Well well well. Here’s another album from an artist I don’t know. His name is Jeff Fetterman and the title of his CD is Southern Son. Now, the email came from a publicist whom I like and trust, so sure I’m going to give it a listen – but it’s the title that has me intrigued.
See, I’m from the South. Lived here pretty much my entire life. I’ve watched my area of the world grow up and change its attitudes and approaches to its collective soul. Change doesn’t come easy here, but finally, changes are a-coming, and I, for one, am truly happy they are.
Since I don’t have any biographical information about Mr. Fetterman, I’ll have to take him at his word. It may be that he grew up listening to the same southern artists that I listened to. Giants like the Allman Brothers Band and those that came after them. Let’s check it out and see what he’s got.
Drums and B3 open I Don’t Want To and the horns add a slice of funk on the side. Fetterman’s guitar and vocals add a nasty touch to the proceedings and the whole work serves to pull you in quickly. I get the feeling I’m sitting in my favorite dive listening to a group I’ve known for years kicks it into high gear. The actual group may in fact be a stranger to me now, but they are as comfortable as family. Can’t wait to hear the rest.
Fetterman and company keep things cooking while they visit the crossroads in 49-61. If you’re reading this blog, you know all about the legend of what went down there. Turn it into a kick ass tune complete with a great horn section and some wicked devil voices and you’ve got this song. Can’t forget that great bass line. I need to find out the names of the members of Fetterman’s band, they rock. I like this one a lot!
Next up is Memphis Sky and the band mellows out a little bit, painting a picture of a great slice of America. Fetterman’s vocals are softer (slightly) and the growl is gone as he takes a different approach to the song. I like it, and will be adding it to my driving playlist. Memphis is a town of great memories for me – lots of times at lots of shows, fantastic barbecue, and quiet nights by the Mississippi River. This song evokes all those memories for me.
There’s another great town for musicians in Tennessee, and Going Down To Nashville covers it. And trust me, it swings! It’s got that great rockabilly soul and a blues heart. This is one that will most likely pop up on Time For The Blues, and it’s going on my exercise playlist. Love it!
The band slows everything down for Living With The Blues, and really gets into the emotion of the song. Following the previous bouncy number, this seems like a big drop, but oh, my great Blues God, it’s one of those songs that will resonate with just about every blues fan. I’ll definitely be playing this one sooner than later. Listen to the lyrics and then listen to the way Fetterman makes his guitar sing. This guy is the real thing!
Then thew switch gears and drop another kick ass track, Ain’t Got You. If you like your blues mixed with rock, this is the song for you. It reminds me of the great southern rockers I grew up listening to, and I’m sure that Fetterman is influenced by them as well. After all, the title of the album is Southern Son, and he shows a lot of pride in that moniker.
Fetterman then moves into Feels Like Rain, another deep south inspired number. It’s not as hard a rocker as the previous song, but it’s got the ingredients for a memorable tune – good lyrics, a strong hook, and solid music. Rain has always had a special place in blues and rock songs, and this is a good addition to that long list of titles.
The band gets to rocking hard with Tell Me Baby. The rhythm section gets a heavy workout and the guitar hangs back in the mix waiting for a chance to break out big. Definitely one for the blues rock lovers, maybe not so much for the purists. Fetterman seems happy to stay in his own niche, neither straight blues nor straight rock. Why not?
Having said that, he returns with Blues For Charlie, another powerful slow blues burn. The keys have a haunting effect and the horn section adds some spice. Fetterman’s guitar then takes center stage and wails mournfully. It’s a beautiful instrumental and I would love to hear it live just to hear the band jam.
Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower has had so many interpretations from psychedelic to folky. Fetterman uses some different drums, congas I believe, along with some bass and guitar to set the mood. The bass sets the mood and the guitar weaves through the tapestry of the song. Then maybe 1:30 into the song it kicks into high gear and takes a straight on rock approach. Very cool to tease one direction them quickly whip into another. Depending on your thoughts on the song will dictate how you feel about the interpretation.
There are a couple of Bonus Tracks listed on the disc. The first is Voodoo Funk and “funk” is the operational word. This is 6:29 of some funky grooves that would have been at home in the era of bell bottom pants and shiny shirts. In other words, my era. I could very easily picture this song playing out while my high school girlfriend (Hi Anne-Françoise!) and I did the Bump, the Hustle or any of those other dances that I’ve forgotten. Good work guys, and another fun jam song!
The second Bonus Track and final song on the album is Southside Blues, a great slow blues burn with some heavy keyboards taking the opening. His third instrumental (both bonus tracks are instrumentals) showcases all the members of the band and shows just how strong they are.
Southern Son is a very cool album, one that I’m going to enjoy sharing with our audience. Jeff Fetterman has a number of songs on YouTube and I suggest you check him out to see if you feel he’s your cup of tea.
Now that I’ve had a chance to look him up, I find that Fetterman is from Pennsylvania and not the South. Well, he’s got a Southern Spirit and Soul, so we’ll claim him anyway. Check himout at his website.