Jeff Fetterman is from the old school – deep rooted Southern Blues with a tremendous sense of funk underlying his Blues/rock guitar. His influences are pretty common – Stevie Ray, B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Walter Trout et al – but with the addition of a dynamite horn section and some top sidemen he makes an irresistible sound and one that had me bouncing off the walls of my listening shack.
Add to that an excellent, throaty and dense, vocal style and I really was enjoying the hell out of it all – his singing isn’t perfect but that is no detriment, it just makes him human.
So, to pick up at the start, he opens with ‘I Don’t Want To’, a ballsout Southern steamer with horns to the fore, some wonderful keyboards from ‘Kip’ Andersen, choppy and intricate rhythms and a groove that is just everything you wanted for Christmas. ‘49/61’ is a quick Blues rocker telling the Crossroads tale with some fine guitar work and Fetterman’s vocals really killing it. Ralph Reitinger III lays down some stupendous bass underpinning a guitar duel between Fetterman and Eric Brewer – one of the tracks I listened to time and again.
Fetterman really makes a mark on the ballads though where his vocal becomes softer and he finds some extra soul in his voice. ‘Memphis Sky’ has the feel of Springsteen or Mellencamp (even Bob Seger) in a lovely song while ‘Living With The Blues’ has an incredible feeling of the darkness and hard edge that the Blues can be. I’ve heard a few versions of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ recently but Fetterman’s is well worthy. The track opens with a dark New Orleans type jam before suddenly exploding into a Hendrix-tinged rocker that allows Fetterman to stretch out and the result is a fine version of that hoary old classic.
A really enjoyable album from Jeff Fetterman, full of points of interest and definitely one to check out.