Artist: Peter Parcek Album Title: Mississippi Suitcase Release: 2020
This is a stellar 11 song set that was nominated in 2021 for a Blues Music Award in the Blues Rock Album of The Year category. Simply put, there isn't a weak spot. It has everything that a modern blues effort needs to standout from the sea of new records. Great production, vocals, songs and playing. It is rooted in tradition, while still inching the music forward. The vocals are naturally raspy and the guitar playing is impeccable.
The first thing that jumped out for me after a thorough listen was a modern blues approach in recording and songwriting, but the guitar seems to have stopped at The British Blues Invasion of the late 60's, yet doesn't feel dated in any way. The tone is modern and rich, but the playing feels more influenced by what came before Hendrix than after. It has moments of burning hot, but not quite catching fire, which I mean as the highest compliment. The band is as solid as granite, never overstepping the lines that keep the music in the blues genre and never losing the always illusive pocket.
One of my favorite tracks is "Until My Love Come Down". An eight minute slow burn that opens with a perfectly distorted slippery guitar lead. It's a classic 12 Bar Blues that is swimming in conviction and a deep understanding of the power of restraint, while still showcasing some serious blues chops.The fact that the track is as long as it is and doesn't grow old is a testament to the musicians mastery of the craft. The very next song "She Likes To Boogie Real Low" is an instrumental that showcases a deep blues vocabulary. A classic Chicago groove that has been referred to as a "flat tire shuffle" features a guitar that sits on top of the groove like a boat is on the ocean and not in the ocean, gracefully floating on a rhythm section that can shuffle with the best of them.
My favorite cut is "Everybody Oughta Make A Change". It has a slow train beat pushing the song forward like a locomotive. Peter's vocals are an uncommon combination of relaxed and gritty. The kind of smokey flavor that only comes from a long slow cooking. The guitar playing and vocals are an example of the contrast between wisdom and knowledge. The restraint to say nothing more than what needs to be said.
This record could've been reviewed perfectly in a few words. It simply is an exceptional set of blues. I highly recommend it to anyone that loves music. Not only the blues. It reminds me of Stevie Ray Vaughan in the sense that you don't need to be a blues fan to enjoy it. You just need ears and an open heart! I think this quote from Buddy Guy himself says it all. “You’re as bad as Eric Clapton. And I know Eric Clapton.”