Tomislav Goluban
20 Years on the Road

Blue Heart Records
Publicity:  Blind Raccoon

Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © November 2022

20 Years on the Road is the fourteenth studio release for Tomislav Goluban and as its title indicates, it’s a celebration of his two decades as a performer.  The disc contains thirteen original tracks and a cover of a song by the late and legendary Sonny Terry – the musician who first inspired Tomislav to play harmonica.
The music was recorded live in the studio by three different sets of musicians – numbering seventeen in all – in Croatia and Austria; and it features nine different vocalists who are mostly very familiar to me from our mutual association with Blue Heart Records, Nola Blue Records and Blind Raccoon.
The instrumentalists making the music with Tomislav “Little Pigeon” Goluban – on harmonica – are: Peter Prammerdorfer, Mike Diwald, Hrvoje Funda, Vid Kotarski and Mike Sponza on guitar; Christian Egger, Tomislav Kuśar and Damjan Grbac on bass; Klaus Sauli, Dragutin Hojsak and Igor Vugrek on drums; Jurica Leikauff and Paul Kempf on keys; Robert Polgar on saxophone; Zvonimir Bajević on trumpet; and Mario Śincek on trombone; while the vocalists making the music with Tomislav include: Skylar Rogers; Mark Cameron; Malaya Blue; Kelly Zirbes; Gregg Martinez; Teresa James; and Crooked Eye Tommy. 
The disc opens with an all-out, full throttle instrumental smoker called “Express Ride”.  If you’ve ever taken an express ride – be it on a train, an elevator or what have you, you know its only goal is to get from point A to point B as fast as it possibly can.  With Tomislav in a runaway train groove on the harmonica and the members of The Tobacco Road Blues Band – Peter and Mike involved in an aggressive guitar slugfest, with Christian and Klaus in a high-speed chase on the rhythm – the band seems to take this express thing quite seriously. Facetiously speaking of course, they actually finished this five-minute-long song in under three minutes. 
On a song titled “Searchin’ for My Baby”, the first of the guest vocalists to kick things off is Skylar Rogers.  The common denominator here is that the song originally appeared on Tomislav’s Chicago Rambler and Skylar is a blues belter from Chicago.  Should you not be familiar with her, a listen to this one and you’ll know why her last release was called Firebreather.  The shuffle features significant bass lines by Tomislav Kuśar; fabulous organ and piano leads by Jurica; and jumpin’ harmonica leads by the “Little Pigeon”.
The next track featuring another fabulous woman of the blues – Malaya Blue, is titled “Electric Lights”.  It features a powerful organ and drum led rhythm by Jurica and Dragutin with Malaya belting out the blues with large amounts of sass and range.
I know the use of the words “No Means No” actually don’t limit the gender they apply to, but I have to admit that hearing them used by a man did throw me for a loop.  That said, in a song about an overly aggressive woman overstepping her boundaries with an uncomfortable man, the lyrics “if this was the other way around, I’d be in jail laying on the ground” did put it all into perspective.  With his deep voice and smooth vocal style, Ryan Donohue – the only vocalist of the lot I had not yet heard – was most impressive.  Musically, the track is kind of two songs in one.  Combining an up-tempo get-a-long-little-doggie country vibe with a powerful rhythm led by a full horn section, it was like Roy Rogers and Dale Evans meet Tower of Power… and it worked.
“Disappear For Good” is one of the disc’s more laid-back tracks.  The relaxed rhythm and percussion, the soft bluesy guitar and organ leads; and the tranquil harmonica riffs; all indeed highlights, are the perfect musical backdrop for Gregg Martinez to shine with his swampy, soulful style of vocals. 
This one is titled “Speedin’ Train” and there’s no doubt in my mind that, like in the opening track, it’s an express ride.  Doing songs with a frantic pace as instrumentals are one thing but having a vocalist keep up with the craziness is just plain crazy.  That said, with her vocal performance on this way, Teresa James was indeed crazy… in crazy good!        
On this track, when Crooked Eye Tommy tells his mean and evil woman “I Can’t Take It Anymore” I’m sure she got the point.  With some growl in his voice and a whole lot more of it in his attitude, Tommy sounds as serious as a heart attack.  He’s also sounding as good as I’ve ever heard him.  And just like there’s smoke coming out of Tommy’s ears, it’s quite apparent in the music, as well.
When it comes to picking red or black, rolling the right numbers in the game of craps, or being dealt the two cards needed for blackjack, Mark Cameron indeed has the “Gambler’s Blues”.  On the other hand – no pun intended – although he’s singing about losing, his vocal skills sure do make him a winner.  Just stay out of the casinos and stick to the juke joints, Mark. 
If I were to go down this list of these great guest vocalists – and then some – I couldn’t have picked a more perfect person to sing this song than Kelly Zirbes (a.k.a. Kelly’s Lot).  Knowing her as I do, and having worked with her many times before, I know for a fact that when it comes to protest songs, preaching peace and just plain old being inspirational, Kelly truly practices what she preaches.  The song is titled “Everyday’s Fear” and it features Kelly doing what Kelly does best. 
The disc comes to a close with Tomislav singing a joyous version of “I Love You Baby” as he pays homage to his biggest inspiration, Sonny Terry.  Other songs on 20 Years on the Road include: “Blow Junkie Boogie”; “Party Time Blues”; “Hittin’ the Road Again”; and “Forhill’s Boogie”. 

Should like to find out more about Tomislav Goluban, just go to –  Remember, wherever you go and whomever you speak with, please tell them their friend the Blewzzman sent you. 

The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient

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