Cityreal & Wes Mackey Good Morning Blues

Cityreal & Wes Mackey Good Morning Blues
Vancouver, BC rapper/producer Cityreal has earned a number of accolades and clocked even more tour miles since the release of his debut album, The Beginning. It doesn't look like things are likely to change with new record Good Morning Blues, a collaboration with blues artist Wes Mackey. Their collaborations on Cityreal's debut - "It's Time" and "Passing Me By" - served as the kernel of inspiration for Good Morning Blues, both appearing here unchanged. Much of the rest of the album follows that blueprint: hard luck raps from Cityreal over his self-produced hip-hop beats, utilizing licks from the early blues originators, both samples and interpolations, while the blues singing on the chorus is handled by Mackey. Still, there are exceptions to the rule. "Hellhound" is the most hip-hop track, with a bouncy boom-bap beat and guest vocals from Mad Child of Swollen Members (the only other guest is D-Sisive, on "Angel), while interlude "Old Hannah" is mostly an a cappella, two-minute solo song from Mackey. "Play the Blues For You" is a (faux?) live jam that features a few long guitar sections and actual verses from Mackey, begging the question: why isn't Mackey used more? While it's hard not to wish Cityreal had delved a little deeper into himself to rap the blues, as he does on "Passing Me By," on the other hand, the album does have a heavy sense of hold-your-head-up hope. Good Morning Blues is a tight, cohesive release that's hopefully only the dawning of the day for these two as a collaborative unit. (Soul of the City)