As the album name implies, Feel The Blues is not only about the great feeling you get when you listen to the blues but also the feeling you get when listening to the blues under a deep blue sky on a warm sunny day when nothing else in the whole world matters.
This blues debut album by Greg Rosano features songs from a wide range of players over time. When you think of the Blues and R&B, you cannot get more soulful than the great Ray Charles. This rendition of “I’ve Got News For You” attempts to capture the spirit of Ray Charles as well as the big band sound of the era. The album also features the blues classic “The Thrill is Gone” by B. B. King. The final album ready version of this song ended up being an entirely acoustic version of the song beginning with a free flowing piano improvisation to set the mood. While so many artists have played this song in the electric style of B. B. King, it was felt that a fresh acoustic version of the song might just be a way to feature this tune in a different light.
This album features several acoustic songs. Boogie Child is a raw acoustic guitar blues with a catchy lyric. What guy hasn’t dreamed of dancing with their vision of loveliness? Acoustic guitar scattered with a glimpse of harmonica felt like it was just the right ingredient for this tune. Working off of the playbook of the masterful Muddy Waters, it only felt natural to include “I Live the Life I Love”. Muddy’s music exemplifies the essence of the blues and to capture a rendition of this song only seemed fitting.
When looking to contemporary blues players, Eric Bibb and Keb Mo are certainly influential. Eric’s tune “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” is nothing but spiritually uplifting and will bring a smile to your face every time you hear it. Keb Mo’s tune “Soon As I Get Paid” is reminiscent of the early Credence Clearwater swampy bluesy sound. The blues slide guitar influence in this song comes from one who could be considered the Lady of Contemporary Blues, Ms. Bonnie Raitt. Another contemporary, Curtis Salgado, a very, very soulful vocalist is responsible for the tune “20 Years of B. B. King”. The tightly woven lyric portrays the typical blues where the guy loses the cheating girlfriend. What you don’t realize at first is just about every line in the lyric is an excerpt from a past B. B. King song while the background musical form closely models that of “The Thrill Is Gone”. This tune is nothing short of genius on behalf of Curtis.
A number of the songs represent an R&B flavor. Being passionate about music, one can only be captured by the work of Donald Fagen of Steely Dan. A knockout version of “Drowning in a Sea of Love” surfaced from a live show performed by Donald with Boz Scaggs singing lead vocal accompanied by Drew Zingg on guitar years ago. The song was so obscure, it only seemed fitting to bring it back to the surface. Johnnie Taylor’s “Cheaper To Keep Her”, “Feel The Groove” by Little Feat and “There Comes A Time” by Luther Allison round out the remainder of the R&B tunes. All are powerful tunes in their own right.
Greg’s strongest influence for guitar work comes from contemporaries Larry Carlton and Robben Ford. Both of these players have done so much to advance the excellence of guitar playing enough words cannot be said. “Another Fine Day” came from a Ford Brother’s album of the same name. Reminiscent of the Tower of Power hip, funk, solid groove, this song captures it all.
In rounding out the remaining songs on the album, it only seemed right to include songs from two people who have influenced this music genre immensely, Bob Dylan for his song writing and Bobby “Blue” Bland for his vocal style. “Gotta Serve Somebody” surfaced on the Soprano’s TV series at the end of the series and once it did, it could not be ignored. For anyone who has not experienced Bobby Blue Bland, you owe it to yourself to do so. From his album “Blues At Midnight” comes the wonderful song “I Caught the Blues from Someone Else”. Bobby is one of the greatest blues singers of all times and it is nothing short of an honor to represent one of his songs on this album.
Greg’s passion for playing guitar and singing started early on. After many years of playing everything from big band, jazz, smooth jazz to R&B his interests were drawn to the blues. Now, the blues have become deeply rooted in his playing style. This album was arranged and performed in its entirety one track at a time by Greg Rosano. On the album, Greg performs all vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, drums, bass, midi guitar, keyboards, percussion and harmonica as well as all of the synthesized horn parts.