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by Sam Kelly on December 19th, 2010

Gig Review: Sam Kelly’s ‘Station House’

Saturday, 25 September 2010:

Our 12th season of Bluesnights kicked off with a top quality act, namely drumming maestro Sam Kelly’s ‘Station House’. Sam Kelly was making his very welcome second visit to Bluesnights and on this occasion the band comprised Sam plus Paul Jobson on keyboards/vocals, Spy Austin on 5 string bass/vocals and Tony Qunta on guitar/vocals. Interestingly, these latter three can – and do – take lead vocals which gives the band a great deal of flexibility and depth.
The concert, although not all blues in any strict sense of the term, turned out to be exciting and innovative consisting of a mix of Blues, Funk and Soul.
Sam Kelly’s ‘Station House’ eased in with a light funky instrumental where each muso had a solo spot; “Long Grey Mare” was an up tempo blues which kicked along really well, again offering each band member an opportunity to engage in superb ensemble playing, as well as solos. They made a lovely job of Keb Mo’s “That’s Not Love”, a well-executed ballad with poignant guitar and keyboard solos. The band ended the first set with “I’m Overloaded”, Tony turning in several sharp guitar solos; Spy had inventive flowing bass lines and Sam’s scat singing and tight drumming was simply excellent!

The second set featured a couple of numbers by Bill Withers – one, “Lovely Day” with Tony on vocals, smoothly projected cool soul and went down really well. On “Sometimes Bad Is Bad”, a fast paced hard driving funky number, their interplay was excellent.
The band then made a very good job of “The Thrill Is Gone”, enjoyed by an audience that was by now thoroughly ‘tuned-in’ to the variety of grooves being explored by the band.
Paul led on vocals and pulling out a superb solo of Albert King’s “Crosscut Saw”, Spy driving it along with punchy bass lines, in which they briefly segued into “On Broadway”; great stuff! A very enjoyable number by The Meters “What The People Say” cracked along with a syncopated rhythm and superb drumming holding it all together; everyone got a chance to solo which interweaved all the way through the concert.
Things were going so well that they all got back up and did a tight, fast paced rendition of James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and that was a perfect way to end what had been an excellent evening of consummate musicianship enjoyed equally by the audience and the musicians alike.
Sam Kelly’s ‘Station House’ are simply top class! If the opportunity ever comes your way, don’t miss them!

Review by: Lewis A Harris.
© Bluesnights. The Dorset Blues Society.
25th September 2010.

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