Blues Bytes


July 2023

an associate

Order this album today


Monster Mike Welch
Nothing But Time

Gulf Coast Blues

Monster Mike Welch

Monster Mike Welch battled the effects of COVID-19 for over a year and a half, fearing that he would never be able to record or perform again. Hard as it may be to believe, Welch has been touring and recording for nearly three decades, dating back to his 1996 debut on Tone-Cool Records. His collaboration with the late Mike Ledbetter in 2017 earned them the BMA for Best Traditional Album in 2018 and he earned a BMA in 2019 for Best Guitarist.

Kid Andersen and Mike Zito have helped Welch rebound from his illness and have aided him in assembling and releasing Nothing But Time on Zito’s Gulf Coast Records label.

Welch wrote 10 of the 14 tracks and he’s joined by a host of great musicians. Recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios (Andersen also played bass and keyboards on assorted tracks), Welch is joined by bassist Jerry Jemmott, drummer Fabrice Bessouat, pianist Bob Welsh, percussionist Vicki Randle, backing vocalists JQ Welch, Jeannette Ocampo Welch, Lisa Leuschner Andersen, and a horn section that includes Eric Spaulding and Mike Peloquin (tenor sax), Jack Sanford and Dr. Aaron Lington (baritone sax), John Halblieb (trumpet), and Mike Rinta (trombone, horn arrangements).

Welch opens with “Walking To You Baby,” a mid-tempo blues that has a strong B.B. King feel, reintroducing us to the guitarist’s searing attack after too long of an absence. He covers two Robert Johnson songs on Nothing But Time, the first being a rousing take on “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day,” backed by Rick Estrin’s harmonica.

The title track, “I’ve Got Nothing But Time,” follows, a funky, soulful blues with horns and background singers complementing Welch’s vocals and fretwork. George Harrison’s “I Me Mine” works very well here. Harrison was the bluesiest Beatle of them all and Welch does a fine job pulling the blues from this track.

“Offswitch Blues” is a riproaring blues from the Elmore James school with fierce lead and tasty slide guitar and Welch’s wild vocals. “I Ain’t Sayin’” is a nice, mid-tempo shuffle where Welch lays down lead guitar in the best Albert King tradition, and “In Case You Care” is a horn-driven blues with more scorching guitar work.

“Time To Move” is a minor-key blues rhumba reminiscent of some of Otis Rush’s work for Cobra. Welch’s shimmering guitar and his passionate vocals are first rate. The rowdy “Losing Every Battle” is a fast-paced boogie track with nasty guitar licks thrown in for good measure, and “Hard To Get Along With” is a terrific modern take on a traditional blues.

The exuberant “Jump For Joy” is a spirited workout for Welch, both vocally and on guitar. After his physical struggles over the past couple of years, he was probably more than happy to include this track on the album. Buddy Guy’s slow burner “Ten Years Ago” gets a superb treatment from Welch, his stinging guitar introducing the track is marvelous, but it just gets better as the song goes as it leads into the excellent “Afraid of My Own Tears (Parts 1 & 2), a nearly-nine-minute instrumental that really gives the entire band room to stretch out.

The album closes with the second Johnson cover, "Kind Hearted Woman Blues," with Welch pulling out the ol’ acoustic to give this wonderful album a fine send-off.

It's been really cool to watch Monster Mike Welch grow and develop since the mid-’90s, both as a guitarist and vocalist. It’s even better to see him return from his illness with this much passion and power. Nothing But Time is a keeper for anyone who digs traditional or contemporary blues. There’s plenty of both here, all played very well.

--- Graham Clarke



[Pick Hit][What's New][Surprise][Flashback][Feedback][Back Issues][Home Page]


The Blues Bytes URL...
Revised: July 11, 2023 - Version 1.00
All contents Copyright © 2023, Blue Night Productions. All rights reserved.