Bobby Messano’s name is not yet immediately recognizable to most people, but it should be. For years, he was a sought after studio musician and toured with many national acts, including Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. His CD Live From Madison was nominated for a Grammy award.
That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues, Messano’s latest CD, is getting a lot of airplay and considerable buzz, and so it should. This is the best blues/rock CD I’ve heard this year.
Not only does Messano have a great blues/rock voice—it is strong, and just weathered enough and capable of delivering his lyrics with sincerity—but he is backed by an excellent band. From the pounding drums that open up “More Than Meets the Eye” at the start of the CD right to the album’s end, they keep the sound tight. Band members Steve Geller, Joey B. Banks, Jimmy Voegel, Pete Ross, Chad Whittinghill, and Bryan Husk, along with Messano on electric and acoustic guitar and dobro, set up a wall of sound reminiscent of the classic Memphis sound or even of Motown.
All of the songs on the CD were written or co-written by Messano except for one, an excellent version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Gypsy Eyes.” I can’t really pick a favorite, but I love the humor of “That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues,” the jazzy “Blue Freddie,” which puts the spotlight on the band, “Pride of the Cockney Rebels,” and the heavy, rocking “No Soul City.” There is not one bad song on the CD though.
Messano delivers on That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues. Fans of groups like The Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks Band, or musicians such as Clapton or Winwood will love this CD.