Thanks to the many members of ZTribe, it’s ready!
I’m very pleased with how the “That’s The Way I Roll” album has turned out. I went for more of a horn section sound on most of the songs with my long time pal trumpet/arranger legend Lee Thornburg. Lee did all the arrangements and I threw in my two cents on “The Big Easy’s Gone Cold” and “Lover Be A Friend Tonight”. I love what he did with my harmonica intro on “That’s The Way I Roll” by arranging the section with my harp riffs. Bob Boykin’s guitar is screaming on the vamp out.
Of course, my harp is very present on this collection too. Lavelle Jones, a direct cousin of Little Walter himself plays drums on all but one song. We cut the drums in my living room for “My Babe” and during the session Lavelle called his cousin in Louisiana who is much older and knew Little Walter and we talked on the phone for a while. I asked about the scene in the movie “Cadillac Records” when Walter shoots a man and if it was accurate. He evaded answering the question directly by saying Little Walter was a little crazy. He was very funny and it was a cool moment of connection with one of my harp heroes and influences.
BR Millon’s playing and guidance was invaluable. He is truly one of the unsung guitar heroes of LA and the world. He’s also a great songwriter as “Nothin’ Like A Woman” confirms and he’s a great bass player too. He wrote the song for BMA winner Zac Harmon and I played on that song and others for Zac’s CD but Zac didn’t put it on the album so I asked BR if I could have it. Thanks Zac!!!
Speaking of Zac, back in 2005 he called wanting a harp lesson so when he came over I told him to bring his guitar and he played and sang on a song I was writing about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, “The Big Easy’s Gone Cold.” He is so funky. Check out the guitar parts. Back then I was overachieving playing the bass, keys, horns, vocals and harp. It came out better than I could have hoped for with Gary Ferguson laying down the funky groove on the drums and Christina Vierra is killer on BG vocals.
I came to my senses and was so fortunate to have Bonnie Raitt’s former keyboard man Mark Jordan and Mo Beeks on piano and organ on most of the songs. Big Fred from Sweden gets a funky New Orleans piano groove going on “Lover Be A Friend Tonight.”
I wrote “Ready For Love” on the piano using a blues riff I’d I’d made up to practice with. The lyrics were from the life I’m sure we’ve all lived at one time or another. I wish I’d got some of my talented friends to sing BGs with but no one was around so I did them. But, I did manage to get Lee Thornburg to write and play on the horn arrangement. BR Millon’s guitar and bass make the track and Lavelle Jones really swings on this one. I tried to match the harp solo on an earlier demo I’d done and I came close. The original was the shit.
My old buddy Mark Shark gets down and dirty on dobro and octave mandolin on “Missionary Man” along with New Orlean’s Vince Tividad on bass. Vince also played upright bass on “Dolores Dee Lovely.” PBass Jones plays acoustic bass on “Blue Venice,” a tribute to Charles Mingus with the exquisite song styling of Jeff Paris on piano. I play more tenor sax on this album than any of my previous releases and I hope you all enjoy listening to it as much as I did playing it.
I hope this collection of songs that we’ve released enlightens people to the various shades and colors of my harp and sax playing along with my songwriting and singing so that you come away feeling I’m not a One Trick Pony.