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Music Review: Wentus Blues Band – Family Affair

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Over the last twenty years the Wentus Blues Band have built up a solid reputation and cult following as some of the finest players in the Blues genre. Their music bleeds raw emotion, oozing Delta soul, and you can almost imagine them onstage in a dingy Mississippi speakeasy or just sitting around jamming on a Louisiana porch. What may surprise unfamiliar listeners then, is that the Wentus Blues Band hail not from the American South, but from Finland.

Family Meeting is a double-disc live record, capturing the band at their best; in concert, celebrating their 20th anniversary. The concert has also been filmed for a DVD release later in the year.

The band’s performance is a joy, with all members displaying a rare, perfect balance between traditional blues sensibilities and more innovative influences. Their years of experience playing together shine through as not only are they an immensely tight unit, but they also weave expertly in and out of each others playing without once treading on anyone’s toes. Lead singer Juho Kinaret possesses a husky, emotive voice, somewhere between Robert Cray and Tom Waits, and fits into the line-up perfectly, seeing as he was only recruited in 2003.

In addition to the fine musicians from the Wentus Blues Band, we are also treated to a plethora of special guests and past collaborators, an impressive lineup consisting of a regular who’s who of Blues greats. There are appearances from Omar Dykes, Louisiana Red, Eddie Kirkland, Mick Taylor and Eric Bibb to name but a few, and each slides into the line-up with relative ease. The sympathetic playing of the ‘house’ band makes these changes seem natural and easy and at no point is the sound muddied by too many players or egos.

This release is one of the band's most impressive and satisfying records, and is sure to be welcomed by the band's already die-hard fans, as well as raising awareness amongst the blues community of one of the finest blues bands currently on the scene.

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