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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

Customer Reviews

Great album from start to finish!

I find it hard to believe Mike could come out with an album to top 'Today,' but he has done it with Pearl River. From the beautifully simple and reflective 'One Step At A Time' to the gritty and soulful title track, this album is a keeper from start to finish. Two thumbs up!!

Zito continues to deliver

I have enjoyed Mike Zito's talent for several years now. I am very pleased with this purchase will hold the top spot in my rotation for a while I am sure. Great guitar, soulful vocals and some strong guest appearances too.

Zito Produces Another Gem!

Zito and his crackerjack band take you through thirteen high energy blues rock soaked numbers featuring his hefty vocals and sharp guitar licks. Right at the starting line “Dirty Blonde” kicks everything into high gear. No pun intended but the guitar is down and “dirty” as it gets on this track. “Big Mouth” features a funky groove loaded with hooks that have a tendency to hang onto you throughout the song, I can picture dancing the night away to a track like that.

I have to say again that Zito is just smokin’ hot in every department on this release just as he was on the previous two releases. The artist keeps kicking it up another notch on every release, raising the bar for his contemporaries. The production elements are top shelf, the musicianship stellar, and the way Zito mixes up the selections is ideal.

The blues can get predictable and downright monotonous if you always put out what everyone expects to hear. Zito does not allow his approach or game plan to take any turns without him steering and he keeps the listener’s attention and interest until the CD stops spinning. That is a great accomplishment and I commend him for his vision and the way he takes blues-rock and makes it work for him, not the other way around.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck


Born: November 19, 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...
Full Bio
Pearl River, Mike Zito
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Customer Ratings