Arsen Shomakhov – Dynamic
Russia's leading blues guitarist brings us his third Blues Leaf release continuing from where he left off with his previous CD, On the Move.
On this release we hear his maturity as a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist. Since he has relocated to Vancouver, this album features some of the city's very best blues musicians.
Includes four originals and six covers.
1. Groove On! - 4:02 2. Mellow Down Easy - 4:47 3. How'd You Learn To Shake It Like That - 4:22 4. Dance With Me - 3:31 5. Whiskey Drinking Woman - 5:42 6. Can't Save A Dollar - 5:12 7. Boogie Bounce - 2:43 8. Shake Your Boogie Leg - 2:45 9. Robert Nighthawk Stomp - 3:28 10. Swamp Train - 5:09
We get a lot of CD’s in the mail at Blues Blast Magazine. Sometimes they are from folks I’ve never had a chance to listen to, as is the case of this CD. I was more than pleasantly surprised. I guess it should not have been as much of a surprise since Shomakhov has been recording and playing here in the US and Canada since the 2005 IBC’s (he moved to Vancouver from Russia in 2008) and has received some accolades; I somehow missed hearing him.
The CD opens with a swinging original cut entitled “Groove On!” An instrumental, it certainly does what the title says! Shomakhov starts us off with some well done licks and then Jerry Cook blasts off with his horn.
With an upturned eyebrow and my interest peaked, I awaited more with some greater expectations. They broke into Willie Dixon’s “Mellow Down Easy” where Arsen sings and plays for us. His guitar is amply showcased for us and his vocals are really good. I was sold.
“How’d You Learn to Shake It Like That” gives us the first big taste Dave Webb on piano and it is super. Shomakhov gives another great performance and the backline of Bruce O’Neill on bass and Chip Hart on drums is solid here and throughout. Webb and Cook make a really great addition to Arsen’s core trio of bluesmen!
“Dance With Me Follows,” a second original and it’s another nice danceable up tempo number with Arsen, Jerry and Dave really swinging well together as the backline provides vocal support. “whiskey Drinking Woman” follows, dropping the tempo and mood into some down and dirty blues. It’s just the trio here and they do a marvelous job of playing the blues.
Jeff Turmes “Can’t Save a Dollar” is next. I always love Jeff’s songs and Arsen and his trio delivers the goods. The original “Boogie Bounce” is up next and it swings. Cook plays both baritone and tenor sax here and Webb is on the Hammond organ while Shomakhov delivers another outstanding performance on this instrumental. “Robert Nighthawk Stomp” is an extremely fun song and the closing original “Swamp Train” is a very cool boogie woogie instrumental ride.
I may not have heard this guy and his band previously but I am now on the lookout– these guys can play and sing! Recommended!