These young blues rockers from Montreal have decided to release an album done live in the studio before a sizeable and appreciative audience. That most of the songs are drawn from their last album, 2018’s A Fool’s Heart, is testimony to their abilities as a live act. In addition, on these two evenings last September, they introduced an almost entirely different lineup to go with the new arrangements. Bassist Gabriel Forget returns, Justin Saladino is joined on guitar by Antoine Loiselle with David Osei-Afrifa returning on keys. Denis Paquin is now on drums with Lucie Martel on BG vocals. The Stones-ish “Take What You Need” rocks harder here with a fine solo from Saladino and swirling organ. The attractive blues rocker “Honey” certainly benefits from the energy of the live performance, as does the funky “Bad Habits”. “All You Ever Need” is a very nice soul ballad with a solid guitar solo from Saladino. “Put The Hammer Down” might have been a good name for a power rocker but is instead another lovely soul ballad with Loiselle on acoustic. After the band introductions, Saladino treats us to a quite wonderful slide solo. A slow soul blues, “Peace With You”, concludes the slow portion of the program and “Purple Girl”, with its nod to Jimi Hendrix returns us to the rockers. “Irish Bordello” and bonus track “No Worries” from the EP of the same name round out the program. With his talent for writing and performing soul ballads it was perhaps natural to specialize in them, but A Fool’s Heart was too subdued. Recording these songs live was the smart thing to do. The web site is www.justinsaladinoband.com. 

July 2020 - Smoke Wagon Blues Band
July 2020 - Top Blues