Review by the Blewzzman
There was a time where there weren't a whole lot of blues bands fronted by a talented, young, attractive, lead guitar playing, singer/songwriter of the female gender. Now there are so many you could put on quite an entertaining blues festival only using that exact type artist. Yes, and rightfully so, women have come a long way in the blues. One of those such women is Eef. I recently had the pleasure of seeing her perform at a pro jam at the Rum Boogie Cafe in Memphis and now I'm experiencing the pleasure of getting to work on her fourth release - "All Rivers Run To The Sea"
The CD features seven original tracks, with six of them penned by Eef - on lead guitar and vocals. On the album Eef is accompanied by her band The Blues Express, which consists of Tim "Chooch" Molinaro on drums & egg; Glen Tapia on bass; Jimmy "Jungle" Ayers on organ, keys & background vocals; James "JD Kelly" Downey on trombone & vocals; and guest Expressers, Immanuel "Little Man" Johnson on shaker; Brian Hornbuckle on bass; Jessica Rogalski and Kerry Pastine on background vocals; and Chris Strain on sax.
"All Rivers Run To The Sea" opens with a lyrically humorous and vocally frolicking song titled "The Elword Blues", with 'love' being the so called 'L-word'. Sharing the vocals, Eef and James have so much fun on this one that they can both be heard cracking up at the end of the track. However, the musical aspect of the composition is certainly no laughing matter. The trombone led rhythm, the organ and piano leads and the lead guitar work are all spot on.
The title track, "All Rivers Run To The Sea", is an absolute masterpiece. It may be one of the most soothing and relaxing songs I've ever heard. While listening, I thought to myself that I'd thoroughly enjoy an hour long version of the track during a massage of the same duration. With Tim - on the snare drum - and Immanuel - on the shaker - in such a smooth percussive groove behind them, Eef, Jessica and Kerry put on a totally trance enhancing performance on the lead and harmony vocals. Let me tell you how I really feel about this track in one word.....Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
Once again, and this time for the next seven minutes, I will be in slow blues heaven. That's because "You're Only Fooling Yourself", is not only the best and bluesiest track of the bunch, but at 6:55, it's also the longest.....and I just love when that happens. Due to the tracks length, everyone gets well featured and that right there is a highlight in itself. Eef's scorching blues guitar licks are as good as any I've heard, the double dose of Jimmy - first with the organ solo, then with the piano is pleasing, the trombone leads - first with the slow stretching of the notes then with the blaring bursts are tasty, then there are Tim and Glenn raising the rhythm to a whole other level and this is all being done while Eef - with a sultry, range defying style is belting the hell out of the track vocally. I guess the ultimate compliment I can pay this seven minute song is to tell you that I've been listening to it for over 35 minutes now.....and loving every one of them. Great stuff!
This next track is "Dynamite" - in name and in quality - and it's one heck of a funked up track. Vocally, with his powerful and raspy voice, James is all over this one, and the extra help the backup singers are giving him raise that vocal bar even higher. Musically, the rhythm guys are at disc's best and when James isn't belting it out vocally he's killing it with the trombone leads. This is another track I'll be listening to many times over.
Other tracks on this most impressive recording include: "The Blues Express", "I Want My Baby Back" and "I Need You To Leave me Alone".
To find out more about Eef, check out her schedule and purchase some of her music, just go to www.eefguitar.com. As usual, I'll hope you tell her the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient