What The Press Has To Say
“Summer Rain” is the fifth studio production to date by the American with the long beard. The eleven new numbers were all recorded at Dudley Taft’s own studio and penned by the man himself. These awesomely driving numbers set the air on fire. “Summer Rain” is a wonderful guitar rock album that immediately drills itself into your aural track, where it’s set to remain. This CD really has no weak points, is great fun and invites you to listen to it. Well done, Dudley!
Taft devotes himself not to urban blues but to a more energetic variety, frequently referred to as Seattle blues, a mix of blues rock and grunge ...
Steaming Texas blues, grooving shuffles, balladesque moments, crisp riffs and concise solos – a rock solid, diverse CD.
Good Times, February/March 2018
“Summer Rain” is probably Dudley’s best work to date. While all of his releases so far have a certain darkness to them, this one features the underlying theme of a soldier’s hardships, stress, toil, and struggle to find a way home that makes this a cohesive whole. His songwriting is that perfect combination of brooding remembrance with killer guitar chops that all blues rock fans adore. bluesrockreview.com
“Summer Rain” once again proves one thing about its creator: Taft can be straightforward (‘Pistols At Ten Paces’, ‘Come With Me’) as well as extravagant with the number of ideas (‘Moonbeam’) that he introduces within an average playing time of five minutes. This way, the accomplished bluesman has succeeded in recording an impressive album with great live potential that features undiluted blues as close to the genre’s arguable boundaries as only few artists have done before him.
The transition between rock, blues and a tiny little bit of alternative, combined with Taft’s unmistakable voice, has always been the attraction of his music. A definite must for all those who liked his previous albums. All other fans of the genre should also chance a peek or indeed a listen, it’s well worth it.
A terrific album featuring great blues and roots elements away from the mainstream.
... in terms of sound, performance and production a more than remarkable album for all fans of blues-soaked rock with a perceptible degree of toughness. So the musician from Washington D.C. has got a lot of things right on “Summer Rain” that should also appeal to fans of classic rock music.
hooked on music.de
Dudley Taft definitely doesn’t present the same old blues story that you forget as soon as you’ve heard it. In fact “Summer Rain” sounds exciting, interesting and for that reason also remarkable and recommendable thanks to its mélange.
DEEP ROOTS 1/21/2018
The merciless sonic blitzkrieg of electric blues and rock fueling Dudley Taft’s 2014 scorcher, Screaming in The Wind, continues unabated on Summer Rain, but lyrically Taft is now focused on what a woman did, or does, to him. This fixation reaches a truly baroque high point on the title track, when his gruff vocals are augmented by a gospel backing chorus shadowing his assertion of love’s healing sensations while his guitar snarls, struts and wails. On the other hand, “Edge of Insane” finds him turned inside out with physical fever and fervor for a woman who engaged him in a bout of “surreal love making” before taking her leave and “pushing me off/right off the edge of insane.” Pressing the point, Dudley cuts out on a blistering solo evoking his inner tumult as drummer Jason Patterson propels the onslaught forward and the legendary organ master Reese Wynans fleshes out the track, you might say, with full, robust soloing. In a big finish, two songs, “I Lost My Way” and “Find My Way Back Home,” both bluesy, thoughtful and self-lacerating, offer searing guitar and the artist’s resolve to rectify his past wrongs in matters of the heart. To be continued. David McGee
ZZ Top ain’t got nothin’ on Dudley Taft in the beard department! Back from Poland where he performed to 10,000+, his fifth CD, Summer Rain (American Blues Artists Group), is a real barnburner filled with 11 originals. His songs, his rough-hewn voice, his stinging lead guitar, all recorded in his own Cincinnati studio (that he bought from Peter Frampton in 2013), shows an artist maturing into the kind of dire threat who will not back down. Dedicated to the brave men and women of the military, his songs—especially “Edge Of Insane” and “Pistols At 10 Paces” reek of a do-or-die mentality impossible to ignore. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s longtime keyboardist Reese Wynans is on hand and there’s no telling which direction the music will traverse. Opener “Flying On Love,” for instance, has Taft leaning heavy on his fuzz pedal, self-producing layer upon layer of guitar atop drum loops. This sense of all-out adventurousness (and consequences be damned!) must have started in his high school band Space Antelope with Trey Anastasio of Phish. Taft’s a real character, alright. Who else would name his 2011 debut Left For Dead? And if you ever are lucky enough to catch this incendiary American live, request he do Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues” ‘cause he can flat-out nail it!
Metronome Magazine – Boston – October, 2017
• FLYING ON LOVE
• DARK BLUE STAR
• SUMMER RAIN
• EDGE OF INSANE
• LIVE OR DIE
• PISTOLS AT TEN PACES
• DON’T LET IT FADE
• COME WITH ME
• I LOST MY WAY
• FIND MY WAY BACK HOME
Ohio based singer-songwriter-guitarist Dudley Taft is no stranger to the music business. A former member of Space Antelope (with Trey Anastasio of Phish) ‘90s rock band Sweet Water and later Second Coming, Taft formed his own band in 2007 and never looked back. On his fifth solo studio release, Summer Rain, Taft boasts a powerful command of the guitar while offering up some well penned rock anthems fueled by his certified journeyman vocals. Although Dudley touts himself as a bluesman, the veteran player eclipses those traditions on Summer Rain with an abundance of hard rockin’ psychedelic tones and textures. Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush come to mind when listening to Taft’s trippy guitarscapes and vibe from song to song.
There’s a lot to like on this well produced album- the songwriting is top notch, and the overall sound quality is stellar. It was clearly well thought out. Bassists Kasey Williams & John Kessler, drummers Jason Patterson & Mike Taponga, B3 organist Reese Wynans (SRV) and singers Rachel Williams and Charmae (Taft’s daughter) all add their respective talents to this outstanding release.
Tracks of note include the blazing album opener “Flying On Love,” the album’s gregarious title track “Summer Rain,” the Lynyrd Skynyrd infused “Edge of Insane,” the Robin Trower-esque “Live or Die,” and the high steppin’ drive of “Come With Me.”
Taft tours European markets more than he does his home turf so it will be hard to catch him live but I highly suggest giving his new album, Summer Rain, a spin or two. You won’t be sorry, I guarantee it. [B.M.O.]
BLUES MATTERS - UK
American Blues Artist GROUP
The more blues music you listen to, the wider the range of sounds and styles that live under its welcoming inclusive umbrella come past your ears. Of course, there are touchstones – the instrumentation, the basic lyric subjects, the top-end musicianship, the visual style – but the potential for varying any and all of these makes discovering new music and new artists an endless pleasure. Dudley Taft sounds a lot smoother than he looks from the cover of his fifth studio album, and his guitar work is a real discovery, he manages to fit some blisteringly complex licks into short phrases that compliment his pleasing vocal presentations. The smooth boogie rock beat of Edge of Insane encapsulates Taft’s skill in bringing the elements together. As mixer and producer, there is no doubt that Taft has a great grasp of what works in terms of getting his sound down in the studio. Recorded in a studio he inherited from Peter Frampton when Taft bought Frampton’s house, he has taken time to experiment with mics and guitars, and his care yields wonderful results on this album. Live Or Die is a slow burning blues that recalls early Robin Trower with its full fat guitar sound, and Pistols At Ten Paces, showcasing the seminal keyboard work of Reese Wynans. fully deserves to be heard live, when it’s a sure bet that Taft will stretch things out to give his guitar work some breathing space. The last two songs dial down from the heavyweight blues rock sound, and bring Taft’s beautifully sensitive vocals to the front. An album from a musician who has hit his peak, no doubt greater music will follow this. It appears that Taft is very popular in Scandinavia where regular readers will know, there exists a thriving and growing blues music scene. Fingers crossed Dudley and the band will make the short hop over to the UK and make a brand-new fan base with this wonderful album, and a doubtless incendiary live show to go with it.
BMAN'S BLUES REPORT
I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Summer Rain, from Dudley Taft and it's a powerhouse. Opening with Flying On Love, a power blues rocker, Taft is back with a vengeance.
Heavy overtones, distortion soaked guitar riffs, pounding drums and beefy bass is the ticket. Taft on lead vocal and guitar, is backed by Kasey Williams on bass, Jason Patterson on drums and Reese Wynans on organ. Title track, Summer Rain, is a strong rocker with a memorable melody, strong guitar riffs, nicely harmonized vocals and super drumming by Mike Taponga. I particularly like Edge Of Insane with it's simple vocal and guitar pairing and cool hook as well as some of the best vocals on the release. One of my favorites on the release is Live or Die with it's tone saturated guitar riffs and classic Robin Trower like, rock overtones. This is a track that players will dig into. Very cool. Another standout track is Don't Let It Fade with it's lumbering bop groove, warm vocals, smoky guitar riffs and cool organ. Very nice. Come With Me is another track with a lot of oomph. A wall of sound, great guitar lines and a super melody gives this track just the right feel. I Lost My Way has a haunting melody giving it the right foundation for a super guitar fed melodic solo and a cool rock ballad. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Find My Way Back Home, a heavy footed rocker with nicely blended vocals and strong blues rock roots. This is a strong, evenly balanced release and possibly Taft's best effort.
Don & Sheryl’s Blues Blog – September 19, 2017
AMERICAN BLUES ARTISTS GROUP
FLYING ON LOVE–DARK BLUE STAR–SUMMER RAIN–EDGE OF INSANE–LIVE OR DIE–PISTOLS AT TEN PACES–DON’T LET IT FADE–MOONBEAM–COME WITH ME–I LOST MY WAY–FIND MY WAY BACK HOME
Hard-rockin blues man Dudley Taft has always had an intense passion for those that serve in our nation’s military, and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. He’s taken that passion and channeled it into the eleven original cuts that comprise his fifth solo album, this one for American Blues Artists Group, “Summer Rain.” The feeling of anguish thru long periods of separation from family permeates these songs, as well as a feeling of toil that has no end.
The set leads off with Dudley’s trademark layered guitars laying the groundwork for “Flying On Love,” as memories of “fine tequila and sensimiila” help keep this soldier sane through the tough times. The title cut uses the metaphor of constantly being battle-ready to that endless summer that begs for the rain to cool things off, and ultimately, wash away all worldly troubles. Dudley’s daughter, Charmae, is featured herein as a backing vocalist.
Longtime SRV keyboard man Reese Wynans is also featured throughout, but his contributions to the Hendrix-inspired “Live Or Die” give this cut that extra somethin’ special that only Reese can do. “Pistols At Ten Paces” takes a hard look at the true consequences of war, with a plea to “learn from their mistakes” for the future. And, the set closes full-circle, using both acoustic and electric guitars to convey a soldier’s vow to, eventually, “Find My Way Back Home,” ’cause “this old bird needs two good wings to keep flying high!”
Dudley Taft realizes that separation due to fulfillment of military obligations is a necessary but daunting task. He does what he does best–serve s up a set of hard-biting blues with “Summer Rain,” to let those who wear the uniform and their families know just how much their efforts are appreciated. Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
BEN VEE BLUES
Dudley Taft’s Summer Rain lets the blues rock pour down!
I first became aware of Dudley Taft back in 2011 with the release of Left for Dead, a great blues rock album that highlighted his unique and memorable voice. Fast forward six years, and we get his fifth studio album, Summer Rain, which is just as good. Dudley laid down the basic tracks for the new CD in his new studio outside Cincinnati (that he bought from Peter Frampton) and wrote all the songs. He is an unabashed blues rocker and his music draws on the best of both its progenitors and helps to define the genre.
Come with Me sounds like a perfect mesh of Ted Nugent and Deep Purple; his guitar soars as an insistent beat drives the song….good stuff! Dark Blue Star, Edge of Insane, and Don’t Let It Fadejust crank! My favorite tune is Flying on Love…..like fine tequila..sensimilla…you take me higher…why don’t we just drink margaritas and sit by the fire…..what a damn good idea…make it a bottle of Don Julio 1942 and I will be right there! I Lost My Way and Live or Die are beautiful slow songs with great guitar licks. And the title cut, Summer Rain, features some more great guitar riffs.
Dudley dedicated his album to all the men and women in the armed forces who accept duty tours in faraway places. One of my greatest honors as a DJ has been to have troops stationed in Afghanistan tune into my live DJ sets on the Secondlife social grid and request mainly upbeat blues rock tunes to pump them up before they go out on missions. The song, Pistols At Ten Paces, is one that I will be sure to play if they ask again.
This album was a great listen! It will be officially released on September 15th and I hope it does well in terms of radio/internet play and sales over the coming months. Download it as soon as you can….you won’t be disappointed!
Dudley Taft – Summer Rain Taft Enterprises LLC 2017
SUMMER RAIN Dudley Taft (American Blues Artist Group) ****+
I love rock & roll and I love the blues, and the way Dudley Taft puts them together has always done it for me. Here on his 5thalbum Summer Rain, dedicated to the men and women of the military, he’s found another gear and kicked it into overdrive.
“I have the greatest respect for those men and women who serve in the military, especially those who are deployed halfway around the world in the hot spots of sectarian conflict” Taft says. “This album pays tribute to these soldiers who sacrifice much of their lives to defend freedom and support their families. The separation from their loved ones and significant others must weigh heavy on their hearts.” That explains the running theme of anguished separation and endless toil that informs these 11 songs.
All of the basic tracks on Summer Rain were recorded at Taft’s own studio, which he purchased from Peter Frampton in 2013, then taken to Nashville and finished off. Produced by Taft himself, this disc includes contributions from SRV keyboard player Reese Wynans amongst others, resulting a powerful, muscular record that bristles with emotion and sheer horsepower. Each of the songs has its own story to tell too; the title track talks about laboring miserably far from home under the hot sun, hoping for the rain to wash away the pain and cool things down, Edge Of Insane is a lighter take on a jilted lover, Pistols At 10 Paces has some political commentary (uncharacteristic for Taft), and Find My Way Back Home is about returning home after a long separation from family.
Summer Rain is an album you can definitely rock out to, but if you look further than just the grooves you’ll find a dark chewiness that makes it far more than just another slab of blues/rock. Taft’s powerful guitar playing is the star here, but everyone else’s contributions this is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
KEY CUTS: Live or Die, Dark Blue Star, I Lost My Way
LEE COUNTY COURIER
Not only does Dudley Taft look like the son of another mother from ZZ Topp, his latest CD, Summer Rain, sounds the part too — especially on the
opening track “Flying on Love.” “I reached for my fuzz pedal and layered guitars over a couple killer drum loops and had Jason (Patterson) play on
top of those,” Dudley said. “The title track, ‘Summer Rain,’ clocks in a little under six minutes, telling the tale of laboring miserably far away from home under the hot sun hoping for the rain to wash away the pain and cool things down.”
On this fifth studio album, the Washington D.C. blues rocker pays tribute to the troops. “I have the greatest respect for those men and women who serve in the military, especially those who are deployed halfway around the world in the hot spots of sectarian conflicts,” he said. “This album pays tribute to these soldiers who sacrifice much of their lives to defend freedom and to support their families. The separation from their loved ones and significant others must weigh heavy on their hearts.” The master guitarist and vocalist began as a songwriter and member of the Seattle-based band Sweet Water and then on to become the chief songwriter for the Washington rock band Second Coming, before founding the Dudley Taft Band. Beginning in 2007, the first CD, Left For Dead, was a mixture of originals and traditional blues covers. I was a late fan, not catching up to Dudley’s monster sound until 2014 Screaming In the Wind, which quickly became my driving CD. The album made the top 10 Blues Rock albums that year on the Blues Underground Network, and the song “Red Line” was the #1 single on the Hit Tracks Top 100.
Besides the title track and opening cut, my other favorites are “Live or Die” the longest blues workout on the album and the closing cut “Find My Way Home” with the protagonist returning home after a long separation from his family. For more, dudleytaft.com
AMERICAN BLUES ARTISTS GROUP
DUDLEY TAFT/Summer Rain
If Taft's stuff sounds like southern rock that's been stripped down, it might be because he's a blues rocker with a heart and from Ohio. Hard hitting stuff that would be unbridled southern rock if there was some Charlie Daniels and Toy Caldwell in the mix, this is the stuff people that look at the Walmart parking lot and see the ghosts of corn fields need to rock the night away. A sure fingered guitar slinger, he makes himself at home on all left of center broadcast outlets, making a real impression every time out. Hot stuff. – Chris Spector
BLUES IN BRITAIN
Dudley Taft – Summer Rain
American Blues Artists Group Label
If you have a penchant for Blues-Rock, then Dudley Taft’s latest release is right up your particular blues alley.
Backed by a tight and hot band that features the keyboard expertise of the great Reese Wynans, Taft’s muscular and frenetic slide work is explosive in the extreme, reminding me of a combination of Johnny Winter and George Thorogood.
Taft opens with the frenzied ‘Flying On Love,’ his guitar crying out in unison with his vocals, bringing to mind a bluesy Ram Jam Band. The pulsing back beat on ‘Dark Blue Star’ with it’s wild rock inflected vocals means that this track would not be out of place on a Sabbath recording – the title track is a brooding groover where Taft’s voice moans in unison with his vocals – the propulsive riff that fuels ‘Pistols At Ten Paces’ is heavy blues rock at it’s finest – whilst ‘Edge Of insane’ is pure Thorogood.
Add in the crashing slide and compelling grooves of ‘Come with Me’ and the lowdown grooves of ‘Don’t Let It Fade’ and you have a set that will delight all lovers of heavy blues rock. (www.dudleytaft.com)
(translated from Dutch)
Singer-songwriter and blues / rock guitarist Dudley S. Taft Jr. Is the frontman of the Dudley Taft Band, songwriter and band member of the hard rock bands Sweet Water and Second Coming and Omnivoid guitarist. As a teenager Dudley grew up in Minnesota. He studied music at the famous Berklee College of Music (an independent conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, founded by Lawrence Berk in 1945) and was musically accompanied by the local guitar hero and instructor from Indianapolis, IN, Rob Swaynie. Dudley's musical career began at high school in Space Antelope, which he founded with his friend Trey Anastasio.
Sweet Water, a rock band from Seattle, Washington, was founded in 1990 and debuted in 1993 with the titled "Sweet Water" album, produced by Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Pearl Jam) and timed by Tim Palmer. In 1995 Dudley left the band. Dudley Taft, Travis Bracht (guitar, vocals), Johnny Bacolas (bass) and James Bergstrom (drums), who performed as a cover band under the name FTA, founded Second Coming in 1997 and signed at Capitol Records. Beginning of 2000, Dudley Second Coming leaves and singer Patrick Napper, bassist Robot and drummer Andy Gregg, Omnivoid. Omnivoid released two EP's: 'Combustion'  and 'Ignition' .
In 2007, Taft founded his own 'Dudley Taft Band' with Scott Vogel as drummer and Evan Sheeley as bassist. They debuted (in-house) with 'Left For Dead' in 2010 and in 2011 they bring to German M.i.G. Label (again and worldwide) 'Left For Dead' with the bonus track "When The Levee Breaks".
Dudley has built a fanatic fan base in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. Every year one can look forward to a number of concerts and meanwhile Dudley has released several albums. Last year, the album "Live In Europe" was released. An album, as the title says, was recorded in 2015 during the concerts in Poland and the Netherlands.
For his fifth studio album Summer Rain, Taft (together with bassists John Kessler & Kasey Williams and drummers Jason Patterson & Mike Tapogna) took up again at the Muchmore Studio in Cincinnati, OH and he went to the Omni Sound Studio in Nashville, TN, where he recorded the keyboard overdubs.
"Flying On Love" opens the album with a number of drum loops as a base, with Dudley's masterful guitar over there. With "Dark Blue Star" the sky opens and it's time for a portion of rock. In the title song "Summer Rain", Dudley brings the story of workers who are tired and far from home under the hot sun, hoping that the rain will wash away the pain and things will relate. "Edge of Insane", a Texas rocker, is a nod to someone who gets the blow. The speed goes down for the Hendrix-like "Live or Die" and the polytic message in "Pistols at Ten Paces". Also in "Do not Let It Fade" Dudley's Wah-Wah Pedal is the master and for "Moonbeam" Dudley's twin guitar can be used to bring some acoustic accents. The explosive "Come With Me" casts off with the rock ballads "I Lost My Way" and the "Find My Way Back Home" shutter, which makes the circle back and where the main character (read: the tourist) finally returns home after a long separation of his family.
Dudley Taft just returned to Cincinnati, OH after a major European tour. He proves live and now with his new album 'Summer Rain' that he belongs to the blues rock guitarists. A rocking recommend!
Check for more info and / or all tour dates, the artist / band website!
The Rocktologist (Slovenia)
Dudley Taft serves up his latest studio offering as a tribute to “men and women in the military making enormous sacrifice in order to defend freedom”. It’s a rather simplified assessment of the situation that conveys a tenuous grasp of reality, nevertheless the music is worthy of suffering a delusion or two.
Reactionary politics aside, “Summer “Rain” lays down oodles of strong material, dominated by mewling guitars sitting on barstool rhythms. At the front of the attack is Dudley, his saw-toothed vocals twist and turn around choppy riffs like a raunchy warthog sniffing for insects. Whether it’s the groove laden “Dark Blue Star”, the wistful, dark undertone of “I Lost My Way” or the reinforced-concrete blues rock of “Come With Me”, Taft is at the top of the game. He’s also tune conscious, his melodic side distilling best with the sultry, soulful sighs of “Moonbeam”. A couple of workmanlike chuggers aside, “Summer Rain” is a magnificent showcase of Taft’s abilities.
7 out of 10
ROCK, ROOTS, & BLUES - LIVE
March 30, 2016
Dudley Taft's "Skin and Bones" feels like a throwback to a time when albums rocked and all the parts come together - the self-assured vocals complimenting his southern-tinged rock guitar. A toe-tapping, drive 90 mph album. Dudley's an accomplished guitarist with his many styles cutting through each song. Opening with the title track, you know you are in for something special from the onset. Other than the title track, of note are Dudley's cover of Johnny Winter's "Leeland Mississippi Blues", with it's old school feel and slippery slide work, Mr. Taft does a wonderful job at playing the hell out of this classic. Then there is the heavy "Ain't About The Money" with it's almost Black Sabbath-like opening rhythym. This tune has a great dark feel - the kind of rock I remember from when I was 17, hard, heavy, vocals in time with the beat, and a story to tell. More driving music! Another added to the "to see" list. Find this album and all about Dudley Taft at: dudleytaft.com
Blues Blast Magazine
January 22, 2016
Guitar slinger Dudley Taft had a plan when he went looking for a new house with space for a recording studio. But he struck gold when he landed a pad in Cincinnati formerly owned by rock superstar Peter Frampton. All he had to do was turn the key and he was ready to go.
An artist who likes to put down songs in one take and make adjustments later, Taft combines blues, rock and grunge as he puts a personal stamp on his high-octane music that comes across with a Delta feel. With his background, he really doesn’t have anything to prove. While still in high school, he formed the band Space Antelope with future Phish frontman Trey Anastasio.
Taft needed a little help setting up what he now calls Muchmore Studio, and there was a phone in the studio that was dedicated as a connection to a help line. When he needed to use it, he was shocked because it led directly to a conversation with the former owner. (Dudley Note: Not really...)
A veteran of the Seattle grunge scene, where he was a member of Sweet Water and Monster Magnet (Dudley Note: Toured with Monster Magnet while in Sweet Water), Taft’s been a member of two of the most important groups on the rock scene, Flaming Lips and Alice In Chains. (Dudley Note: Nope, just toured with them) One of his singles, “Vintage Eyes,” made it as high as No. 10 on rock radio charts. But he’s always maintained at least one foot in the blues.
Skin And Bones, the third disc in Taft’s catalog, came about as a result of three one-take at-home sessions with drummer Jason Patterson and bassist John Kessler with other sessions at Omni Studios in Nashville. Joining the trio are longtime friend and former Stevie Ray Vaughan keyboard player Reese Wynans with a guest appearance from organist Eric Robert and backing vocals from Rachel Williams and Ashley Christensen.
The album consists of ten originals and one cover, and If you didn’t know better, you’d think that the first cut, “Skin And Bones,” was the product of a Hill Country band. It features some flashy slide work (Dudley Note: Not on this song, haha) and single-note runs atop a steady beat as it delivers lush images of city New Orleans while pleading for help to mend a broken soul. The theme moves up river for “Lonesome Memphis Blues,” where the singer yearns for the return of his woman who “turns blues to rock and roll.”
The subject becomes upbeat with “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now,” a fast shuffle driven by a single-note guitar run and Wynans’ organ before an extended guitar solo. It suggests the listener “release your inner passion…You’re the movie star we all want to know.” Taft puts his own stamp on Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues” before launching into “One Of These Days,” a haunting, minor-key look to the future when the obviously troubled singer will be back up on his feet and back with the woman he loves.
Taft gets plenty of use out of his fuzz pedal on “Fuzzy Dice,” a tip-of-the-hat to Air Force pilots during World War II, when the title object often dangled above the control panel and gauges. It’s delivered with an interesting fingerpicked four-note run and answering rhythm pattern in the style of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Hubert Sumlin, but with grunge overtones. The rocker “Without You” sings about the burning pain the singer feels each day while at a distance from the person he loves, while “Space Cake” alludes to the mythological Greek figure of Sysyphus, the deceitful king who crossed the gods and was condemned to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a mountain, as it deals with frustration of daily living and needing to get away. (Dudley Note: Space Cake is about weed.)
“Ain’t About The Money” is a rocker all blues artists can relate to as it speaks of living on the killing floor. It leads into “Coming Home,” a simple statement about what’s really important in life, before a funky blues, “Mojo Woman,” brings the album to a close.
Available through Amazon or direct download from the artist’s website or several online sources, Skin And Bones is direct and powerful. Taft’s a true professional. Despite the one-take nature of the recording process, the end product is clean and crisp. If you like your blues with a rock edge, you’ll find this one both different and appealing.
Blues Rock Review
December 16th, 2015
Dudley Taft is an intriguing blend of blues influences like Elmore James, and Lightning Hopkins and his early career as a rock guitar player in the Seattle grunge scene with Sweetwater and Second Coming. Combine that with Jason Patterson (Cry of Love, Chris Duarte and Corrosion of Conformity) on drums Reese Wynans (notably with SRV, Bonamassa, Mike Zito, and just anyone else you can think of) on keyboards and John Kessler providing the bass and you get something the ends up meeting in the middle to give us some ZZ Top and Skynyrd sounding blues rock of Skin and Bones.
Filled with Dudley’s growling guitar and vocals, this album delivers right from the opening track with the stair step chords of the title track “Skin and Bones.” “Lonesome Memphis Blues” allows Reese to really shine with a great organ solo which Dudley deftly appends his guitar to at the end and they build it up to main chorus. The rock is fully delivered in the simple riff of the hard driving “Aint’ Nothing Going to Stop Us Now.”
Texas blues is heavily represented in the descending chord driven riffs of Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues” who is one of his influences and as he says happens to be “one of my favorite tracks to play live.” “One of These Days” has a tom-tom driven sluggish beat with a jazz chord progression that sets an atmosphere of melancholy and yearning and had me repeatedly hitting repeat.
“Fuzzy Dice” delivers the hard rock sound filled with fuzz driven guitar and a heavy pounding beat while Dudley sings from a WWII pilots perspective, which is the actual origin of the ubiquitous car rearview mirror decoration. Unique riffs that reach out and grab you are a cornerstone of Dudley’s writing and a little bit of Zeppelin influence makes its appearance on “Without You.” “Space Cake” is a tribute to that unique culinary confection.
“Aint About the Money” is another hard rocker with a heavy bottom end. He changes things up with a finger picked riff for most of “Coming Home,” but picks up the pic half thought the solo. Dudley wraps things up with “Mojo Woman,” which has a distinctly swampy roadhouse vibe to it and some excellent background vocals.
With Skin and Bones, Dudley delivers a raucous and engaging ride from the first to last track that is probably his best work to date. There is some southern country rock, Texas blues, Seattle grunge and even some hard heavy rock all of which Dudley mashes together to deliver a sound that is more than the sum of the individual components. While it is heavy on the rock there is plenty of blues emotion that comes through. This is an album that will have you jamming out and hitting repeat over and over again.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Lonesome Memphis Blues
– Ain’t Nothing Going To Stop Us Now
– One Of These Days
– Aint’ About the Money
– Without You
The Big Hit
– Lonesome Memphis Blues
Roots Music Report
October 17, 2015
Guitar-meister Taft seamlessly blends his axe-wielding prowess with an undeniable knack for crafting songs individual in character. This makes for a set where each track stands out from its predecessor while providing a solid vehicle for Mr. Tate’s formidable fretboard assaults. In addition to the title track, strong work here includes “Lonesome Memphis Blues”, “Space Cake”, and a classic piece of power blues struttin’ on the sole cover, Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues”. Backup is tough and solid throughout.
American Blues Scene
October 23, 2015
There are dozens of blues/rock bands in the current musical landscape, but hearing Dudley Taft is akin to one’s first sighting of Mt. Ranier above his hometown of Seattle. At first, its shrouded in a bit of mystery, a little distant, then BANG, it towers over absolutely everything. Much like seeing the half-million year old volcano in person (no picture or video can truly do it justice), the truth of Taft has always been in his live performances.
For that reason, this latest release, Skin and Bones, on his American Blues Artist Group label was intentionally done with a raw, almost live, feel instead of a pristine studio finish. Inspired by the recording practices of Neil Young, Taft says, “…get the song worked up, and use one of the first takes. You can do overdubs, but don’t fuss over the little blemishes. More of the real personality of the song will come through”.
With Taft on guitar and lead vocals, Jason Patterson on drums and John Kessler providing the bass, the album was recorded in Taft’s home studio over three sessions lasting a year. They worked out the arrangements on the fly, with the rhythm section right there and then overdubbed some stuff later. The “some stuff” includes lofting background vocals by Rachel Williams and Ashley Christensen as well the legendary organ work of Double Trouble veteran, Reese Wynans.
Taft, himself, is a gear head rock and roller whose previous projects had straight up rock hits and toured with acts such as Candlebox and Alice in Chains. However, he has a deep love and respect for more traditional blues artists including Elmore James, Lightning Hopkins and Hubert Sumlin. He also tends to empathically absorb the feelings of the places he visits and people he meets, using them as seed for future writing. This fourth album from the band clearly displays this outlook.
From the opening title track which emits the atmosphere of New Orleans’ French Quarter and “Lonesome memphis blues” projecting his feelings of visiting the great music city and birthplace of funk, R&B, blues and rock and roll, without his wife by his side, the tone is set and you begin to hang on to your seat for what will surely be an E Ticket ride.
The true to form, Texas flavored cover of Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues” is a tribute to the master blues/rock guitarist, whereas “Fuzzy Dice” is an homage to the good luck charms, originally used in World War II bombers, that graced the rearview mirrors of hot rods for decades and “Ain’t About the Money” ponders the question of how tough it may be for a gangster to leave the lifestyle.
With all his hardcore, expletive-spitting, razor sharpness, Taft is also a loving husband and pays deference to his wife in song, including “Without You” and “Mojo Woman” without losing even the smallest bit of gleaming keenness for which he is both known and loved.
Skin and Bones is chock full of intimate nuances as well. Taft’s use of different playing techniques and styles, his combination of finger and flat picking, complicated jazz chords, use of the slide, a Buzzmaster fuzz pedal and even over the counter pill bottles as shakers all add to the warts and all milieu. His inspirations come from sources as varied as his playing. Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age, ZZ Top and a bit of “Space Cake” all seem to have lent a hand in the writing.
To us, Skin and Bones is an oxymoron, intentional or not, for this album. Dudley Taft may have trimmed some fat, but there is still plenty of meat to go around the table. Released on October 16th, Skin and Bones should be at the top of your to-get list.
Dudley Taft has been a member of hard rock bands Sweetwater and Second Coming. He sounds like a rocker convert to the blues in love with Robin Trower, but he has been getting a lot of play on B.B. King’s Bluesville on SiriusXM since his new CD Screaming In The Wind came out in May. Taft dug into the history of the blues for his lead single and mined an old tune called “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James. Taft’s gravelly voice and meaty riffs convert this old time number into something the Post-Grunge Zombie Generation can sink their teeth into.
Title track “Screaming In The Wind” traverses a dreamy Trower-esque landscape after a lonesome Hendrix style intro and riff. The vocal effects give the song a spooky ambiance to match the topic; the guitar tones and layers call to mind a Victorian era autumn forest, thick with fog and rich with the eerie din of a thousand forest dwellers.
For Screaming In The Wind, Dudley Taft was joined in the studio by Reese Wynans on organ, John Kessler on bass, Jason Patterson on drums, and Grammy winning producer Tom Hambridge. Hambridge has become the go-to guy for artists like Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, George Thorogood, and James Cotton. Hambridge knows how to get the best out of the artists and his songwriter’s ear helps mold the tunes. His ear and Taft’s obvious skills make a powerful combination.
Dudley Taft has a knack for making the music fit the lyrics; he doesn’t over-play and appreciates the value of well-crafted arrangements. His playing can remind you of everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Jerry Cantrell, but Taft melds them all together, creating a coherent personal style. This is not a straight blues album by any means, but it has enough blues style and spirit to count it. Screaming In The Wind is a diverse construct, with a tight band, skillful performances, and hot guitar licks that will keep you coming back.
Deep Roots Magazine
5/8/14 by David McGee
Merciless as ever, and making paint peel from the walls with the heat of his guitar blitzkrieg, Dudley Taft has made his third solo album his most memorable. A native of the Midwest who now makes his home in Cincinnati, Taft brings to bear on Screaming In the Wind all the influences he’s absorbed in his journey, those being punishing electric blues revealing the impact of everyone from Freddie King to Stevie Ray on his style, to the hard blues-rock he purveyed during his two decades in Seattle, when he toured with Alice in Chains and Candlebox, among others, plus a more lyrical side reflecting a full immersion in ‘60s rock. Even this is but a cursory list of the styles at his command—listen, for starters, to the Zep-like crunch of the opening track here, a pitiless cover of Skip James’s “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” its deliberate, stomping attack seemingly designed to underscore the topical message James delivered in his 1931 recording but which is ever so relevant today, to wit: “A hard time is here/and wherever you go/times are harder/than ever before.” This is but prelude to a closing, no-holds-barred instrumental assault by Taft on guitar amidst the angry punch of his rhythm section, bassist John Kessler and drummer Jason Patterson.
Typical of an artist who has added new wrinkles to each solo effort, Taft this time enlists as producer the Grammy winning Tom Hambridge (sessions were at two Music City studios with some work also being done in Taft’s own Cincinnati studio), who also sits in on drums here and there. Adding heft to the instrumental lineup, he signed up the great former SRV keyboardist Reese Wynans, one of the most immediately recognizable and soulful players around; and brings in the Muscle Shoals horns and gospel stalwarts the McCrary Sisters to beef up a couple of tracks.
The Horns make an almost immediate impact, on the second track, a cover of Freddie King’s “Pack It Up,” when their bright, unison punctuations put some slink into the deep groove and accentuate the resolve in Taft’s Gregg Almman-esque vocal to take his leave of a feckless gal, a vow he underscores himself not only with the resolve in his drawling voice but also and most strikingly in his piercing, soaring guitar solo near the end, which dovetails beautifully with the horns in a couple of unison passages. The southern soul take on “Pack It Up” gives way to another feel entirely on “Red Line,” a hard driving tale of a man blazing a trail down the highway trying to quell his inner demons and make it back home to his gal’s loving arms. With Kessler and Patterson again keeping the bottom as rock solid as it is propulsive, Taft cuts loose with an intense, sandpapery vocal reflective of the narrator’s anguish and complements it with a multi-textured guitar solo played at red-hot temperatures (of which a reviewer at American Blues Scene says, “If ZZ Top and Thin Lizzy had a baby, this song would need to go in for a blood test…,” but listeners will be forgiven if they detect in this track some DNA donated by KISS’s “Detroit Rock City”).
Three songs in you’ve got the drift of Taft’s lyrical conceit on Screaming In the Wind: his characters are not only restless but deeply, existentially disoriented by the times, much like the protagonist in “Red Line,” and haunted—in the grim crunch of the title track, to which Wynans contributes a ghostly wail on the B3, Taft, his guitar sputtering and moaning, cries out, “I hear voices/screaming in the wind/I hear voices/of a long lost friend,” a dark sentiment that seems tied to the previous song, “Red Line,” in which he growls, “Thinking about my brothers/who got themselves killed/all the songs of mothers/buried out on Boot Hill” and to the dark sentiments of the sixth track, the paranoid “I Keep My Eyes On You,” which ends with a howling “I hear the voices in my head/they’re loud enough to wake the dead…” All in all, I’m not sure I’ve heard an album plumb spiritual entropy as chillingly and relentlessly as Screaming In the Wind since Too Slim & the Taildraggers’ 2013 masterpiece, Blue Heart, a Deep Roots Album of the Year last year. In the restless shuffle of “3DHD” (a topical nod to the times in its melodic, singalong chorus, “I dream in 3DHD/things are so much clearer for me/I dream in 3DHD”), his weary voice tells us, “I wander the streets at night/buzzed, bruised, broken/fog of the afterlife/a sadness never spoken”; in the heavy stomp of “The Reason Why,” Taft raises an anguished plea in a last desperate attempt to a gal who’s packing her bags, “My mind is all confused/you got me so all mixed up/I’m giving you my best/but my best ain’t good enough,” with Wynans underpinning those lyrics with a furious organ sortie that mirrors the tumult in the singer’s psyche. But that lyric effectively sums up the storyline of the entire album, because Taft’s made it clear in his songs (the selections here are a mix of tunes with music by Taft and lyrics by Hambridge and others, and other tunes solely by Taft) that nothing’s really working for him as he tries to find his place in the whole scheme of things.
The cleansing moment is the acoustic-based ballad “Barrio,” with Wynans’ church organ, Taft’s gut-string acoustic and the McCrarys’ gospel exhortations comprising a lush soundscape to frame stanzas such as “Well, I’ve been walking these dead end streets/I can’t feel my feet, I’m on my knees/Well I listened but I never learned/you are what you earn and I’m working on me/I need a release.” Well, the release is not really at hand here, not through the fury of “Sleeping in Sunlight” (a stab at reconciliation, with more voices in his head—“Your voice brings me/long lost memories/we can start all over/if you will roll with me again”); nor in the fading hopes articulated in the churning, wrenching pleas of “Tears In the Rain” (“you and me on the wind/flying high once again/like the moon in retrograde/fading away/tears in the rain, tears in the rain/tears in the rain”); nor even in the prayer-like entreaties of “Say You Will” (“Dip my body in the river/dip my body in the sea/floating up above me/pour the holy water on me/bless me with forgiveness/your love light my way/baby I’m begging you please don’t leave/find it in your heart to stay…”), a fascinating number with some Beatles overtones in the choruses and atmospherics via controlled feedback at the end that tell us everyone isn’t living happily ever after here. From this unsettled finale Taft could easily fashion a sequel next time out—it practically begs for one, in fact. But based on his history, our bearded buddy will be investigating some new avenues of the human condition next time around. The only given is that it’ll be interesting.
Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog 5/18/14 (USA)
SCREAMING IN THE WIND
AMERICAN BLUES ARTIST GROUP
HARD TIME KILLING FLOOR BLUES–PACK IT UP–RED LINE–SCREAMING IN THE WIND–3DHD–I KEEP MY EYES ON YOU–THE REASON WHY–RISE ABOVE IT–BARRIO–SLEEPING IN THE SUNLIGHT–TEARS IN RAIN–SAY YOU WILL
For his latest album, Cincinnati-based bluesman Dudley Taft veered somewhat from the path taken on his prior albums. For “Screaming In The Wind,” Dudley reached out to Tom Hambridge for the production duties as well as for co-writing credits on several of the ten originals (and two covers) that make up this powerful set of guitar-based blues-rock.
Dudley’s guitar and vocals lead the way with regulars John Kessler on bass and Jason Patterson on drums. Another added dimension for this set is that the venerable Reese Wynans guests throughout, his B-3 work giving greater depth and flair overall.
As with each of Dudley’s prior albums, every song has a meaning and is done with a purpose. Take the blues-to-reggae riff that drives “I Keep My Eyes On You,” for example. It is Dudley’s way of conveying to us the constant daily pressures we face in trying to separate right from wrong. “Tears In Rain” is a dark, minor-key blues based on the end of the movie “Blade Runner,” as we learn that love, as well as life or anything else, can be as easily lost as those tears in rain.
Also, Dudley always puts a Freddie King song on every album, and the bodacious funk of “Pack It Up” appears herein, fired up nicely with Reese’s organ work and the punch of the Muscle Shoals Horns. The McCrary Sisters add in the gospel harmonies on the album’s acoustic moment, the Latin-tinged “Barrio.”
We had three favorites, too. “I dream in 3DHD” is a blast of high-energy blues that takes a look at the two people that often reside inside one person, with their alter-ego sometimes being closer to whom they really are. The slow-burn of “I Wonder Why” allows Reese’s B-3 to roam freely as Dudley sings of trying to come to grips with the end of an affair. And, the set opens with Dudley absolutely nailing that killer riff that makes Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” the classic that it is.
As one will hear while listening to “Screaming In The Wind,” Dudley Taft is not only one of the best guitarists on the contemporary scene, but his insightful songwriting will draw the listener in and give them a clearer idea of the man as a complete artist. This is a set not to be missed! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.
Bman's Blues Report - May 2014 (USA)
Review by Bman
I just received the newest release (May 20, 2014), Screaming in the Wind, by Dudley Taft and he continues to explore new territory. Opening with Skip James' Hard Time Killing Floor Blues uses a basic blues backdrop and twists of rock and metal to forge his own sound. His subtle yet solid approach on this track baits you in until he springs the rock trap where he and his band of rockers, John Kessler (bass), Jason Patterson (drums), and Reese Wyans(organ)lay it all out. Freddie King's Pack It Up is a cool rock track with a great beat and almost Steve Miller like vocals, Taft wailing away on his guitar solo's yet keeping the track contained for easy airplay. Tom Hambridge joins on the track playing drums and the Muscle Shoals horn section (Charlie Rose on trombone, Jim Horn on sax and Vinnie Seizeilski on trumpet) adds that over the top sound. Red Line has a lot of southern rock feel with a solid drum/bass bottom and even a Golden Earring kind of rumble with a Billy Gibbons flair with great guitar riffs and a lot of pinched harmonics. Very cool. Title track, Screaming In The Wind has a bit of a swamp feel with a smokey rhythm, crafty organ work and super grindy guitar work. Taft uses the vocals in an interesting way perfectly complimenting the instrumentation. Possibly my favorite track on the release. 3DHD is a really interesting track with a rhythm similar to Foxy Lady, but with a melody which is much more melodic. A taste of Zac Wilde style vocal but with masterfully crafted harmonies and really nice guitar work makes this a definite standout track on the release. I Keep My Eyes On You has a light funk to the step but is way to far over the line toward heavy rock to be considered a funk track. this is an interesting blend of styles leading up to curiously cool guitar work from Taft. Chords and bends and jazz runs blended into a rugged rock sound. An extended guitar solo on this track is a definite bonus. A straight up blues ballad, The Reason Why, could be another strong radio contender. Taft knows how to run the board and isn't shy to show it. I really nice guitar solo on this track followed by an equally cool B3 solo from Wynans makes it a sure crowd grabber. Rise Above It takes a jagged rhythm tightly executed and with well crafted lyrics and melodies for a transitional blues/metal sound. I really like what he's doing here and can definitely see where he's going. Barrio is the most mellow of all tracks on the release in 3/4 time. Backing vocals from Ann and Regina McCrary create a warm feel and Taft keeps the guitar reeled in on this track while still showing his dexterity and tasteful riffs. Sleeping In the Sunlight again has that mix of heavy swagger and creme filling. Screaming guitar riffs played full out but mixed down have a very nice effect to create dynamics on this track. Tears In The Rain has an unusual time signature seemingly cradling the music with well blended vocal harmonies with Hambridge and skillfully played, emotionally packed guitar riffs. Wrapping the track is rocker Say You Will, a blend of tuff and soft. Patterson sets the pace with tight drumming, sided by Kessler on bass but Taft is riding high with his prominent vocal style and well selected guitar explosions. Excellent!
The Rocktologist - May 2014 (Slovenia)
Review by Daniel Pavlica
Dudley Taft found the lobby full of new friends with “Deep Deep Blue”, which means that with “Screaming in the Wind” he should have a groundswell of ardent supporters urging him on.
The album indicates sturdy blues rock, plump with greasy riffs and grooves being unobtrusively directed by respectable vocal delivery. Taft roars through the set with amphetamine urgency and determination. He has the blues underneath his fingernails on cuts like the stinging album opener “Hard Time Killing Flood Blues” and the sightly grungy “Rise Above It”. “Red Line” is a rousing, instantly memorable, densely layered anthem meant to be digested in one sitting and the by now customary bow to Freddie King is presented with “Pack It Up”, full equipped with dazzling funky vibrations and sweltering horn arrangements. In a different vein, “The Reason Why” and “3DHD” showcase the level of Taft’s musicianship with great effect. Not everything is touched by divinity, however, as numbers like “Barrio” and the cumbersome “Tears in Rain” provide their share of supreme oddity. Luckily for all, it’s all far short from spoiling the fun, as “Sleeping in the Sunlight” prepares to showers us in torrents of top notch swampy blues rock.
Not merely espousing a straight down the line blues rock ethos, “Screaming in the Wind” is (for the most part) curiously fresh and original. Hopes remain high for Dudley Taft.
7 out of 10
Blues Blast Magazine - August 2013
11 tracks / 48:49
I have been waiting for a new release from Dudley Taft ever since I heard his 2010 debut solo album, Left For Dead. Though he started solo work only a few years ago, this does not mean that he is just arriving at the party. This guitar master has paid his dues for over 30 years, and this musical journey has taken him to interesting places that give him a unique sound and vision.
Dudley has lived all over the United States, growing up in the Midwest and attending prep school in Connecticut in the 1980s with none other than Trey Anastacio, who would later be in Phish. He moved on to Los Angeles to explore the hair band scene, and finally found his place after moving to Seattle in 1990. He became a fixture in the northwest, and spent twenty years there writing, recording, and performing his music with a few different bands. A few years ago he decided to form his own blues band after being inspired by Freddie “The Texas Cannonball” King, and he recently set up shop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Deep Deep Blue is Taft’s second solo release, and its eleven tracks include eight originals and three unexpected covers. Dudley wrote the original songs and handles the guitar work and vocals. He is joined by a capable band that includes Eric Robert on keyboards, Chris Leighton, Scott Vogel and Jason Patterson on drums, Ashley Christensen on backing vocals and John Kessler on the bass. Kessler also handled the production chores. Sticking close to his roots, this album was mostly recorded in Seattle, with overdubs and guitar tracks completed in North Carolina.
Though he is inspired by classic blues artists, he does not copy what they did, but instead interprets it through a more modern blues rock context. “Meet Me in the Morning” is the opening track, and I must say that I have never heard of anyone covering this Bob Dylan song before. Thankfully he did not stick true to the original, instead turning it into a guitar-centered blues rocker with a solid riff. At its core this is a guitar album and it is refreshing that he is not aping anybody else’s tone or feel – he has spent years defining his own sound and it is to die for.
Things really get rolling after this with the fast driving original rock tune, “The Waiting.” His lyrics mirror the guitar line and it is hard not to notice the rock solid backline. The bass and drums are perfectly in sync, so it is obvious that these are first-call musicians he is working with here. By the way, his voice has a raw and weathered tone that works perfectly with this harder-edged music.
“God Forbid” is a southern rocker that showcases Taft’s deft songwriting skills, as its clever lyrics continue the story started in the title track Left for Dead. He also uses his writing skills to give a short history lesson in “Bandit Queen,” the story of Pearl hear, the stagecoach robber. I had to Google her after hearing this song to see what she was all about, and it is a fascinating story.
Lou Reed’s “Sally Can’t Dance” is another neat cover choice and it includes some nice organ work, and as a Lou Reed fan I whole-heartedly approve of Dudley’s interpretation of this classic. It is upbeat and funky, and shows that these musicians can take on any genre that they choose. The final cover is a hard rock re-do of Freddie King’s “Palace of the King.” This version has a driving beat, screaming guitar work and well-done backing vocals.
Taft can play the slow blues too, as he proves in the heartfelt “Deep Deep Blue.” Slowing him down does not lessen the tension that he is able to create with his guitar. He leaves no doubt that he is a fabulous musician and I get a Jeff Beck / Robin Trower vibe from him on this one.
“Feeling Good Now” starts with a great hook, and then surprises the listener as a tight horn section pops in to double the guitar line. There is a little bit of everything in this album, but he never strays far from the guitar and once again he lights a fire in this funky track. This is followed up by my favorite song from Deep Deep Blue: “Wishing Well.” This country rock song starts with some very pretty acoustic work and makes liberal use of the backing vocalists during the verses and chorus. I like the way this tune swells and builds with electric guitars and then tapers off to finish acoustically.
Deep Deep Blue is a fabulous effort from Dudley Taft, and it is notable that all of the tracks are solid and well-integrated with each other. It is apparent that he did not focus on writing a few hit singles, but instead worked to write a very good album. So, this is not a disc to cherry-pick tracks from, and it is better to listen to it as a whole so you can get the full experience. I really enjoyed it and look forward to hearing more from him soon!
Dudley Taft's music dates back to the early '80s, when, while in a Connecticut prep school, he formed his first band, Space Antelope, with Phish's Trey Anastasio. From there, he migrated to Seattle and became part of the music scene for over 20 years with the bands Sweet Water and later Second Coming, who had a Top 10 hit, 'Vintage Eyes,' around the turn of the century. After Second Coming folded, Taft opted to do something different, initially moving toward forming a ZZ Top tribute band before falling under the spell of Freddie King.
Taft's second solo release, Deep Deep Blue (American Blues Artists Group Records), shows the influence of King on Taft's guitar work, but that's only a piece of the pie.Taft also mixes in his Seattle-based rock and blues/rock influences, which makes for a pretty unique approach to blues guitar. He�s also a strong vocalist, which certainly doesn't hurt a bit.
Taft penned eight of the 11 tracks on Deep Deep Blue. 'The Waiting' is a churning boogie rocker. 'God Forbid' is a continuation of the title track ('Left For Dead') about a character from Taft's first CD, and 'Bandit Queen' tells the story of Pearl Hart, a latter-day stagecoach bandit. The title track is a pensive slow blues. 'Feeling Good Now' is a funky rocker with a punchy horn section added for good measure, and 'Wishing Well' sounds like a Southern rocker from the '70s, with the opening acoustic guitar turning into stinging electric leads, mixed with vocal harmonies.
Taft also covers three diverse tunes, including the opening track, Bob Dylan's 'Meet Me In The Morning' and a scorching take of Leon Russell's 'Palace of the King' that would have made the Texas Cannonball proud. I have to admit my curiosity was piqued when I saw Lou Reed's 'Sally Can't Dance' on the track list. was a big fan of Reed's back in the day. Taft's rocked-out version of the tune is excellent and one of my favorite tunes on the disc.
Taft is backed by producer John Kessler (bass), Chris Leighton, Scott Vogel, and Jason Patterson (drums), and Eric Robert (keyboards). Ashley Christenen adds backing vocals.
Deep Deep Blue is a powerful, high-energy set of rock-flavored blues that proves that Dudley Taft's decision to move from the rock arena to the blues scene was a wise one indeed.
--- Graham Clarke
Charleston Post and Courier
Deep Deep Blue/American Blues Artist Group
You can hear the power behind Dudley Taft’s guitar playing less than a minute into “Meet Me in the Morning,” the leadoff track on his latest CD, “Deep Deep Blue.”
The slashing guitar notes on that track, as well as on “The Waiting,” remind you of blues masters such as Stevie Ray Vaughan or Gary Moore.
Taft is not just some one-trick blues pony. Here’s a fun fact about the guitarist; he and Phish’s Trey Anastasio met in prep school and formed their first band, Space Antelope.
“Deep Deep Blue” finds the songwriter exploring other genres, including Americana (“Wishing Well”) and even spaghetti western (“God Forbid”). He also turns in three well-chosen and well- performed covers, including Lou Reed’s “Sally Can’t Dance,” Freddie King’s “Palace of the King” and the aforementioned “Meet Me in the Morning” by Bob Dylan.
Among the original tracks, “Wishing Well,” “Bandit King” and the album’s title track, all demonstrate that Taft knows his way around a guitar and has a gift for song writing. He may not be a household name yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time.
Key Tracks: “Sally Can’t Dance,” “Deep Deep Blue,” “Wishing Well”
Blues Underground Network
My first intro to Dudley Taft was by way of his debut release "Left For Dead", of which I wrote, "If you got a hankering to listen to some good old kick-ass blues/rock mixed with a dash of classic rock, then please step right up and grab yourselves Dudley Taft's Debut Release. "Left For Dead" is a non-stop feast for the ears in the timeless tradition of old ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan, which is sure to be recognized as one of 2010's best albums in this style". Dudley Taft's "Deep Deep Blue" continues in the vein of all the above and more, a lot more.
When you put the monster release that is "Deep Deep Blue" into your CD player, don't start kidding yourself that you are going to be doing anything other than being glued to the front of your stereo, absolutely mesmerized with the non-stop tour de force that is the music of Dudley Taft. From the first few notes of the opening Track, "Meet Me In The Morning", you will be lassoed to your chair and loving it, as this previous Hard Core Rocker now Hard Core Blues Rocker, blasts out one solid hit after the other, all the while treating your eardrums to a whole new dimension.
"Deep Deep Blue" clocks in at 48+ minutes and offers us 11 smoking Tracks of which 8 are Dudley Taft originals. For the 3 Covers, Taft chose some really nice ones which included, Track 1, "Meet Me In The Morning" (Bob Dylan), Track 4, "Sally Can't Dance" (Lou Reed), and Track 10, "Palace Of The King" (Leon Russell, Don Nix, Duck Dunn). "Deep Deep Blue" was produced by John Kessler, who is also the Bass player on this album. The album was recorded at Seattle's Studio X and London Bridge, with Overdubs and Taft's guitar tracks recorded at Taft's home studio in Chapel Hill. Additional musicians on "Deep Deep Blue" included Scott Vogel, Chris Leighton, & Jason Patterson (Drums), and Eric Robert (Keyboards). Ashley Christensen appears on "Deep Deep Blue" in the capacity of Backing Vocals. There is also a really fine Horn Section on a number of the Tracks. (Patrick Napper and Jeff Gordon)
When it came to picking a few favorites off of "Deep Deep Blue", it was not an easy task, in fact I could have thrown the names of all the Tracks into a hat and picked out 3 of them and they would of been great picks simply because the album is that strong. Regardless, for my 3 favorites, I chose, Track 1, "Meet Me In The Morning", Track 4, "Sally Can't Dance", and Track 7, "Wishing Well".
First Tracks more then often get on my 3 favorites list simply because they are ones first impression of hopefully what is to come and therefore need to be really strong. "Meet Me In The Morning" was certainly a strong opener with it's super tasty riff.
I love Lou Reed and Dudley Taft does his song "Sally Can't Dance" to perfection, not by mimicking it, but by adding his unique twist to it, which at times sounded like Alice Cooper took over his Vocals. This one comes at you with all guns loaded, including Backing Vocals, Horn Section, and Searing Lead Guitar. Really fine stuff.
"Wishing Well" was my favorite song on "Deep Deep Blue". This gems starts and finishes on a great acoustic note, while the rest of the song wasted no time kicking it into high gear with great Lead Guitar and awesome backing Chorus.
"Deep Deep Blue" was one of those rare albums for which I could not stop listening to it, once I started, with my first thought being, when it was finished, was that I can't wait to listen to it all over again.
5***** for Dudley Taft's brilliant release "Deep Deep Blue", one of the most enjoyable Blues Rock albums I have listened to in a very long time.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Bman's Blues Report
I just received the newest release, Deep Deep Blue, from Dudley Taft. Opening with Dylan's Meet Me In The Morning, Taft put's his own modern twist on modern delta style blues. On The Waiting, Taft ups the tempo to a Golden Earring style with a slick driving rock track showing flashy guitar riffs by Taft. On God Forbid, heavier rock track with a bit of bite, sounding a little like Black Label Society. This is a cool track with a interesting guitar solo. On Lou Reed's Sally Can't Dance, has a real cool southern rock twist and tasty guitar riffs. Deep Deep Blue is a slow bluesy ballad that gives Taft a wide open highway to blow the dust off of the frets and he steps up and plays a beautiful melodic bluesy solo. Feeling Good Now is a light springy track with a bit of back beat. This is a track that should easily attract broad radio listening. Wishing Well opens with some clean finger picking developing into a street smart rock track with vocal harmonies and a twist of the south. Satisfy You is a clever rocker with strong construction and a good hook. A cool balance between stiff rock and attractive vocals make for a very radio ready track. Taft lets the dog off the leash for a few minutes here and rips a few good guitar licks but this is really a cool vocal track. Bandit Queen has some really nice chord work and along with super bass and drum rhythm, some really nice guitar work by Taft. Leon Russell's Palace of The King really has a different take sounding more like Mahogany Rush. Nice job creating alternate dynamics. Finishing up with Shanks Akimbo, Taft continues to explore a funky blues form of rock with good beat and smokin riffs. This is a pretty interesting release with a lot more rhythmic music than I usually hear. It's always refreshing to hear something different especially when it's well executed.
Roots Music Report
Heartland blues-rocker Taft here serves up a cut-or-two-above guitarslinger set, scoring major points for freshness and variation. Constant morphings of mood, feel and lyrical slant are matched by track-to-track change-ups in attack and sonics. Taft’s razor-sharp instincts and considerable chops keep this session interesting start to finish. Solid originals including “The Waiting”, “God Forbid” and “Wishing Well” are joined by a particularly smokin’ workup of Lou Reed’s “Sally Can’t Dance”. Good stuff.
Reviewed By: Duane Verh
From Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog
DEEP DEEP BLUES
AMERICAN BLUES ARTIST GROUP
MEET ME IN THE MORNING–THE WAITING–GOD FORBID–SALLY CAN’T DANCE–DEEP DEEP BLUE–FEELING GOOD NOW–WISHING WELL–SATISFY YOU–BANDIT QUEEN–PALACE OF THE KING–SHANKS AKIMBO
Guitarist Dudley Taft’s roots are in the Midwest, altho his suitcase is probably covered in stickers from all the places he’s been. His latest album, on his own American Blues Artist Group imprint, is entitled “Deep Deep Blues,” and he began work on it soon after moving to Chapel Hill, NC. He’d already spent time in L. A. and Seattle, forming Space Antelope with Trey Anastasio, and immersing himself in the grunge-rock scene of the Pacific Northwest during the Nineties.
That’s the kicker on all the songs on “Deep Deep Blues.” He’s taken his love for the blues and Southern rock and melded it with the crunching fretwork of the Seattle players, giving it a decided edge and attitude. Check out the leadoff “Meet Me In The Morning,” a sweet Dylan cover, and “The Waiting,” with a chugging, freight-train-a-comin’ beat that recants Dudley’s tale of giving up on a lover who “kept me waiting for too long,” after “we once had it all.”
A horn section adds punch to “Feeling Good Now,” about a man who’s not afraid to be alone after being dumped, and he takes that swagger to the next level with the tale of a man whose soul purpose is to “make you forget all your troubles,” entitled “Satisfy You.” He totally nails two more covers, with a rocked-out read of “Sally Can’t Dance,” and a tribute to Freddie King with “Palace Of The King.”
His originals also encompass a unique cast of characters, too. ”Bandit Queen” is a blues-rock ode to stagecoach robber Pearl Hart. ”God Forbid” traces a “Union soldier in love with a Southern belle,” and the family who’d “send him straight to Hell.” “Wishing Well” starts and ends as an acoustic tale of hope, while the title cut is a minor-key slow-blues ode to pulling oneself together after love has long gone.
Dudley Taft has put together a brilliant set of blues-rock for the 21st Century. Never one to be something he’s not, he lets his songs and fret skills speak for themselves, and the material on “Deep Deep Blue” easily stands on its own merits. He’s certainly discovered his blues roots, and this is a highly-entertaining listen! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.
Dudley Taft – Deep Deep Blue
*** (out of 4 stars)
Label: American Blues Artist Group Records
Like your blues/rock to place an emphasis on the “rock”? Meet Dudley Taft. His new album, Deep Deep Blues is ambitious; it touches on seemingly every type of music that has influenced him. I am pleased to report that it all comes together in a cohesive way. His energy alone brings it all together. The humidity of southern blues, the shine of the British Invasion, the shade of jazz, the searing sun of hard rock… it’s all slightly familiar while achieving the near impossible — it is also highly original.
Deep Deep Blue features eleven tracks; eight originals and three covers (tunes by Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Leon Russell). IF you didn’t know the cover songs, you’d be hard pressed to figure out which ones they are in the collection; they are treated with a musical point of view that is pure Dudley Taft.
These aren’t just any blues. These are hard rocking electric (and high voltage, at that) blues that claw their way out of the mundane or the predictable and into your being. The performances on the album create and sustain all of the tension of a live performance. Sometimes describing an artist turns into a perfunctory act all too easily. I suggest that you skip my superficial description and preview Dudley Taft’s music yourself.
Essential Downloads: “Meet Me In The Morning,” “Feeling Good Now,” “Satisfy You.”
American Blues Scene
Sitting here listening to the sophomore release from Dudley Taft, it dawned on me why his music is so appealing to me. In a sometimes (usually) singles driven music industry, I think a lot of us get carried away with focusing on a particular track rather the entire release. While his music is full of hooks and potential single iPod fodder, the body of work consumed in it’s entirety is when it is at it’s best. Deep, Deep Blue is the full meal deal with dessert!
He takes “Meet Me In The Morning” by Bob Dylan and applies a very tasty riff and voila…we have a mild blues rock dish fit for a king, which reminds me, he lays down some very healthy riffage as he takes “Palace Of The King” on a thrill ride and makes it his own. The guitars build into a frenzy and the crescendo is awesome! Most definitely a killer jam! I almost grabbed my lighter and started shouting “Freebird”!!!
Taft seems to settling in nicely to the blues-rock scene and he wears it well. In another life he was one of the engineers of the Seattle grunge movement as a member of Sweet Water, who by the way shared the bill with Pearl Jam for their first show. Of course big time music buffs know that PJ was called Mookie Blaylock at the time and later changed the name to avoid a lawsuit. What am I even doing talking about that here? This is a blues site! Oh yeah, I remember, I’m laying down a quick history of how Dudley got here from there. So after Sweet Water he moves on to a band called Second Coming….everyone really expected this band to go skyhigh, they had a huge record deal, they wrote and performed “Unknown Rider” for the Bruce Willis flick “The Sixth Sense”….it’s a really long story (ask Dudley sometime, he’ll tell ya) but Capitol Records pulled the plug. After a few other local music projects, Dudley Taft decided to go back to his roots….the roots that made him want to start playing in the first place. Okay, that wasn’t too long but I think that sheds some light on why he is writing in this album mentality. He even admits it himself that he just grew tired of trying to write radio hits.
So Deep Deep Blue might lead us to believe he is heading deep into the blues and while he clearly is grabbing his inspiration from the masters and Deep Deep Blue is bluesy, he is putting out his own brand of music. I dare you to try to label it. I tried and I hear Blues, Rock, Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Funk, Blues-Rock, Soul, Country and disco….just kidding, no disco but just about everything else that is great about music.
Track 3 is called “God Forbid” which is an extension of the title track from “Left For Dead”…. Dudley is quite the story teller and he even made a video to explain the thinking behind that compelling saga. God Forbid Trailer
Track 6 is called “Feeling Good Now” and it is as funky as it comes. I like that track a lot….the horn section is mixed in brilliantly and the song is a ton of fun to listen to. Dudley goes off on one of his patented shred-fests to finish that song off with a bang. Song 7, “Wishing Well” smells a whole lot like Steve Earle and the Allman Brothers to me. Track 8 “Satisfy You” has some seriously filthy Texas guitar work ala ZZ Top and the song comes equipped with a turn around leading into the chorus that is a bit addicting and Dudley shows off his ability to even sound a little bit, dare I say “Poppish”…is that even a word? It reminded me of Badfinger.
Final word. Get this album when it comes out on May 7. Then find a nice place to sit and listen to the whole thing, front to back. This release further demonstrates that Dudley is in the blues-rock genre for good.
Blues Rock Review
Dudley Taft has yet again proven his staple in today’s blues rock scene with his upcoming album, Deep Deep Blue. After several projects came and went, Taft formed a band under his own name in 2006. His current album builds on his debut, Left For Dead, with countless hit after hit. Taft’s classic rock approach garners uncanny comparison to past greats. Taft embodies the eclectic bluesy style of a Clapton or Beck, with the edgy vocals of a Billy Gibbons. Deep Deep Blue is one hell of a ride, start to finish.
Taft’s meticulous guitar playing carries each track to another dimension. With the addition of bass, keys and horn, the band blends seamlessly, rolling out one catchy rhythm after another. Songs like “Sally Can’t Dance” and “Feeling Good Now” start off with the intricate flare of Taft’s guitar; the hook, line and sinker that leaves you wanting more. The songs only take off from there, building on each riff with rhythm and bass. “Feeling Good Now” features trumpets, offering yet another layer to the band. Taft’s guitar seems to weave throughout, an interlude between licks. “Satisfy You” comes on heavy with a distorted intro, alluding to a groovy verse, led by John Kessler on bass. Drummer Scott Vogel shines on the intro to “Meet Me in the Morning.” The big hit, “Wishing Well,” highlights Taft on acoustic to begin, making way for a killer solo and catchy harmonized chorus.
Dudley Taft seems to have found solid ground with his new band, and they are picking up the pace with Deep Deep Blue. Chock full of hits, the album is a definitive fan pleaser, each track a riff driven rock anthem, with two feet in the blues. Taft’s talents are streamlined to our ears for a refreshing ode to classic rock and roll.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Meet Me in the Morning
- Palace of the King
- Feeling Good Now
- Sally Can’t Dance
- Wishing Well
- Satisfy You
The Big Hit
- Wishing Well
Review by Don Tice
Keys & Chords (Belgium)
Translated to English:
The hands of Mark Pucci Media we had the honor to listen to Dudley Taft's new promo CD. Dudley was born in 1966 in Washington, DC but grew up in the American Midwest. He moved to Seattle in the 90s and is part of the hard rock bands Sweetwater and Second Coming. Currently Dudley lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where he found the inspiration for his second solo release. In the sequel to his solo debut 'Left For Dead' Dudley combines serious attitudes with contemporary rock and blues handsome packages. The album was recorded in Studio X Seattle and London Bridge and is released on his own label American Blues Artist Group Records. With eight original tracks Dudley distinguishes himself as a great singer-songwriter. All his Bob Dylan's "Meet Me In The Morning" and "Sally Can't Dance" by Lou Reed justified and also very surprising cover choices. With heavy music and contemporaneous lines are therefore very privileged this track. With love for the blues, the British blues boom in mind and Southern rock gets Dudley Taft backing of John Kessler (bass), Chris Leighton, Scott Vogel and Jason Patterson (drums), Eric Robert (keyboards) and backing vocalist Ashley Christensen. Dudley is clearly a fan of the heavier guitar work but keeps all expertly understated. In addition to his fine vocals, there is always room for a solo.
"Sally Can't Dance"' rightly demands for radio airplay and the ether will be chased by a lot of rock stations. Effortlessly in the States The country blues of Whishing Well' with his compelling guitar solos and chorus harmonies are a highlight on the disc. Even though title track but rather a rare celestial ballad.
"God Forbid" is an extension of the Spaghetti Western song from his latest album, though the heavy guitar lines again a serious impact. The funky bass lines of 'Feeling Good Now' give a modern and contemporary touch to the song. Like the pounding and blazing solos in "Satisfy You" and the Texas blues riffs in the Albert King classic "Palace of the King" (Leon Russel, Don Nix, Duck Dunn). In the concluding 'Shanks Akimbo' Dudley Taft flirt a bit with his strings and turns as a last smile on our face.
Philip Verhaege (4 ½ out of 5)