Peter Veteska & Blues Train
“So Far So Good“
Blue Heart Records
Release Date: January 21, 2022
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © Jan 2022
There may be a few others but off the top of my head, aside from Peter Veteska & Blues Train, I can’t think of any other blues bands that have six releases in a seven year span. Saying Peter’s got that blues train running at full throttle is, by no means, any exaggeration.
If there were ever a reason to argue that a trio consists of four members, Peter Veteska & Blues Train is the band to do it with. The nucleus of the band is Peter Veteska on guitars and vocals; Alex D’Agnese on drums and background vocals; and Coo Moe Jhee on bass and background vocals. With that said, since “special guest” Jeff Levine on Hamond B3, piano and Fender Rhodes – who: appears on every track; is Peter’s constant go to guy for a keyboardist; and is in the band more often than not – I rest my case. Other familiar guests to Blues Train fans on “So Far So Good”, the bands sixth release since 2014, include: Jenny Barnes on vocals; Mikey Junior on co vocals and harp; Roger Girke on guitar and co and background vocals; Rick Prince on bass; Derek “Slim” Matterson and Gary Neuwirth on harp; Chuck Lambert and John Fernandez on vocals; Kimberly White on background vocals; Paul “Slideman” Boddy on slide guitar; Tommy LaBella on sax; Steve Jankowski on trumpet and Doug DeHays on sax and baritone sax. Of the album’s twelve tracks, eight are Peter Veteska originals.
This original track is titled “I’ve Got The Blues This Morning” – but as Peter and Mikey tell it on the shared vocals – when the morning ends, the blues don’t know it did. This is lazy, laid back, slow blues at its best. With Alex and Coo Moe in relaxed rhythm groove behind them, the track features finessed acoustic pickin’ from Peter; delicate ivory ticklin’ from Jeff; and subtle (a word I never thought I’d use to describe this man’s style of play) harp blowin’ from Mikey.
This killer rendition of “I Miss You So”, a song by Gospel legend Rev. Morgan Babb, starts out with what might sound like your cell phone ringing. Don’t answer it! The call is from Peter to Jenny and on it, the vocal banter between them is nothing short of masterful. As a matter of fact, as soon as I said those words I had a flashback to my review of Peter’s last release – when he and Jenny blew me away on “Baby You Got What It Takes”. In addition to their powerful vocals, this smoker features Mikey Jr blowing my mind, blowing his harp; Jeff Levine testifying on the B3 organ as to exactly why he’s Peter’s go to guy; and Peter himself, crushing it on a one minute long, song ending blues guitar tear. I guess by saying that listening to this five minute and sixteen second track for about thirty minutes, kind of tells you it was easily one of the very best.
Honoring blues legend James Cotton, Peter and Chuck Lambert team up for a raucous vocal duet titled “Young Bold Women” (Cotton & Hambridge). With Alex and Rick pounding out a dance floor filling rhythm on drums and bass, while singing about what these young bold women are capable of, Peter and Chuck literally sing themselves into a frenzy. Whats that, did someone say frenzy?…..Yes Jeff and Mikey, you guys are in one as well.
The second, and unfortunately the last, duet featuring Peter and Jenny is a song by Max Longmire, that was made famous by Guitar Slim, and pretty much covered by just about every blues band and some from other genres as well. Playing the blame game, this rendition features Peter and Jenny repeatedly tossing it’s title – “You Give Me Nothing But The Blues” – at each other and making it sound so lovable. Speaking of lovable, loving her as I do, I so hope Jenny Barnes one day becomes this trio’s fifth member. Musically, it’s the only track that features the horn section and Tommy, Steve and Doug seized the moment by blowin’ the hell out of ’em. Another of many killer tracks.
I hate to sound predictable, but it is what it is. With the title of this original track being “Low Down Dirty Blues” – just by saying that, regular readers of my reviews are already finishing this paragraph for me. That said, it is indeed my favorite of the lot; and with it’s intense, organ led, slow blues rhythm; Peter’s heartfelt, pain sharing vocals; and his scorching blues guitar leads; it truly is low down dirty blues at it’s best. Simple as that!
With the opening verse to another original, titled “East Coast Blues”, being:
“Just left Rockland MaineFlyin’ down 95,
Got my foot to the floor
Tryin’ to make some time,
Gonna play some East Coast Blues, that’s right.”
Who else thinks that Peter and the guys just left the North Atlantic Blues Festival or some other Paul Benjamin related event? Wherever they may have played this smoker, I’m sure they had the crowd dancin’, hootin’ and howlin’. At a live show, the riotous rhythm Alex and Coo Moe were lashing out; combined with the riveting leads Peter, “Slideman Boddy” and Jeff were bashing out on the lead guitar, slide guitar and Hammond organ; could be nothing less than frenzy inducing. WOW!
Other tracks on another this – another monster, must have, Peter Veteska & Blues Train release – include: “Done With Bad Luck”; “My One And Only Muse”; “Lovin’ Oven”; “Baby Please” (Wirmworth, Vivino, Merritt & Johnson); the title track, “So Far So Good”; and “Can’t We All Get Along”.
To find out more about Peter Veteska & Blues Train, just go to – www.peterveteskabluestrain.com. Remember, wherever you go and whoever you contact, please let them know The Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient