtown Train”, Returns us nicely to a raw, power infused funk it up swaggering guitar fuelled ditty. “Three Hundred Miles to Memphis”, is a foot stamping, tramping, pulveriser incorporating a wonderfully wheezy and rasping Chicago evoking harmonica from Brandon Santini that is seductively entwined with a captivating and pulsating guitar, underpinned with driving percussion.



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