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Tear Chicago Down

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Album Review

The Kilborn Alley Blues Band is the real deal, a rip snortin', fire breathin' gang that puts heart and soul into every note they play. Gritty, raw, and a bit sloppy in the best sense of the word, they hold nothing back and play the blues with a nasty rock edge that will appeal to youngsters as well as die-hard fans. They kick things off with "I'm Spent," a Chicago-meets-the Delta rave-up with hints of Little Walter in the wailing harmonica work of Joe Asselin. Andrew Duncanson lays back on the lead guitar to deliver a sweaty lead vocal while Asselin's honking accents up the ante. "Christmas in County" has a Memphis soul feel, the sad tale of a Christmas Eve drug bust, with stinging lead guitar work from Duncanson and wailing harp from Asselin laid down over the sinister groove of Chris Breen's bass and Ed O'Hara's drums. "Come Home Soon" has a bit of Al Green in its arrangement, a sad tale of a soldier in Iraq longing for his family. Sideman Gerry Hundt's organ provides a churchy, sanctified vibe to the proceedings, complementing Duncanson's sparse, stinging guitar and weary vocal. "Redneck in a Soul Band" is played tongue in cheek with a bouncy, bluegrass-like rhythm. Duncanson's singing is pure Chicago while Asselin's country blues harp zigzags in and out of the mix like a hungry fly dive bombing a puddle of barbecue sauce. Breen's extended melodic bassline brings extra tension to the aching soul of "It's a Pity." Duncanson's big, emotional vocal and his searing guitar set up Asselin's minimal but effective solo on this tale of anger and heartache. On funky dance tracks like "Lay It Down" and the title track, the ensemble lays down deep grooves marked by solos with an innate swing that's always impressive. Every member of this fine quintet can play their ass off, with Duncanson's guitar and Asselin's harp the obvious standouts, but everyone in the ensemble contributes formidable chops to this blistering set. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Tear Chicago Down, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band
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