Gary Kendall Band Feel Real Strong

Bassist Gary Kendall is a fixture of Toronto's roots music community. The six-time Maple Blues Award winner for Bass Player of the Year has released a carefully crafted follow-up to Dusty & Pearl, his belated 2004 debut. A strong outing, Kendall wrote 11 originals, one with Downchild alumni Cash Wall, who also contributed the droll "When You Tell Me." A modest vocalist, Kendall's compositions are thoughtfully arranged, ensuring the standout element of each song is the tight knit playing of his band. Kendall's deep knowledge of the form ensures a varied play list, with traces of Louisiana swamp pop, Memphis fatback, Chicago shuffles and gospel chording heard throughout. The soloing by guitarist Darren Poole and keys player Shakey Dagenais is focussed and tasteful, as on the title track. A tribute to playing bars for more than 40 years, Kendall pours the essence of his experience perfectly into "Real Good Night," a song blues bands will be playing 40 years from now. (47)