Blues Bytes


February 2013

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Kevin Selfe
Long Walk Home
Delta Groove Music

Kevin Selfe

Kevin Selfe, former meteorology student and current up-and-coming blues guitarist, continues to prove that he made the correct career decision with his latest release for Delta Groove Music. Long Walk Home is similar to Selfe’s previous effort, 2011’s Playing the Game, in that it stands as a testament to the guitarist’s skill and versatility in playing different blues styles, plus it places a solid emphasis on clever and original songwriting ... Selfe wrote all 11 tracks.

The opening cut, “Duct Tape On My Soul,” is a loping shuffle with some fine T-Bone Walker-styled guitar work from Selfe. “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” features harmonica stud Mitch Kashmar and has a rocking Southern Blues vibe to it. “Moving Day Blues” intros like a vintage T-Bone Walker single from the early ’50s (complete with classy horn section), but features a clever, humorous, highly original lyric. “Last Crossroad” is an acoustic number that allows Selfe to unleash some scorching slide work. “Dancing Girl” opens with that now-familiar Magic Sam riff and includes a scorching guitar break from Selfe, plus vocals from Kashmar.

“Midnight Creeper” opens with some ominous electric slide guitar and has a definite Gulf Coast swamp feel with Selfe’s growling vocal. “Walking Funny” is a different sort of cheating song, taken at a break-neck jump blues pace with a sparkling piano break from Gene Taylor (Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Blasters). “Too Much Voodoo” is a uptempo number driven by Dover Weinberg’s soulful turn at the organ. The quirky “Second Box On The Left” sounds like one of those humorous numbers that Albert Collins always included on his recordings. The closers are “The Blues Is My Home” which has Selfe playing acostic slide guitar, and “Put Me Back In Jail,” a rousing rocker.

In addition to Kashmar, Taylor, and Weinberg, Selfe gets assistance from Jimi Bott (drums), Allen Markell (the Insomniacs), and a rowdy horn section that includes Roomful of Blues baritone sax man Doug James, Chris Mercer (tenor sax), Brad Ulrich (baritone sax), and Joe McCarthy (trumpet). Long Walk Home is a thrilling set of blues originals from one of the genre’s rising stars.

--- Graham Clarke

Kudos to Kevin Selfe and his band, the Tornadoes, for putting out one of the great early releases of 2013. The record, Long Walk Home, makes its appearance shortly on the Delta Groove label and is a stellar disc from top to bottom. Recorded in the home studio of Tornado drummer, Jimi Bott, Kevin avails himself of some of the finest talent in the Pacific Northwest to produce a killer disc so let’s give it a spin.

The disc opens with a curious number, “Duct Tape on My Soul,” and you can literally feel the bottom end from Tornado bass player, Alan Markel, as Kevin tells us of the pitfalls of being a Bluesman. Staccato notes emanate from Kevin’s Gibson as he tells us how tough his life is, “use what you got or wind up in the ground…if you can’t help yourself…this world will put you down.” The only way to survive is to fight and Kevin’s doing that even though, “just like my shoe…I got duct tape on my soul…years of living the blues has taken a mighty big toll!”

Mitch Kashmar’s harp makes an appearance on our next tune, “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool.” Here we find Kevin acknowledging the travails of his life while recognizing, “I’ve been around the block…Mama didn’t raise no fool!” I hear Steve Kerin’s piano kicking in as he and Mitch spar throughout the middle of the tune. For a guy that has been around the block, even Kevin admits he got taken on our next tune, “Moving Day Blues,” as he helps his girl move into new digs. Mournful, soulful tones are front and center here, “I should have known it…right from the very start…the day you asked me to move you…it be the day we part.” Kevin moved the girl and then she kicked him to the curb, definitely a tough lesson for Kevin to learn. At lease she was smart enough to wait until the job was done!

A rambling kind of Delta feel makes its appearance on our next cut, “Last Crossroad,” as Kevin is feeling the danger involved. “I’ve been down this road…so many times before…if I don’t chose right…death be on my door!” Jimi Bott’s drums are heavy here, imparting just the right sense of gloom to go with Kevin’s uneasiness. “Dancing Girl” is our next cut on the disc with just a taste of West Coast Swing to go with it. “Dancing girl…tell me why you treat me so cold…you’ve been dancing with that other man…just 10 feet from my nose.” Not to overstate the obvious here Kevin, but, man, just let this one go. She’s nothing but trouble.

I have no idea what possessed Kevin to write our next tune, “Midnight Creeper,” but I’m digging the heavy guitar licks that augment Alan’s deep bass line on a tune that definitely has a graveyard feel. “Well, the sun has set…and I wait until the hour is right…I slip out the backdoor…without making a sound…don’t you know…I’m the coolest cat around…it don’t get no deeper than being the midnight creeper!” Images of Kevin in a black hat, long coat and sinister eyes play out in my mind’s eye as I see Kevin prowling the night in search of other men’s women. Look out y’all, the midnight creeper is on the prowl!

Our next cut, “Walking Funny,” definitely has a jump blues feel to it as Kevin queries the object of his attention. “Why go home with every man you meet…they’ll buy you a drink and you come off your feet….why you walk funny…when girl, you know it ain’t right!” Gene Taylor makes his appearance on the keys here with just the right bounce to make it all work. Images of the dark arts reappear as Kevin explores his next tune, “Too Much Voodoo.” “I thought I wanted you so bad…I didn’t realize you’d take all I had…too much voodoo…for one man to bear!” This woman is obviously too much for Kevin to handle and he’d be better off to walk away instead of being drained of all his energy, he’s in over his head this time. And you can hear it in the desperation with which he picks his guitar.

The mood turns to humility as Kevin laments the turn of events occurring his life in “Second Box on the Left.” “I had pretty girls…and a fine luxury car…I wore Italian suits and took vacations afar…then my boss tells me…we don’t need you no more.” With his house repossessed and nowhere to go, Kevin’s new address is limited to the “second box on the left.”

A heavy sigh provides the intro to our next cut, “The Blues is my Home.” With his slide guitar in the forefront, Kevin is telling us about another bad day in his life. “The sun was bright…but all was dark that day…you were smiling…a tear rolled down my cheek…no words were said…just music and disbelief…and I kept playing…cuz the blues is all I know!” Kevin’s pain is finding solace in the music he knows and plays so well. His girl is cheating right in front of him and its tearing his heart apart.

More jump piano kicks in as we reach the last cut on the disc, “Put Me Back in Jail.” “Put me back in jail…I don’t feel like coming home…cuz it’s 3am and I got 4 miles to go!” Somehow it’s only fitting that Kevin would rather spend the night in jail than find his way home.

The Tornadoes are Jimi Bott and Alan Markel, two of the finest musicians in the Rose City and they’ve got Kevin’s back throughout this outstanding disc. Augmented by some of the finest players in the Northwest, Kevin Selfe has managed to put out a gem of an album for Delta Groove. He’ll be touring all year behind Long Walk Home and justifiably so. I hope to catch his band on the festival circuit this summer and watch what will definitely be a hot ticket.

Well done Kevin, you knocked this one out of the park. I would highly recommend that you grab a copy of this disc from Kevin, either on the road or from his website,, you’ll definitely be glad you did and Long Walk Home is one disc that will definitely be spending its fair share of time in my CD player for sure!

--- Kyle Deibler



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