Album Review of Mick Kolassa: Taylor Made Blues (Swing Suit Records)
Mick Kolassa is a bluesman for all seasons. First of all, he’s got a voice chock full of character, able to hit the high notes when required or talk in a low conversational manner. He’s also an insightful songwriter, with a wry wit and sense of adventure. Examples of this can be found throughout, from the laid back acoustic feel of “Baby Face Louise” and “Taylor Made Blues” to the lighthearted “I’m Getting Late” and the funky socio-political “In the Day.”
Joining Kolassa on guitars, song arrangements and co-production is Jeff Jensen. He adds a certain spark to the proceedings and gives everything a rich sheen and ambiance. While this is primarily an original record, Kolassa has selected three choice covers that fit in very nicely with the overall program. Graham Nash’s “Prison Song,” Townes VanZandt’s “Lungs” and Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong’s “Can’t Get Next to You” are brilliant adaptations and each given a unique spin.
Perhaps one of the key things about Kolassa is his ability to straddle that line between adhering to his traditional Southern blues roots while dipping his toes in the pools of rock, New Orleans-style funk, gospel and folk, as well. And he does it all with authenticity and conviction that really draws the listener in.
In addition to Kolassa and Jensen, the album features contributions from a laundry list of first-call session players and vocalists spotlighted in the gracious and thoughtful track “Friends Like Mine.” Kolassa is a very special artist, indeed, and all proceeds from album sales go to The Blues Foundation’s HART Fund and Generation Blues programs.
Upcoming Live Gigs
Mick currently has four upcoming shows listed on his website. On Monday, November 14th, he’ll be at the Bluesberry Cafe in Clarksdale, Mississippi. On Sunday, November 20th and Sunday, December 4th, he’ll be at the Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street in Memphis. And on Friday, February 3rd, 2017, he’ll be at fuBAR, upstairs from Rum Boogie, in Memphis. Be sure to watch for additions to Mick’s schedule on the “events” page of his website.