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Pearl River

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Album Review

Mike Zito is one who enjoys returning to his blues roots, playing electric guitar and ripping though songs with his sawtooth-sharp voice. Pearl River — his fifth album — is quite different than the previous effort Today, which was more rock-oriented, and focuses on not only contemporary urban tunes but a few acoustic folk-oriented ones, and the basis of all of his music, the sound of New Orleans. He's got help from guitarist Anders Osborne and keyboardist Reese Wynans from Stevie Ray Vaughan's band, and there are guest appearances from Cyril Neville, Johnny Sansone, Lynwood Slim, Randy Chortkoff (also his producer,) and Susan Cowsill (yes, she of the Cowsills fame). It's good to hear Zito dig deep into songs like the title track, Neville's pure, slow blues, the New Orleans shuffle treatment of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight to the Blind," and Mel London's rocksteady "Sugar Sweet." Zito is no slouch as a songwriter, and his "Dirty Blonde" is a swing jump blues, as he admonishes a lady "friend" for her entire persona being low-down and scurrilous from the neck down. He does get into some choogling voodoo à la Charlie Musselwhite, and plays toy piano on "The Dead of Night," while the acoustic tunes, especially with rising star Osborne, offer a sweeter side to Zito's normally rough exterior. With Cowsill, "Shoes Blues" is the most humorous song, and interactive as he trades lines with the former pop star/girl next door. This is not a cookie-cutter album from Zito and friends, as it shows off all the musical styles that have led him to the point of being an individualist. It's well worth the purchase price, and comes highly recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 19 November 1970 in St Louis, MO

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Guitarist Mike Zito was born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 19, 1970. He got his start in music by singing at local events at a young age. As a teenager he picked up the guitar and began playing regularly around his hometown. By 2008 Zito was releasing records on his own self-titled label while touring the U.S; this was also the year he signed with Eclecto Groove Records and released Today. Pearl River was released the following year, and Zito was awarded Song of the Year at the 2010 Blues Music...
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Pearl River, Mike Zito
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