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August 2010

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Tim Woods
The Blues Sessions
Earwig Records

Tim Woods

Tim Woods took in the music scene in Macon, GA as a young adult while working at a local nightclub as a promoter. He was most drawn to the blues during that time. For the past 25 years, Woods has been a fixture on the southwestern Pennsylvania blues circuit as an electric and acoustic guitarist and singer. Woods’ latest release on Earwig Records, The Blues Sessions, features him with a virtual all star line-up, recorded in three locations (Chicago, Atlanta, and Clarksdale, MS) that played a big part in the development of the music.

Woods is an expressive singer and a fine guitarist, and the disc includes both acoustic and electric tracks. Highlights include “Do the Do,” a Chicago-styled romp, and the barrelhouse rocker “Castle Rock Boogie” (both with John Primer, Aaron Moore, Bob Stroger, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith).

Honeyboy Edwards joins in on the fun, appearing with Woods on three of his own compositions, “Bad Whiskey & Cocaine,” “Wind Howlin’ Blues,” and “Drop Down Mama,” with Earwig CEO Michael Frank on harmonica on one track (Eric Noden handles the harp on the other two), and young delta drummer phenom Lee Williams. It’s mind-boggling to think Edwards just turned 95, based on the energy and enthusiasm he brings to these tracks.

Also appearing on a few tracks are Mississippians Big Jack Johnson and Terry “Big T” Williams. Johnson and Woods tear it up on the Johnson instrumental, “Clarksdale Boogie,” and funk things up on a reworking of the Willie Dixon-penned classic, “Built For Comfort.” They are assisted by Williams on drums and Allen Batts on keyboards.

Other tracks of note include the opener, “Deep Ellum Blues” and “Spoonful,” a pair of acoustic toe-tappers with Woods, Noden, and Smith, and Dixon’s “It Don’t Make Sense You Can’t Make Peace,” which is transformed into something of a psychedelic rocker. This track teams Woods with guitarist Bobby Lee Rodgers, keyboardist Ike Stubblefield, drummer Jeff Sipe, bassist Shannon Hoover, and multi-instrumentalist (violin, vibrastrap, bongos) Joe Craven. They also close the disc with a frenetic “World Comes Tumblin’ Down.”

You may not be familiar with Tim Woods, but don’t let that stop you from picking up this disc. He’s got himself a winner with The Blues Sessions. It’s loaded from top to bottom with great blues music taken from multiple eras and from multiple sources. All in all, it’s an inspired tribute to all the artists who helped pave the way for their modern disciples.

--- Graham Clarke


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