Sixteen years is probably about the length of time it takes to become an established artist in the blues world; for it is only now that Brian’s talent is being recognised by worldwide audiences and promoters and not solely by his fellow musicians, critics and reviewers. Brian’s career started in Boston in1989; with him joining local musicians at various harmonica jam sessions, it was after these events that he was first offered the chance to play alongside Harmonica player Jake Jacobs in his band the Rollercoasters. After spending invaluable time with them he moved on to gain more experience with Little Frankie & the Premiers. In1991 he decided to front his own band, The Radio Kings; after entering and subsequently winning the Boston Blues Society ‘Battle of the Bands. The band, as a consequence of this victory, became known to the renowned harmonica player Jerry Portnoy who promptly employed them as his road band and they spent the whole of 1992 travelling across America with him; doing one night stands. In 1994 the band released an album on the Memphis based Icehouse label, on one of the numbers Brian shared vocals with Little Mitlon; this was the breakthrough into Europe that Brian and the band needed and they continued playing and recording until Brian went solo in 2000. In the intervening years Brian has toured across the world with Otis Grand and Sonny Rhodes as well as releasing two solo albums. Now, with this his third release, a live double album recorded in Velden, Austria on the 18th and 19th of March 2007; He will, I have no doubt capture the musical hearts and minds of a greater number of music lovers. Brian’s harmonica style is never harsh or brash, his sweetly reassuring insistent blowing moves the tunes along at the particular pace they each need to be. His playing style also exhibits hints of Slim Harpo while at the same time exuding a great many examples of the old Chicago sound. Brian’s vocal similarities to Kim Wilson, of the Fabulous Thunderbirds; contributes a somewhat Texan feel to the proceedings but, this I might add only further enhances the listening pleasure. He is backed throughout the two nights by Enrico Crivellaro; guitar, Luca Tonani; bass, and Lele Zamperini; drums. These gentlemen have backed Brian on most of his recent tours and they gell together so wonderfully, whether they are playing Chicago or Texas Shuffles, Jump, Rocking Blues, New Orleans Strolls, Slowburners or even Rock’n’Roll; they simply ooze class and ferociously burn Rubber when required (As one might say!)
Of the twenty seven numbers here for your delectation not one single tune is a filler or throwaway instrumental all of them are serious foot-tappers! The two sets cover Brian’s entire career to date and provide a great insight into a man and his music.
A thoroughly engrossing and entertaining album and you don’t hear the audience (except to show their appreciation) spoil your enjoyment once.
----- Brian Harma/Blues Art Studio