Seth Rosenbloom – As the Crow Flies
While not as blues scarred as the elders this Massachusetts guitarist does have the goods. Seth Rosenbloom’s talent emanates from his guitar in a Jeff Healy, Robert Cray & Robben Ford way. It’s not gutsy & intense, rustic & reedy as the late John Campbell, Tony Joe White, or Roy Buchanan but it’s credible. Has bite.
“Did You Try To Break My Heart,” – a good blues. It has guitar heat, but the voice lacks the “pain” of having lived the blues. This can be remedied. Don’t try to sing so perfectly. It’s the blues. Its emotion, dense & gruff, with no polish, the scuffs & blemishes are what give the blues life. “The Thrill Is Gone,” by B.B. King – is commercial blues but still had an edge. That’s where the grain is.
Seth’s guitar stings & though reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn he maintains the attraction Vaughn managed to convey. With “Set Me Free,” he wisely injects his near-bluesy Boz Scaggs vocal strut that’s woven well by his soulful backup singers.
As the Crow Flies (Drops Jan. 13-Independent) & was produced by Seth (vocals/guitars). It’s a 47-minute, 9-cut mixed bag of humid juke-joint electric guitar. The vocals need more street-cred & with blues-ethos inflection to allow the lyrical cream to rise to the top. The allure has to be dirtied-up ala Elvis Presley (“Reconsider Baby”) or Tracy Nelson (“I Need Your Love So Bad”).
Seth’s blues guitar leads with its teeth & while the vocals aren’t at that level, yet, due in part to his Berklee years, he needs to know when the technical skills benefit him & when the natural traditional blend of the blues is in focus. That has to be experienced. He’s perfectly capable & just needs the vocal soul inherent to match his own guitar licks. It isn’t taught in music schools. It’s back porch lessons with J.J. Cale, Mike Bloomfield, Buddy Guy, Paul Butterfield, B.B. King, or John Campbell.
The blues must run down an arm into the wrists up through the fingers & down on the strings. It isn’t always about flash but feeling. Seth has the ingredients. On “Gotta Roll,” he summons the ghosts of Jerry Reed & Elvis with its excellent 60s drive & spirit. The final tune “Give Me the Ring Back,” is a good song but it’s sung too perfectly. These blues have precision – precision vocals is like too much sugar. Ask Janis Joplin – her blues croissants were perfect.
This set is recommended because the man plays with enthusiasm. And that’s worth the price of admission. Musicians: Ryan Taylor (rhythm/slide guitar), Jesse Williams (bass), Bruce Bears (organ/piano), Mark Teixeira (drums), Sonya Rae Taylor & Erica Van Pelt (bgv), Michael Rosenbloom (violin) & Andra Voldins Dix (viola).
Highlights: “As The Crow Flies,” “Did You Try To Break My Heart,” “Set Me Free,” “I Wish You Could See Me Now,” “Blind Eye,” & “Gotta Roll.”
Image from Seth’s website. CD @ https://www.sethrosenbloom.com/home