THE BLUES REBELS Open Road

Independent

The Blues Rebels Open Road

A new name to me upon opening the very neatly presented CD in gatefold card sleeve with sixteen page notes carrying good images and lyrics. This is a four piece outfit from Israel that came together as a duo in 2012 of Andy Watts (guitars) and Dov Hammer (vocals/harmonica) who let the chemistry take its’ course. With a number of powerful stage shows behind them Blues Rebels became four and having played with such luminaries as Joe Louis Walker, Lucky Peterson and Bernard Allison they then opened for Johnny Winter their stature grew. The solid rhythms are provided by Amos Springer (bass) and Avi Barak (drums/percussion).

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The album has fourteen original and varied songs recorded over three days which capture the live essence of the band. They catch a groove, work it well adding to that gritty vocal, tasty harp and neat guitar over the rhythm section and you have a pretty complete album that has stood a lot of playing already.

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The opening All I Want starts that neat groove without overpowering you, the chunky chords and flowing harp break into a duel during the second third of the song and it is fine. Before The Jubilee has thoughtful lyric, as do the rest, there is much here to like and enjoy while nothing will grind you down. Devil By My Side is a good driving song, there’s a bass driven funk to Turn Back The Clock, a mournfulness about What If while Reason To Live skips along delightfully. There’s a plaintiff harp intro to Looking In which is gentle, Living The Dream strides along with some menace, I Don’t Mind is mellow and restful.

I loved Trying To Get Paid again with that neat unassuming rhythm and the closing title track Open Road is as gorgeous a piece of music as you will ever hear, peaceful, calm yet chilling while being so restful, the tone of the guitar solo is superb, and Matan Ashkenazy adds Fender Rhodes piano to the mix (and he mixed and mastered the album). Don’t wake me up, that was a beautiful way to end a super album.

I am sure that we will hear more from this band and I for one will look forward to that.

FRANK LEIGH