Arsen Shomakhov’s last album, Dynamic, got him a nomination for New Artist in the Maple Blues Awards. For his new one, this Russian-born Vancouver resident went to one of the hottest studios in blues today, Kid Andersen’s Greaseland in San Jose CA. Andersen is the superb lead guitar player for Rick Estrin & The Nightcats but here he wisely leaves the guitar playing to Shomakhov. Instead, he handles bass, keyboards and background vocals. While sticking close to traditional blues themes, Shomakhov has come up with some attractive ways of expressing them. The toe-tapping opener, “Full Time Lover”, departs from the usual in that our narrator has too many women in his life, he wants just one. Guesting on harp is Aki Kumar, who hails from India but plays pure Chicago. Much faster is “No More!”, a slice of bluesabilly promising to party less hard – he may even mean it. Andersen tears it up on piano. “Rain City Blues” channels Elmore James’ “Dust my Broom” in fine fashion. He’s fallen for a woman who’s taken everything he has. “Sitting on the Fence” is a tuneful song on the advantages of not making a decision with some useful examples to prove the point. His guitar skills get shown off in four instrumentals, of which the concluding slide workout “Hello, Little Bird” is the best. The web site is www.arsenshomakhov.ca. 

October 2019 - Toronzo Cannon
October 2019 - Jennis