Mike Zito and the Wheel Keep Coming Back

Mike Zito

Mike Zito and the Wheel
Keep Coming Back
RUF Records


Texas, blues, and so much more, story-telling with the spice of a life well lived plus those life affirming moments define Keep Coming Back. The solo album from Mike Zito, Keep Coming Back is one that you will return to again and again to bring musical sunshine that is both bright and tinted with shadows of hurt and bewilderment that life throws at us all.

This is foot stompingly good music and Get Busy Living has a quieter feel as the lyrics reflect on life the sad and unobtainable and then the drums kick in the tempo brightens and he sings Get Busy Living a motto for us all.
The guitar is fast and zinging and then Jimmy Carpenter’s Saxophone has you pulled into the album from the off and it is fast and furious as Mike sings what have you got to loose, Keep Coming Back is Mike Zito and the band on fine form the sound is full of musical vigour with a depth of textures and tone. The personal nature of the songs, as Mike sings directly to you is how the album works and Early in the Morning captures this perfectly. The rendering of I Was Drunk, a moving autobiographical number drenched in emotional energy, that never becomes a dirge thanks to the use of guitar hooks and a melody line that sustains the tempo throughout another example of how Trina Shoemakers production has given the album a drive and purpose.

The intro of Sax and drums with the guitar and vocals picking up the beat and then rocking out on Girl From Liberty. This is an album that never stays in the same place it rolls and flows with each track tempo reflecting the mood and this is a song written to make the band shine. Then the rocking fun takes over on Get Out Denver a high-octane version of this Bob Segar song and the keys cascade through before the guitar crashes the party and takes over the lead break this is a track that makes you smile, laugh and you just have to get up and dance! It is difficult to find a favourite track as they are all strong but for me the fuzzy, dirty guitar sound and the tone of Mike’s vocals makes Cross The Border a firm contender along with Chin Up and I was Drunk. Closing with Creedance Clearwater Revival’s Bootleg, Mike and the Wheel have done it again an album that is sheer quality. The combination of Mikes ability to shape his vocals to the lyrics, his sharp and deft guitar skills the six-strings play to his tune and the backing of a band that just loves being the wheel to his creativity.

Mike Zito is the hub of the wheel and the spokes that keep the music turning providing layers of glorious sound are Jimmy Carpenter on saxophone, bassist Scott Sutherland; Rob Lee on drums and Lewis Stephens playing the keys. The other essential elements of the wheel that keeps Mike Zito rolling and playing awesome music are Trina Shoemaker producer and the engineering skills of David Farrel. Without the lyrics the album would ring hollow and the bumps experienced on the road of life would be missing. The lyrics are provided by Mike himself on seven tracks, three he co-wrote with Anders Osborne and completing the album two covers From Bob Seger and CCR. Making the album a wheel that is perfectly balanced as the sound rolls out of your speaker and you walk a musical journey.

Keep Coming Back has all the ingredients of a great album, if you love music infused with emotion this is for you. If your music needs guitar a great rhythm section and you love the layers that keys and sax contribute then Keep Coming Back is for you. If you love lyrics that tell a story puts the flesh on the bones of the melody then Keep Coming Back is for you. If you love modern Texan infused blues Keep Coming Back is a must for your collection. The conclusion is love good music then add Mike Zito’s Keep Coming Back to your collection.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

1. Keep Coming Back
2. Chin Up
3. Get Busy Living
4. Early In The Morning
5. I Was Drunk
6. Lonely Heart
7. Girl From Liberty
8. Get out of Denver
9. Nothin’ but the Truth
10. Cross the Border
11. What’s On Your Mind
12. Bootleg

Mike Zito & The Wheel and Samantha Fish @ The Scene Swansea – November 2014

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Mike Zito Samantha Fish - The Scene - Nov 2014_0005lSamantha Fish and some of the Wheel, opened the evening of live music with her distinctive Cigar Box Guitar producing a rugged Southern sound that reminded me of Moreland and Arbuckle with the bonus of Samantha’s wonderful vocal delivery as she is one of the few female blues vocalists who can pull of such a weighty sound. The spokes of the wheel accompanying her were the rhythm section of flamboyant and stylish bass player Scott Sutherland and New Orleans drummer Rob Lee. This is a trio who loves the music they play and have a simple mission for you to have a great time, and everyone at The Scene tonight were having a great time delighted to be standing in front of three musicians of such calibre and the promise of Mike Zito to come. This was due to a very large part by Samantha’s great stage presence as she really connected with the crowd with charm, smile and above all her talent which oozes into the guitar as she makes the six strings sing. Mike Zito joined her for a duet which was a delight as they sparred on guitars and sang in harmony with the vocals contrasting with each other, a wonderful moment. The Wheel left for a moment and we were treated to an acoustic moment as she delivered a Rolling Stone cover, Dead Flowers, what an original re-working of a rarely heard stones classic from their Sticky Fingers album. We heard lots of tracks from her current album Black Wind Howlin’ including the title track, then far too soon it was time for her to leave the stage with a short break, where she mixed with the crowd chatting and relaxed as her album was purchased; she did not need to sell on stage as the music was a calling card that everyone would want to take home and hear again and again.

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Mike Zito Samantha Fish - The Scene - Nov 2014_0110lMike Zito and the Wheel stepped on to the stage to a loud cheer and applause, with many who had heard him earlier this year in Cardiff as part of Royal Southern Brotherhood now we could enjoy him centre stage. The stage was set for an array of songs that showcased his guitar skills, vocals and the skills of the Wheel now complete with saxophonist extraordinaire Jimmy Carpenter who added moody textures and a full sound to underlay the licks and riffs delivered by Mike. This is quality music that has blended, and mingled Blues with a Texan twang, southern rock and soul. We were treated to a selection of tracks including Pearl River co-written with Cyril Neville and from an earlier album and from his latest Mike Zito and The Wheel On the RoadRainbow Bridge, Gone to Texas and I Never Knew a Hurricane with Samantha joining him on stage as a vocalist – live music doesn’t get better than this. The set was inspired displaying the talents of everyone with Rob & Scot providing a platform that was not solid and staid but with a bucket load of free-form grooves they made the rhythm section so funky simply ACE!

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Bad News was an outstanding version of Luther Allison’s, Bad News Is Coming, despite the Gibson Flying V guitar staying on its stand, this was dramatic music. We had a showcase moment when Jimmy Carpenter stepped into centre stage with a the title track from his current album Walk Away, showing there was a third singer/songwriter musician on stage as he delivered a smooth and funky sound with his voice and expressive tenor saxophone. With the audience hanging on to every note delivered by Mike, listening to every friendly comment they want more and more from Samantha, Mike, Rob, Scot and Jimmy leaving the audience excited, little bit breathless and wanting more, this is why live music is so infectious.

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Catch this amazing live act in Europe Nov 2014 – Click TOUR for further dates