Mindi Abair is a smart woman. She’s the first one out of the gate with a Christmas album this year, AND she made sure that All I Got For Christmas Is The Blues is a killer album that will receive its share of airplay year after year. Hot on the heels of The EastWest Sessions and her hit song Pretty Good For A Girl is this album that utilizes her special blend of smoky sultriness with kick ass riffs.
Starting off with the title track, All I Got For Christmas Is The Blues, is about as blues as you can get with a strong bassline and Abair’s voice smokes. If this song isn’t included in every blues program’s Holiday show, there is no justice. The band blends beautifully with some extra sweet keyboards. If we could get more blues like this for Christmas, I would be very happy.
She follows up with some wailing sax on I Can't Wait For Christmas. It’s a driving song that really rocks. Aside from her great voice, Abair is a great sax player and she uses it to perfectly punctuate her songs. Some players can get carried away and almost drown a song, or move it more into the realm of jazz. Abair knows that fine line and uses her sax to give her that bigger sound without going too far. Love it!
The guitars give Merry Christmas Baby a real swinging delta sound and listen carefully to the percussion. I like this rocker a lot and know that it’s going to become a staple on my year-end playlist. Can I just say that I love Abair’s attitude and approach to her music? In the space of two short albums (plus one earlier jazzy one that I found at my favorite record store) I have become a huge fan and look forward to the day when our paths will cross.
Abair and company get a little more sentimental with the next song, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Don’t get me wrong, the song still rocks, but there’s a little sugar added to the mix. That doesn’t stop Abair from dropping a hot sax break that soars high in the middle of the song.
She keeps the sentimentality going with The Best Part Of Christmas. Light guitar and keys contrast with the more powerful songs that have preceded it. It’s a gorgeous ballad that tugs at your heart and makes you want to stare out of a snowy window while sipping a big mug of hot chocolate. Abair can make you rock and turn on a dime and make your heart ache.
Abair turns her attention to several well-known holiday songs, starting with Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. It has that nice old-school rock ‘n’ roll feel and just makes you smile and tap your toes. The sax really adds to the flavor of the song. Next up is her take on the Mel Tormé classic, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire). It’s a straight forward instrumental that showcases Abair’s great sax playing. There are a few unique touches, but for the most part, it offers up a faithful interpretation. She then takes on Chuck Berry’s Run Run Rudolph and gives it that breathless interpretation that the song demands. It’s a fun version that sounds like it was recorded at the band’s Christmas party. Lots of energy.
Abair closes out the album with Christmas Fool, a song with some decided country stylings. Its been a minute since I heard a blues song with a jaw harp in it, and this song sounds like it came straight from the delta. There’s a male singer handling the vocals, and I’ll need to get his name for the blog (left my notes back at the office, sorry). Hand clapping front porch style instrumentation makes this one a lot of fun and the perfect song to end the album.
|Santa Blues sez "Give More Blues!"|
Mindi Abair And The Boneshakers is one of the best things going. Don’t wait to pick this one up, because you’ll want to play it the entire holiday season. Want to find out more about the group? Try their website, https://www.mindiabair.com/ and if you’re looking for that perfect gift, remember music is always a perfect fit.