Review: Shawn Pittman – Hard Road


Shawn Pittman – Hard Road

Shawn Pittman – Hard Road
Format: CD – Digital / Label: Must Have Music – Continental Record Services
Release: 2022

Tekst: Bert van Kessel

Fans of The Vaughan Brothers and Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rejoice! We haven’t exactly been immersed in a large number of Texas Blues releases (save Mike Morgan) these past few years, but the good news is that this new Shawn Pittman release surely makes up for the wait.

It’s a deliciously raw album that is bound to rock your socks off with all tracks in the best Texas blues tradition, rendered with impressive freshness and enthusiasm. Shawn took his present touring band, Jason Crisp on bass and second guitar and Mike King on drums, into the Wire Studios in Austin,where they recorded dozens of tracks live in the studio, twelve of which resulted in this high-energy, good-rocking  Texas blues album.

It’s a mix of new and old material which the new trio has turned into their own with amazing authenticity, enhanced by that scintillating live feel that virtually takes you to a packed  live show at Antone’s.

The trio delivers  Texas blues in its many facets: The album opens in upbeat T-Birds style: Pocket Dial is characterised by a contagious, driving beat. The House Always Wins is an honest barroom blues done with two guitars and no bass reminiscent of  Hound Dog Taylor. It features some exquisite soloing that Jimmie Vaughan would certainly approve of.

It is followed by Sativa, A fun track that exemplifies this band’s coherence.The swinging Maintain and the energetic shuffle Tailspin are bound to fill any dancefloor. The hard-hitting title track Hard Road is basically a traditional blues that will get  any  party going. That’s The Thing is a  very convincing slow blues with Shawn displaying amazing skill in his vocals and subdued soloing.

This Shawn Pittman trio is convincingly following in the footsteps of the renowned Texas guitar slingers; true successors to the likes of the Vaughan Brothers and Smokin Joe Kubek.

01. Pocket Dial
02. The House Always Wins
03. Sativa
04. Backsliding Again
05. Take a Real Good Look
06. Tailspin
07. Go Down Swingin’
08. Hard Road
09. Maintain
10. Keep Pushin’
11. That’s the Thing
12. Down in the Valley