Howlin ‘Wolf as the lead singer of an Americana band or Captain Beefheart

Peter Marinus, Blues Town Music

Try to imagine the following: Howlin ‘Wolf as the singer of an Americana band or Captain Beefheart who sings the blues with passion. Both fantasies come true on the seventh album by the American band the Mystix. A band consisting of  Jo Lily  (vocals, ex-Duke & the Drivers),  Bobby Keyes  (guitar, a studio musician ao with Mary J. Blige),  Tom West  (keyboards),  Marty Ballow  (bass),  Duke Levine  (guitar ) and  Mario Giovino  (drums, producer), plus guests  Luther & Cody Dickinson  from  the North Mississippi Allstars  and  Charlie McCoy  on the harmonica.

Their album is divided into a bluesy half and an Americana half. The bluesy side is very raw in  Jumper On The Line . A lazy banging song with harrowing hard guitar work and a grinding sound. Cody & Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars are guests on this song. The angularly pumping Brand New Love sounds like Captain Beefheart, who sings the blues in a slow brooding shuffle. Followed by the sweltering blues Wouldn’t  Mind Dyin ‘  . Also,  That’s All, That’s All  a blistering blues. Going To The River  is a semi-acoustic pumping blues with a “Key To The Highway” like melody and a cutting fiddle. From the Americana songs the relaxed shuffle Ain’t jump  Gonna Cry  Out With Hard Burning Guitar Playing. The gently swaying ballad Carrie has a considerable Springsteen influence (especially “Sandy”).
Let’s Get Started sounds intimate like the better Mark Knopfler work with a languid “hi de hi, hi de ho” atmosphere. Charlie McCoy performs with his atmospheric weeping harmonica in the ballad Brand New Love. A song with a high Kris Kristofferson content. The cover of the Rolling Stones song  Backstreet Girl is truly beautiful . I Can’t Change It sounds like a Bob Seger ballad but with Theo van Es (from our Shoes) as the singer.
Dreamers Holiday is an atmospheric intimate jazzy song and  Jumper On The Line  (edit) closes the album.

The Mystix has delivered a very enjoyable album with obligatory reads for both blues and Americana fans.