THE MIDNIGHT STRAIN
FULL BLOOM RECORDS
THE MIDNIGHT STRAIN–TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT–SHE BELONGS TO THE BOTTLE–GURU BLUE–THE DECLARED ONES–SITTING ON EMPTY–IKE AND DAISY–HERE WE GO AGAIN–DRIVE ME AWAY–DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH
Matt Walsh’s first exposure to music came from his mom’s love of Motown, and, as a young ‘un, his first concert was a Prince show. We became acquainted with Matt back ’round 2007, through a mutual friend, fellow North Carolinian and blues legend extraordinaire, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin. Matt’s 2007 release of “Hard Luck” got great buzz throughout the blues community, and he has only gotten better over the course of the last decade.
His latest release is on his own label, Full Bloom Records, and shows his incredible ease at handling various genres’. “The Midnight Strain” is its title, and, on the eleven all-original cuts herein, Matt covers blues, R & B, rockabilly, and even some hard-core honky-tonk. He’s on all manner of guitars, and harp and bottles on a few tracks!
Let’s get into this brilliant music. Leading off is the title cut, and it would be right at home for last call down at Tootsie’s or Robert’s. With pedal steel from Mike Salley and fiddle from Jesse Eversole, our hero bemoans his life’s situation, “I work all day and drink all night.” He uses cool twangin’ guitars for a “Peter Gunn”-ish (Go Google it if you are too young!) intro on “The Takeaway,” as Matt knows his lover is only sellin’ wolf tickets, “always talkin’, didn’t have a word to say.” “Guru Blues” taps into those deep blues roots, as does the acoustic, Delta-fied groove of the instrumental, “Ike And Daisy.” He closes the set with our favorite. It’s mostly-acoustic and passes on a valuable lesson–“good days will come again, so I am told, you think things bother you won’t take their toll, Don’t Hold Your Breath.”
Take a good look at the cover of “The Midnight Strain” and you’ll get a good idea of what’s in the grooves. Yep–the two devilish-looking characters involved in a tug-of-war embody Life’s choices, and the constant pull of good choices against the not-so-good. Matt Walsh, thru these songs, tries to help us make the right choices, or, at least, cope with the ones we do make! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.