Ottawa’s Al Wood is the vocalist, songwriter, harp player and guitarist and The Woodsmen are Lindsay Pugh on lead guitar, Frank Deresti on bass and Simon Meilleur on drums. Together they’ve released four CDs now and made it to the semi-finals at the 2011 IBCs in Memphis. They wanted to do a live off the floor album of new songs and they’ve done very well indeed – nothing mattters more than talent & experience for this task. The slide-driven “Mole Hill Mountain Blues” is a particular highlight, with its shades of Elmore James and a very good groove. “Hooka Train” is impossibly fast, an invitation to some late night entertainment. They do a fine slow blues as well: “Death Defying Leaps” has persuasive lyrics about going ahead and actually doing something. “Bluebird” shows some jazzier touches. Wood has another excellent slow one in “Juggler’s Blues” with Pugh on slide and an unusually long harp solo from Wood. “Stick Around (Another Day)” is another highlight with an attractive melody & lyric. It might even be radio friendly. The concluding “Worryin’ Days Are Done” is a lovely country blues and a very nice way to end. Al Wood is a very good singer and songwriter in front of a very good band, showing that there’s lots of life left in the traditional blues world. Go to www.alwoodblues.com for more.

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