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July 2022

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Dylan Triplett
Who Is He?

Vizz Tone

Dylan Triplett

I continue to be impressed by the number of quality albums being released by younger blues artists, reinforcing the idea that the blues will never die. The latest young artist is 21-year-old St. Louis native Dylan Triplett, with his debut album, "Who Is He?" (Vizz Tone) containing 10 solid cuts of blues and soul. Produced by The Phantom Blues Band's Larry Fulcher, the album features a tight backing band as well as notable special guests Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Johnny Lee Schell and Tru Born, among others.

Triplett's voice shows a maturity beyond his years as he sings both blues and soul, with a touch of jazz mixed in, and he also wrote two of the songs here.

Opening the disk is the somewhat explicit "Barnyard Blues," a mid-tempo blues shuffle with Kingfish sitting in on guitar. Part of that barnyard talked about in this song is the rooster, also referred to as the cock, adding in some double-entendre lines so you can probably guess why this one comes with an airplay advisory. Up next is the title cut, a cover of Bill Withers' excellent version, with Triplett even coming in with Withers' gruff 'Dadgummit' at the appropriate places. Great sax from Kyle Turner on this one.

"Brand New Day - Same Old Blues" is a Fulcher original, a subtle blues with a slower tempo. Tru Born plays eerie slide guitar while Schell accompanies on the National guitar and Ryan Marquez contributes tasteful piano. We also hear very fine background vocals from Kudisan Kai and Maxayn Lewis. Sax player Joe Sublett kicks off another Fulcher original, "Dance Of Love," with a soulful sax intro, giving this killer song kind of a Motown sound.

Triplett's voice is especially strong on his own blues shuffle, "Junkyard Dog," with really nice guitar solos from Sean McDonald, leading into the other Triplett original, "I'll Be There Waiting," a slow blues highlighted by the guitar solos of Schell and a a foundation of sound provided by Mike Finnigan's organ and horns from Sublett. Finnigan recently passed away, so it's good to hear him here.

Jimmy McCracklin's "She Felt Too Good" is just plain fun as Triplett is amazed by that woman who just keeps tossing down beer after beer while also consuming a lot of food. Art Wayne Pollard comes in with a strong sax solo on this up-tempo stomper. The mood changes with "That's The Way Love Is," a Marvin Gaye cover that gives Triplett the chance to show that he may just be the next up-and-coming singer to woo all of us. Kai and Lewis return to help out on vocals, while Marquez contributes tasty electric piano.

Kingfish is back on guitar as Triplett shows his nasty side on a Lonnie Brooks original, the mid-tempo blues shuffle "Feels Good Doin' Bad." I'm not sure that any of us are prepared for the way Triplett closes Who Is He?, as he tackles the Miles Davis standard, "All Blues." Dr. Wayne Goins almost steals the show with his guitar solos, but Triplett keeps pace by paying tribute to Miles Davis with his jazzy scat singing. A brilliant finish to an excellent debut album.

Someone just 21 putting out a debut album like Who Is He? certainly has impressed me. I'm not really going out on a limb by calling Dylan Triplett a rising blues star. This album comes highly recommended, and I can't wait to hear what's next from this young man.

--- Bill Mitchell

 

 

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