"Sometimes the most fun you have as a reviewer is going into an album with no idea of what to expect. Other than seeing that Joe Krown plays piano- the cover is a bit of a giveaway- which lends itself to some Louisiana vibes, I was a babe in the woods. It turns out that Tribute is a whole lot of fun. As Blues Review puts it, “Krown swings hard on the blues while seamlessly blending the church and the street.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? You bet it does.
I confess to being lax in exploring piano driven blues, and this album has me thinking that should change pronto. Krown says that his new album “is a tribute to the music and the people that have influenced me and the people in life that I’ve had to say goodbye to.” Tribute is dedicated to the memory of Evalyn & Melvin Krown, Beth Krown Mahler, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Walter Wolfman Washington, Allen Toussaint, Randi de le Gueronniere and Griper Nugent. The disc is 11 spirited tracks, 3 originals plus covers of songs by people like Allen Touissant and Mac Rebennack, a/k/a Doctor John. It swings mightily with that New Orleans thang, a joi de vivre that seems particular to that city, and Joe captures the feel of his home town rather well.
Tribute was produced by Krown along with Joe Miele, recorded at Jack Miele Productions, and the results are outstanding- exacting but not precious, clear but not brittle… a real natural sound and feel. Lots of people involved here, from Joe’s band to a list of special guests that includes Ivan Neville, Jason Ricci and Walter Wolfman Washington. Some of the songs you might know, like Allen Touissant’s Southern Nights which was a hit for Glen Campbell in 1977, while others will be discoveries of the purest joy. The swing and the groove in these tracks is undeniable, thanks in no small part to the work of bassist Mark Brooks and drummer Doug Belote, and the mix of vocal and instrumental cuts keeps things fresh. Great musicianship and a spirited selection of tunes make Tribute the closest thing to a perfect record as you can get.
HOT TRACKS: All Of It, Southern Nights, Tribute To Fess"