The veteran five-piece Vancouver blues rock group, Mud Bay Blues Band’s new album, Colebrook Road is a rough hewn gem of gritty hybrid music.
The band’s sound is blues based, but they take it in interesting directions. The longevity of the group’s nearly 40-year stretch of unabashed rocking gives their music confidence and humour. This elasticity allows them to play fast and loose within their blues roots and they work it to the limit. They’re a band that sounds like they like playing together and it gives the songs on Colebrook Road a raucous kind of joy.
Led by singer and harpist Mud Bay Slim (King of the Mud Bay Delta Blues), the Mud Bay Blues Band aren’t purists of any sort and Colebrook Road amplifies their ballsy aesthetic. The production (aided by Victor Guideron and Jamie Sitar) preserves the interplay and casual irreverence of the band. It captures how they listen to each other, making the songs sound boisterous and relaxed.
There are several songwriters within the group but their styles differ just enough to add contrast. They know blues and rock vocabulary and also how to get weird with it.
That’s where the charm of the band emerges – you know that they’d be a hell of a party group!
The album gets more adventurous as it goes on. They write their lyrics on the tongue-in-cheek side of cliché and that’s part of the appeal of the music. Although the group brings on some guests, they serve the song – no showboating. The music has a naughty edge (Hellbent, Pins) that also reveals a well-oiled machine that suffers no wankers. Or maybe it kicks them in the butt.
By the time the title cut rolls in, the Mud Bay Blues Band grooves on in a uniquely unhinged way. Clearly, these crunchy West Coast blues rockers don’t let their tightness impede their inclinations to get down. It’s a new way to hear the blues, baby.
– Dean Gordon-Smith is a musician based in Vernon, B.C. He reviews new music releases for The Morning Star every Friday.