Matthew Skoller Band These Kind of Blues!

At first blush, this is just another Chicago-based blues record which, by nature of where it’s from, is better than most others. That’s not simply due to geography but any band that hails from Chicago has their sights set a little higher — or they’d be eaten alive. It doesn’t hurt that Skoller (on harp and vocals) is backed by Chi-town veterans like Lurrie Bell on guitar and keyboard veteran Sydney Wingfield. His harp, in concert with his skilled comrades, finds its proper footing and wails with the power and precision of Little Walter — check out his blistering workout on "Handful or People” or James Cotton’s "Down At Your Burying’.” Eight of the 11 tracks are impressively-penned originals, demonstrating yet another side to Skoller’s blues pedigree. Yet one of these, "Let The World Come To You,” is one of the best tracks you will hear this year and the biggest clue as to Skoller’s true talent. Here, Skoller’s vocals simmer at their most soulful while back-up vocalists send this track into heavenly heights. Otherwise, his voice offers up grit or raspy textures as he leans on his harp to sell the sweetest notes. These Kind of Blues! is an understated record that grows on you like sun on a cloudy day (Independent)