|“The life I love is makin’ music with my friends,” are words from the Willie Nelson classic that, for journeyman guitarist David Lumsden, has been his axiom since he was in Junior High performing in garage and basement bands. The former lead guitarist for the acclaimed blues woman Hurricane Ruth (2011-17) steps up as a leader on his new album “Hues Of Blues.” Lumsden gathered together several of his dearest friends including Mary Jo Curry, Bill Evans, Steve “The Harp” Mehlberg and Wayne Carter for 12 new tracks that span the breadth of his influences and showcase his hard-won skills on the fretboard.
Lumsden opens the album with a spirited update of Earl Hooker’s 1969 electric blues romp ‘You Got To Lose,’ with his jagged guitar picking supported by Tim Bahn on heavy Hammond B3 and the stout rhythm section of Gary Davis on bass and drummer Arthur Carey Sr. Veteran of the Central Illinois Blues community, Bill Evans, joins Lumsden for a lively duet on the blues classic ‘Further On Up The Road, trading verses and guitar solos. The first of three appearances by fellow partner in crime, Wayne Carter, who takes over the vocal duties on the saucy Chicago blues ‘You’re Ruining My Bad Reputation.’ Carter led his own band – Wayne Carter & Organ Twisters – during the late 1960s and now performs regularly with Lumsden.
The slinky Jeff Beck composition ‘Brush With The Blues,’ would be a challenge for any guitarist. On this track, recorded live at Pop’s Place in Decatur, Lumsden pulls out all his skills, sculpting the sound without the use of any studio trickery. The jaunty honky-tonk blues ‘What’s The Matter With The Mill,’ features drumming vocalist Reggie Britton, leader of the Black Magic Johnson Band along with Steve “The Harp” Mehlberg and Ezra Casey on keys for a fun-loving take on the old Memphis Minnie ramble. Powerhouse blues lady Mary Jo Curry joins forces with Lumsden to co-write the autobiographical tale of a wild child ‘Raised Me Right,’ with him unleashing gritty slide guitar to match her full-throated alto on a southern fried blues rocker.
International Blues Hall of Fame inductee and harmonica master Steve “The Harp” Mehlberg steps in on lead vocals for two tracks. First his own dance floor number ‘On Bended Knee,’ and again on an oft recorded Chicago blues staple ‘Cut You Loose,’ which they morph by coping the riff from ‘Good Morning Little School Girl,’ and adding a little more grease. Wayne Carter leads the crew on piano and vocal through fine readings of ‘Thrill Is Gone,’ and ‘Georgia On My Mind,’ paying loving tribute to the masters; B.B. King and Ray Charles. Lumsden and the boys get wild on a raucous tear thru ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’’ letting their freak flag fly high.
Chicago guitarist Andon Davis delivers soulful slide leads on the beautiful instrumental cover of the Led Zeppelin masterpiece ‘Rain Song,’ closing “Hues Of Blues” with a marvelous and unexpected denouement, proving the shades of the blues are indeed deep and wide.
Rick J Bowen
At age six after watching the TV show “Peter Gunn,” David hounded his father to take him to the record store to buy the Henry Mancini soundtrack album thereby providing first introduction to cool blues/jazz styles. Four years later, when David got his first guitar, he became heavily influenced by the British blues rock revolution of the 1960’s starting with the Yardbirds’ “Rave Up” album. In 1970, at age 15, another aspiring musician foolishly loaned him Freddie King’s “Getting Ready” album and that was it; David was hooked and never returned the album. Since then, in addition to having a “day” job, David has performed in many regional bands as well as being the lead guitarist for Hurricane Ruth for several years.