MP3 Still At Large - BLUES: Rockin' Blues
Eclectic all-original mix of Blues, Blues-rock and Funk styles in the spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Walter Trout, and Eric Clapton.
11 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Rockin'' Blues, BLUES: Electric Blues
Still At Large
Michael George Bruce - Guitar, Vocals
Elder statesman of the group, as well as the Bruce clan: eight siblings, all players. Sometimes unfairly compared with you-know-who (SRV), Mike''s energetic, in-your-face guitar delivery can''t disguise the uncanny melodic sense that sets his playing apart. Less well known is his singular ability as a country picker. A prolific songwriter in several genres, Mike can also occasionally be heard playing bass or steel guitar. Add to this his searing vocals and you pretty much have the complete package. Mike has made many trips across Canada, with a variety of blues, rock, and country acts. Some of more memorable ones would be Rare Breed, Texas Road and Crossfire.
Tom MacGuigan - Bass
Versatile six-string bass powerhouse. Former jazz snob with a wealth of experience playing blues, jazz, r''n''b and rock gigs. Well-respected teacher of bass and guitar. Listen closely and you can hear the influence of players like John Paul Jones, Tommy Shannon and Johnny B. Gayden. Some notable employers/stagemates include Dr. John, Lazy Lester, Wildchild Butler, Alberta Adams, Robert Penn, Robert Noll, Zoom, Chicago Pete, Harmonica Shah, The Windsor Dukes, Robin Banks and others, as well as almost every band that ever played at the Aardvark!
James Bruce - Guitar, Vocals
Youngest member of this group, as well as the Bruce bunch. James''s soulful, restrained playing can bring to mind the likes of BB or EC, with an emphasis on expression over athletics. Get him fired up though, and he rocks as hard as anyone. Likewise James'' voice suits him well from blues to ballads, pop, country and modern rock. He was coerced into playing bass for a time in the past, and swears that won''t happen again! Jamie has played with blues, country and rock acts like Crossfire, 3 Hits and a Miss, the New Chicago Blues Bar house band and more.
Jack Lehoux - Drums,Vocals
Another product of a musical family, Jack''s parents gigged well into their 70''s. Rock-solid, on the money, tight; call it what you will, Jack lays it down. Nothing more than just what you need, with his trademark blend of blues, rock, funk and country. Takes care of business too, sings harmony and lead, teaches; what more could you ask? How about playing a little guitar or mandolin when no-one is looking! Thousands of gigs have seen Jack working with folks like Lynne and the Rebels, Mirage, Toronto punkers Lonely Knights..... and lots more he can''t remember.
It certainly is shocking that this band is "still at large", at least in Toronto, the hub of high-quality Blues music in Ontario. I haven''t heard this exciting calibre of talent since I first heard Coldsweat playing on the Danforth in Toronto three years ago! Their mutual affinity for Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan is particularly acute on the scorching blues-rocker "Oh, Well" as well as "Slide On In" (a hard-edge funk-blues fusion).
Although their core formation is a quartet (Michael George Bruce on guitars, vocals, Tom MacGuigan on bass, James Bruce on guitar, vocals and Jack Lehoux on drums, vocals), they added extra layering from Debbie Power on piano and Wurlitzer and Larry Thompson on Hammond organ on this début recording, just as the Coldsweat quartet enlisted the aid of Michael Fonfara to fill out their otherwise rock-steady sound.
The opening track, "Aardvark Blues Cafe", a musical ode to their "home base" in Windsor, features co-producer Mark Plancke on "vocal shouts". It impressed me as a song that Chuck Berry might have played, had he been disposed to incorporate more of a Blues edge into his trademark rock''n''roll sound. The dramatic rockin'' strut introducing "Bits and Pieces" simultaneously brought to mind Deep Purple''s "Maybe I''m a Leo" as well as the Eagles'' "Victim of Love", providing solid testimony to their rockin'' roots.
The laid-back psychedelia of legendary organ trios reigns on "I Can''t Lose When I Choose the Blues" followed by the mildly insipid but otherwise catchy "Loved You Like a Fool" and "You Never Can Tell".
The turning point of the CD is "Whoa Is Me", a staggering, swaggering slice of soulful blues guitar. Being a big fan of Z.Z. Top and Eric Clapton, I definitely favoured the second half of this CD, which contains two of the website song samples ("Question of the Blues" and "Blackjack Ruby Jones") that actually "sold" me on them originally. That being said, I was certainly not disappointed with anything on the entire CD. I am very proud to have it included among the favourites of my CD collection!
There is a definite learning curve that is overcome after many years of teaming up in different bands, and these four guys have found the ideal combination that defines the perfection of sound obtained from a committed group effort. While Still at Large features one smashing track after the other, the closing manic-paced jam, "Tired of This Town" (ending with an unusual knock-out drum solo), truly demonstrates the kind of instinctive, innate talent that just can''t be learned.
Bassist Tom MacGuigan, whose vocals would appeal more to female fans, told me there''s a video floating around somewhere of the time when Jeff Healey sat in with the Robin Banks Bank when Tom was playing bass with them. From Still at Large''s collective history with bands like Robert Noll, Robert Penn, Crossfire, Lynne and the Rebels, it''s easy to see these guys have a well-rounded ability to play just about anything that''s requested of them, and they usually do. Still, with criminally tasty originals like these, it''s time for these guys to get "captured" by the public!
Review courtesy of DDRocker
"The CD features solid vocals, strong guitar and quality song writing. All in all, an excellent set."
"This cd is great !!! I am really impressed with parts of this. Nice work."
"Still At Large in general produced a nice collection of songs and we consider ourselves lucky to have this CD in our collection."