At Least I'm Not with You

At Least I'm Not with You

by The Insomniacs


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At Least I'm Not with You

The Insomniacs came blazing out of the gate with a big, bold West Coast blues sound that was as much R&B as it was jump blues and swing. Portland, OR is better known for its alt rock scene, but the Insomniacs have been burning up local clubs since they launched their career in 2007. They won that year's Muddy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Act, despite their retro feel, and their first album, Left Coast Blues, was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best Debut. They follow their impressive premiere with this platter, an even more remarkable set written and recorded in just two days. The band is tight and divides the program between obscure covers and their own high-octane originals that show them as an original force to be reckoned with. "Description Blues," the most traditional-sounding tune, is a tale of infidelity, and Vyasa Dodson's tortured vocal is full of passion and frustration. Alex Shakeri's Hammond B-3 tales an extended solo that's both jazzy and blue followed by Dodson's workout on guitar, full of bent notes, long sustains, and lightning-fast runs. "Maybe Sometime Later" is a Howlin' Wolf-style Chicago blues, a slow, swampy groove with a sly sexy lyric. "She Can Talk" tips its hat to the teenage rockers of the '50s, a portrait of a foxy chick laying waste to the male population with her dazzling chatter while Shakeri's piano drops some Jerry Lee Lewis into the mix. "20/20" is a wry take on the phrase "20/20 hindsight," a loose, shuffling lament about lost love and regret; Dodson's guitar and Shakeri's B-3 supply the fireworks. "Angry Surfer" is an unexpected side trip featuring Dodson's blend of twangy surf guitar licks and Chicago blues guitar and Shakeri's boogie-woogie piano. The rhythm section supplies a backbeat with a Latin feel to add to the complications. The instrumentals the Insomniacs lay down are just as compelling as their songs. "Root Beer Float" is a showcase for Dodson's guitar and Shakeri's piano; it's a jump blues played at a high-speed tempo. Dodson avoids blues clichés by playing mostly on the bass strings of the guitar, giving his lines a fat, chunky, rhythmic feel; Shakeri's right hand takes care of the high end while the rhythm section adds dynamics with unexpected stops and starts. The closer, "Insomniacs Boogie," is a horn-driven jump tune with Jeff Big Dad Turmes' sax and Dodson's guitar kicking the tune into overdrive as the band waves an energetic good bye. The group also shines on the covers: "Broke and Lonely," a Johnny Otis/Johnny "Guitar" Watson tune, receives a ragged, countrified makeover, Little Richard's "Directly from My Heart to You" gets a greasy, New Orleans R&B treatment, and Junior Wells' "Hoodoo Man Blues" is a smoky remake with guest harmonica player Mitch Kashmar contributing a soulful solo that would do Wells proud.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/21/2009
Label: Delta Groove Prod
UPC: 0850021001339
catalogNumber: 130
Rank: 224254

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Insomniacs   Primary Artist
Jeff Big Dad Turmes   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Guest Appearance
Mitch Kashmar   Harmonica,Guest Appearance
Deano Mueller   Bass
Blake   Harmonica
Joel Paterson   Pedal Steel Guitar,Guest Appearance
Alex Shakeri   Piano,Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
Vyasa Dodson   Guitar,Vocals
Dave Melyan   Drums

Technical Credits

Johnny Otis   Composer
Peter Chatman   Composer
Randy Chortkoff   Executive Producer
Johnny "Guitar" Watson   Composer
Junior Watson   Liner Notes
Lowman Pauling   Composer
Richard Penniman   Composer
Insomniacs   Audio Production
Amos Blakemore   Composer
G. Preston Boebel   Engineer
Joshua Temkin   Artwork
John Willie Henry   Composer
Vyasa Dodson   Composer
Jeff Scott Fleenor   Audio Production

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