Review by John Taylor
Let’s just cut to the chase; This album smokes.
With his 13th album (his debut with Alligator Records), Chris Cain isn’t just raisin’ Cain, he’s raisin’ the bar.
Guitar licks that flicker from blistering to blissful, soul-melting keyboards and Cain’s comfortably seasoned voice – this is a collection that B.B. King himself would’ve envied.
At 65, the native Californian’s writing is authoritative and his musical craftsmanship is flawless. But his creative fire still burns brightly.
The 12 original songs here are authentic and filled with recognizable feelings.
A West Coast blues favorite since the late 1980s, Cain sings of enduring the nicks and cuts of everyday love and its shortcomings, the aches of loss and betrayal and the hollowness of affairs that have reached their inevitable endings.
Starting off the album with the blazing guitar work of “Hush Money,” Cain lays out wise takes on keeping your spouse happy … and yourself out of trouble. He pays “hush money” to his love, he explains, to “keep my house all happy and quiet.”
But guitars aren’t the only things that Cain can raise. Horns, harps and keyboards carry their share on songs like “Too Many Problems,” “Down on the Ground” and the instrumental ”Space Force.”
That’s where Cain’s longtime band – including bassist Steve Evans and keyboardist Greg Rahn – comes in. Sky Garcia and D’mar Martin man the drums, Michael Peloquin supplies the saxophone, Doug Rowan adds baritone sax, Jeff Lewis plays the trumpet and Mike Rinta slides in some trombone.
This is one of the most complete and thoroughly enjoying records we’ve reviewed in some time. It’s house-rockin’ blues that echoes – and at times, equals – the all-time greats.
Easy call on this one: Just go get it.
Part Total Time: 39:17
Hush Money / You Won’t Have a Problem When I’m Gone / Too Many Problems / Down on the Ground / I Believe I Got Off Cheap / Can’t Find a Good Reason / Found a Way to Make Me Say Goodbye / Born to Play / I Don’t Know Exactly What’s Wrong With My Baby / Out of My Head / As Long as You Get What You Want / My Space Force