The Terry Robb Band
BluesWax Rating: 8 out of 10
Try Something On the Robb Side
While we all drool over the Mississippi, Chicago, and Texas blues mega-centers sometimes we pay less attention to the smaller sub-centers which are hyperactive areas full of eccentric musicians pushing the music to new boundaries. The Pacific Northwest is an area that has more such artists than most communities, be it drama, art, or music; but they all work in unison to put projects into the public and further each of their careers. This is a very forward thinking community of artists that has a lot to offer. One of the musicians that has been a part of that world for a long time is Terry Robb.
Robb is mostly known for his acoustic guitar work, but I’ll leave that as a thing of the past for this project. On Muddyvishnu Terry plays electric and acoustic guitars, but the music is so complex that you can’t speak of it in such simple terms, but in terms of feel you can be very simple because it feels good. Terry knows how to convey feelings with his tools and through each song he tells a story using each note as a word.
As the title of the album suggests this is Muddy Waters meets Mahavishnu. I can’t think of many musicians to jump up and tell the music teacher that’s what they want to play. The teacher would tell them to open another Mel Bay book. Granted I wouldn’t tell die-hard Muddy fans to grab this album, but those open to some interpretations of another dimension, I would encourage.
There are two tracks that have vocals on the album. On one Robb takes the mike on while the late John Callahan drags out “Overdose” into a sensual painful joy. These songs break the album up like Leo Kottke’s Greenhouse album. Both are strong songs that stand out on this album, but once the next song starts you jump right back on the freight train running past at 100 mph. Robb is one of the cleanest guitarists with such melodic runs that even when he runs wild, its roots are thick as the redwoods or murky as Muddy’s waters.
Terry Robb has put out an album that you have to enter with an open mind, but the title says it all. The melting of two groups such as these is going to bring out some crazy results. Terry Robb has the skills to marry the two and make it listenable to people who enjoy tasty guitar work without a ton of excess. Be daring, take your pants off, run outside, and get this album. Did I mention to let your hair down?
Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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