The small print on the cover points out that The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer are guests on Steve Kozak’s new, fourth, one. In even smaller print are the names of Jerry Cook and Dave Vidal. Cook has a very prominent role on the first two songs with his sax work. The basic quartet is Kozak on guitar & vocals, Dave Webb on keys, Roger Brant on bass and Chris Nordquist on drums. Kozak’s “Cane Sugar Sweet” is firmly in the west coast jump blues sound as is the fine version of Jody Williams’ “You May”. Cook sits out on Kozak’s rhumba blues “Messed Up” but Webb’s keyboards shine. Magic Sam’s “Every Night And Every Day” benefits mightily from Shawn Hall’s harp work and a stellar guitar solo from Kozak. Kozak’s “Trouble” is a fine new one, with The Axe Murderer, Matthew Rogers, (who also produced) on lead guitar over some excellent drumming from Nordquist. Anson Funderburgh’s “One Woman I Need” is a well-done reminder of a recent classic, Vidal guests on guitar. “That’s Cool With Me” has Cook’s saxes on board again on a stop time song reminiscent of Willie Mabon’s “I Don’t Know”. “Stranger In My Hometown” is not the Percy Mayfield classic but a Kozak original. Little Willie John recorded “Love, Life and Money” in 1956, another fine choice by Kozak and a very good performance. He closes with a tough Chicago blues, “Goin’ Fishin’, with Hall blowing some suitably mean harp. Kozak has a couple guest guitarists on board but he turns in solid slide work here. Some very good originals, some well chosen covers, a superb band, go to www.stevekozakband.com for your copy and if you’re visting Vancouver, make sure you catch a show.

John’s Blues Picks February 2017 – Elvin Bishop
John’s Blues Picks February 2017 – Matt Minglewood