Rainmakin’ Guitar Driven Music By
Steve Summers Band
Sometimes, following a debut album takes a while. The four-year wait since the release of Lookin’ Back, Movin’ On has been worth it for the Steve Summers Band with their second album Rainmakin’. Reflecting Steve Summers’ years of experience playing guitar with outstanding musicians, the tone and character of the guitar changes reflecting the tempo and emotion of each track. It is too simplistic to describe the album as blues-rock. This is blues with and edge chiselled and hardened with a rocky vibe creating a depth of electrifying sound. Rainmakin’ with seven new tracks and a mix of covers given new life with the bands influence and the addition of Vic Martin on keys who brings with him that special touch he had when working with Gary Moore. Another guest that adds a layer of bass tone that is always deep on the groove is Pete Stroud joining the trio that is the Steve Summers Band. The regulars that are seen alongside Steve are with his rock credentials is founding member and bassist Trevor Brooks. And completing the rhythm groove is stickman Bob Pearce who has played blues, rock and country with numerous bands including the Mick Ralphs Band.
Unsurprisingly, the album is notable for the blues guitar riffs than are played with a delicate touch then harden to deliver a granite face of rocking licks. The guitar curls through every track with a sting delivered by the six-string; creating a sound we know so well and love to hear played at clubs and festivals, Steve and his musicians have given this vintage sound a face-lift so is contemporary rather than simply delivering the past.
Opening with the clash of drum sticks driving beat and the guitar that is the sun peeping behind the Rainmakin’ cloud, Mean Mistreator sets the tone and shape of the album this is about the production of the instruments driving the beat so the weaknesses of the vocals are over looked. The tremolo is over used in the opening track so that the weak link of the band is obvious from the off.
That said there are some jewels on the album that fits neatly into any blues-rock collection. One of those is Pretzel Logic a Steely Dan cover that is a demonstration of how blues keeps getting re-invented, this version certainly will be often added to a play list. The guitar work is precise and thoughtful reflecting what is the title track Rainmaker that has the feel of a summer shower refreshing parched soil. The interplay between guitar bass and drums is full of lush beats giving the number a gentle but persuasive drive.
As a listener, you are drawn to the quality of guitar and the deft and at times subtle changes that are found throughout the album. The interplay between guitar and organ deepens the chords and shapes the sound reflecting the mood of the track whether the second track with guitar riffs that sting, sometimes smooth other times piercing through the number or on the quieter Comfort Me Baby, with the faint keys underlying the tracks it is the guitar that shines.
Every time a Stevie Ray Vaughan number is added to an album SRV’s presence is called for the as with Pride and Joy. This up-tempo blues rock number is foot-tappingly good, may not be the cleverest track on the album but certainly with the SRV feel will get the dancers dancing.
Closing the album with a classy interpretation of I Can’t Wait Much Longer. This version of the Robin Trower/Frankie Miller number leaves the listener with the growl of guitar reverberating so that this is definitely not an album that will gather dust in anyone’s collection.
Yes, Rainmakin’ is a guitar led blues rock album, that demands attention the only thing that stops it from being zinging with ear-catching magic are the vocals. They are fine but do not have that standout tone and pitch but the guitar does and the phrasing is stunning as is the interaction between organ chords and the six-string.
Steve Summers Band – Rainmakin’ – Casket Records
SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
- Mean Mistreater
- I Should’ve Known Better
- The High Cost of Lovin’
- Second Hand Blues
- Comfort Me Baby
- In The Still of the Night
- Pretzel Logic
- Pride and Joy
- Tears Roll Down
- Black Cat Bone
- I Can’t Wait Much Longer