“Can’t Change It” is the seventh album by The Mystix and everything acts in its favor: The group hails from Boston, home to a lot of good rock music through the ages. The cover has a primitive vibe that at least I’m falling for and the track listing contains covers from R.L. Burnside, Frankie Miller and Dylan’s “Outlaw Blues”.
It gets even better when you put the record on.
The main man in The Mystix, Jo Lily, has a superbly gruff voice that is sometimes reminiscent of Sean Tyla. The band veers towards the rustic with an insinuating swing, and the original songs are just as excellent in the same style as the covers on the album stipulate. The Mystix play the blues with a country sensibility and their formula is splendidly potent. This is what Bob Dylan aimed for – and sometimes hit – back in the old days. The difference is that The Mystix hits it every time.
The sound is rough, but not so uncontrolled that it sounds awkward, but also not so controlled that it snips the easy, ritualistic character of the music. It was produced by Marco Giovino, a session drummer used by musicians as diverse as Robert Plant, John Cale and Norah Jones, and who also plays drums on “Can’t Change It”. He obviously has as good an eye for sound as well as for drumming.
The guest list is quite long, and includes the steel guitarist B.J. Cole, harmonica maestro, Charlie McCoy and Memphis legend Jim Dickinson’s sons Luther and Cody (of North Mississippi Allstars), amongst others. It’s a feather in The Mystix cap, but even without their well-known friends, this would still have been an excellent record. The Mystix does its thing with bravura. The band has a deep respect for music history – not in terms of something out-of-a-museum kind of respect that you can’t touch or work with. They have just the right amount of attitude and just the right savoir-faire for the purpose, and with Lily’s voice, they make even the calmer songs sound like an invitation to a pub fight.
There are still a few months to go until this year’s best list comes out, but I can say that it’s already cramped in places. The release of “Can’t Change It” has made it even more cramped.
Tagged B.J. Cole,blues,Bob Dylan,Can’t Change It,Charlie McCoy,Cody Dickinson,country,Frankie Miller,Jim Dickinson,Jo Lily,Luther Dickinson,Marco Grovino,Mono,North Mississippi Allstars,Outlaw Blues,Peter Sjöblom, R.L. Burnside,rock / pop,Sean Tyla, The Mystix