Wake Up & Worry
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Mitch Kashmar is an established West Coast harmonica veteran who has been knocking around for several decades but first made a dent on the international blues scene with his 2005 Delta Groove debut, Nickels & Dimes. As if to make up for lost time, he followed it up a year later with Wake Up and Worry, another solid blast of left coast swinging blues. Ignore the cartoonish and rather garish cover of a groggy Kashmar in a bathrobe surrounded by scantily clad models and dive into the disc for a rollicking jump blues party. Kashmar has a surprisingly compelling and distinctive voice, but it's his astounding harp work that propels this music. Sure, there is plenty of Little Walter's overdriven electrified blowing in his style — he covers both "Dead Presidents" and Walter's "Up the Line" — but Kashmar puts his individual stamp on this sizzling music. Blues fans familiar with Little Charlie & the Nightcats will want to own this as well, since Kashmar works comparable territory. The harpist/singer takes a break from his jaunty style for "I'm Sorry," a jazzy R&B ballad with female backing singers and some tasty guitar lines from John Marx. Elsewhere, Rusty Zinn and Junior Watson, two of the finest West Coast guitarists, add their energy and talent to an album that has no low points. Those who remember the late William Clarke will also gravitate toward this as Kashmar works a similar groove and possesses the same combination of nimbleness and attitude that characterized Clarke at his finest. The album's closing instrumental shuffle of "The Waddle" will leave any blues fan impressed with its thick, gooey solos but the entire disc is one of the finest contemporary blues harp albums of the year. If Kashmar can maintain the quality and pace of this output, he should find belated fame as the master of the instrument he obviously is.
Man he's got it, I do believe he's got it. I can't think of anyone in the contemporary blues idiom who is blowin' a Mississippi saxophone like Mitch Kashmar. He is right up there with some of the all time greats. As a double threat he sings in the Bobby Bland school of Blues mixed with Soul. This is someone to keep your eyes on as well as your ears.
Groove Along With Mitch!
What a talented cat this MItch Kasmar is, Y'all! And ya sure can't go wrong makin' blue music with Jr. Watson and Rusty Zinn, right? If I'm not mistaken I caught MK at King Biscuit in '09 and even with sort of a pickup band he put on one helluva set (but sure looked as if he coulda stood to have "spruced up" a bit . . . referee shoes?!) Anyway, - and for what its worth - of the dozen or so contemporary blues discs iTunes has shot my way this morning, ah likes this one the best. A super-sweet job of recording and mixing too IMHO. Material always seems to be an issue when it comes to contemporary blues records and must admit that for me this one is kinda sorta no exception. Still, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Po' Mr.!
Born: April 18, 1971 in Santa Barbara, CA
Years Active: '00s
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