Somewhere in the back of my addled brain, the name Shawn Pittman rings a bell. But a man who has released a dozen albums since the 1990’s better ring a bell. I only had one of those previous albums in my library (1998’s Burnin’ Up), but it’s a good one, so I became interested to hear what he was doing now.
His new album, Make It Right! released in early March on Continental Blue Heaven, and I wish I had given it a listen earlier. He’s put together a power trio of Shawn Pittman on guitar and vocals; Erkan Özdimer on bass; and Levent Özdimer on drums. Like many trios, there’s a stripping down of the sound to its most basic elements.
I don’t have much information about the CD in front of me, so what you’ll be reading is my unvarnished take on it while listening to it for the first time. Pay the price, take the ride…
Done Tole You So starts the album with a nice gritty beat (I must confess that I do love a down and dirty sound) that relies on the Özdimers to set the mood while Pittman provides the vocals and rhythm guitar, but waits to unleash his guitar. The song is heavy and makes for a great opening.
After that, they slow down for the next song, Finger On The Trigger. This song gives Pittman a chance to show some pyrotechnics on the guitar. His vocals seem like they’re a little more processed, not as gritty as the previous song. It’s good, I could play it on Time For The Blues, but I really want to see what else he’s got up his sleeve.
They follow up with the title track, Make It Right. The drums get a good workout on this song as it has a driving beat. Again, Pittman’s vocals seem processed, but his guitar cuts through the song and makes the song.
Even though the title reminds us of James Brown, I Feel Good is its own song. This one is grittier, a song delivered by a simple rhythm and the sounds of a vocalist who is cutting through the poetry some lyrics contain. This one lays it out and the music is infectious.
There Will Be A Day rocks old school. I could hear this one on just about any Chicago bandstand anytime day or night. This is a great song, and the trio is in rare form. I would play this and get requests for an encore! Pittman is in good voice and plays a mean guitar.
The follow up with the slow blues burn How Long?. Now this is the one-two punch I’ve been waiting for. No offense to the first four songs, they were good, but this one and the preceding song are great! The guitar and vocals are in top form, as Pittman reaches deep into his soul to pull the emotion out. I think I’ll be playing both of these songs post haste.
The follow up song, For Right Now, is a little more light rock than blues, but a guy has to experiment. It’s a good song, it just doesn’t elicit the same emotion the previous two songs did. If you like some Americana or rock with your blues, this is a good one. They quicken the pace with Cold Sweat and this is much more my speed. It’s an instrumental that showcases Pittman’s guitar and it definitely has that Chicago feel. Many bands in the Windy City like to start and end sets with an instrumental, and this number would be right at home in either spot.
Serious speed kicks off Woke Up Screaming, it’s got that psychobilly feel, but the guys reign it in and it becomes a mid-tempo number with some crooning vocals. This is a fun song that I will enjoy sharing with my audience and maybe it will even end up on my personal playlist. I love the twang in Pittman’s guitar on this song.
No, it’s not from Frozen. Let It Go has a Jimmy Reed feel to it. It’s a good shuffle, and it seems like the vocals are processed some. I really do prefer Pittman’s voice natural, and I may be wrong about describing it as I have. It could be my speakers, but his natural voice has more power, but that’s just my take.
Fair Weather Friends kicks off with some swampy delta sounds. His guitar answers his vocals in a call and response style. It’s a slower paced song but the vocals back a punch. The drop some heavy rocking on the final song, I’m Done. It’s the shortest song on the album but a ton of fun and pairs nicely with the previous song.
Shawn Pittman is a multi-instrumentalist with enormous talent. This latest disc has something for just about every taste and if this is the album that opens the door to exploring all of his other works, then kick that door down and let’s all check out his catalog.
You can check out Make It Right! and all of his other CDs and tour information (that is, when artists can tour again) on his website.