Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#739 in the Series) is JT Coldfire, Always and Never (Crazy Sun Publishing)
The first thing that hits you between the ears when you play the first song from the new JT Coldfire album, Always and Never, is the finely crafted Chuck Berry Inspired “Get it on (In the Back of the Bar)”, a song that grabs your ears and staples them to the speaker. The second thing you quickly realize in listening to the whiskey soaked vocals and the somewhat bawdry lyrics, is that in Coldfire, you are in the process of being introduced to a pure and genuine “diamond in the rough” musical find, who adds some much needed “hair on the chest” testosterone to a musical landscape that is full of auto-tune, sampling, and electronica artists that are generally void of the type of passionate rock and roll soul that is presented on this excellent album.
A 20 year in the making road weary overnight success, this Austin hill country based artist has earned a solid guitar-slinger reputation by virtue of his constant touring, marathon schedule (sometimes playing up to three shows a day) and his incendiary playing that mixes Chuck Berry, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Guy, into a slinky blues-boogie gumbo with a Muddy Waters roux.
Despite being recorded in Sweden, the album is all sawdust and peanut shells, blood on the floor, American bar-perfect in its lyrical content, style and presentation. Always and Never Delivers mind numbing boogie rock on “it’s Alright with Me” on one song, and a slow whisky burn from “Tell Me Mama” on the next, proving Coldfire is an artist that can paint using many palettes. “Feeling the Music” is a marked yet brilliant departure from the blues rock, slow burn pacing of the rest of the set and delivers a Three Dog Night sounding song that if God liked music would easily be a top ten hit. It is that good, a flowing, acoustic, eargasmic treat.
Whether the band is kicking into The Blasters styled “Party Loving Pappa” or strapping in for what is surely the best summer driving song of the year “Let’s Go for a Drive” that features some fine guitar picking alongside perfect harmonica placement, clearly shows that this band of mostly Swedes can honky-tonk with the best of them and have fun along the way.
At the end of the day, this best kept musical secret is a refreshing new voice on the Texas Blues scene. The songwriting, diverse soundscapes, and brilliant guitar work along with the school of hard knocks way he is going about honing his craft should bring his voice to the masses in very short order.
In the meantime I am going to play the heck out of this album, grab a Lone Star, and head to a honky-tonk. I hear there is a great band playing.
- Toast to a Bluesman (James Uvalle) 2:58
- King Be (James Moore) 2:15
- Rather Die in My Sleep (James Uvalle) 5:22
- Let’s Go for a Drive (James Uvalle) 4:56
- Get It On [In the Back of the Bar] (James Uvalle) 2:46
- It’s Alright With Me (James Uvalle) 2:06
- Tell Me, Mama (James Uvalle) 3:14
- Tired Man’s Blues (James Uvalle) 2:55
- Feelin the Music (James Uvalle) 3:42
- Party Lovin Pappa (James Uvalle) 2:08
- I’m the Best Thing You Ever Had (James Uvalle) 3:53