Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a Wonderful high quality, high-value set of blues-based originals where his obvious love and understanding of our beloved genre shines through.
After four well-received blues albums, as well as being a key band member with Lindsey ‘Hootchie Man’ Alexander, Italian born, US based, bluesman Breezy Rodio has a new album out…called Underground Blues, it again features Breezy’s blues, soul, jazz and reggae influences to build what he calls “Chicago West Side Modern Blues.” Having listened to it a number of times, I think that is a very fair assessment, and it is a suitable follow-up to his 2019 release, If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It. It wasn’t broke and certainly didn’t need fixing so, once more, we get fourteen original tracks and nearly an hour’s running time of quality blues-based songs, bringing variation, originality and some damn good guitar playing too from Breezy and Texan guitar man, Anson Funderburgh, who also acted as producer.
They both feature on the delicious guitar-led blues of Half Way in the Devil’s Gate. It has superb clarity for the instrumentation while the vocals are, cleverly and effective, processed and, with such delicate guitar and excellent backing from the band, it is a great opener. Next is a quality piece of piano/harp/guitar blues and a spelling lesson: C.H.I.C.A.G.O. is a neat shuffle.
The title track, Underground Blues, highlights the tone Breezy gets from his custom made Rhino guitar…taking the ES 335 as inspiration, the custom luthier company, Olivia Guitars, have made a beautifully toned and flexible guitar. It shows again the excellent blues of Playing My Game Too…with a genius bass line roaming the background, the guitar is used to great effect by Breezy and Anson, who also loved the custom tone and feel.
That Damn Cocaine is a plea to a friend to stop…good advice wrapped in a soulful delivery with great blues guitar. The Murder is Roadhouse Blues based, I think, both in vocal delivery and structure although, with the piano/harp interplay and an intelligent guitar solo, it is all original. Lightning Strike has the guitar talking as eloquently as the lyrics on a neat, slow blues. The instrumental, The Asymptomatics, takes a hint of jazz and gives the guitar, harp and piano shining room with bounce. Let Me Go is Hammond-fuelled blues with great guitar phrasing. Gerry Told Me is an autobiographical tale with some fascinating rhythms and melodies.
Hello Friendo is fresh from New Orleans with a harp sounding very sax like and more solid guitar and piano work. Sugar Daddy heads back north to Chicago and a twelve-bar blues of quality. Next up, we move in time as the 50s R’n’B feel is perfectly engaged on Why Did You Go? The final track is a play on the word ‘poisoned’ to denote the depth of blues in Breezy’s veins…Bluesoned is packed with guitar phrasing of such skill, it really didn’t need the (spoken) words as the tone of the Rhino and the way he distils emotions using bends and sustain is all it needed.
Breezy has delivered another high-quality, high-value set of blues-based originals where his obvious love and understanding of our beloved genre shines through.
Half Way in the Devil’s Gate
Playing My Game Too
That Damn Cocaine
Let Me Go
Gerry Told Me
Why Did You Go?
Breezy Rodio: guitar, vocals
Anson Funderburgh: guitar
Johnny Bradley: bass
Lorenzo Francocci: drums
Dan Tabion: keyboards
Josh Fulero: harmonica
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(iTunes then went through a few more ‘B’s until I could resist no longer and jumped to the catchiest tune of 2017 (and probably many other years too) and indulged in Brothers Osbourne and It Ain’t My Fault.)