Ken Tucker: Looking For A Brighter Day (Jomar Records)
Ken Tucker is a well-seasoned blues rocker in the tradition of the Allman Brothers, Joe Walsh, Georgia Satellites, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Lynyrd Skinner.
“Looking For A Brighter Day” is the follow-up to Tucker’s debut “Back Porch Pilgrims”, and finds the burly Tucker joined by Josh Hammond on harmonica. Ken’s specialty is hard rockin’, bone crunchin’ blues of the “take-no-prisoners” variety. This is Southern-fried rock/blues that’s finger-licking good. Like steaming racks of meaty BBQ at a summer music festival!
Indiana-based, Ken used to let his guitar do all the talking, but friends convinced him those “hard-as-nails” vocals would bump up the excitement. They perfectly complement his fiery guitar licks. The Ken Tucker band has made tremendous headway recently, like winning Best Emerging Artist for its stage and recording prowess at the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival. I should have been there!
Thirteen smokin’ tracks on “Looking For A Brighter Day” raise the energy level enough to increase room temperature by about 15 degrees. Tucker’s assertive guitar is the key that unlocks the door—throughout. The title track goes beyond another hook-laden piece of power pop thanks to Tucker’s highly distinctive guitar riffs.
“The Sun is Always Shinin” is a slice of party-time blues with some wonderful interplay between Tucker’s axe and Hammond’s harp. “Walkin’ Cane is a thrill-a-second shuffler that perfectly sets the table for “Tin Cup Blues”, an unabashed grinder with lots of distorted torrid guitar and emotionally-charged vocals-plus a very touching piano break from Larry DeVincent. And it has an unmistakable “Jimi Hendrix” vibe! “Guitar Man” is a case study in pure Southern rock.
Tucker does a couple songs with some religious overtones where restraint is the order of the day, allowing him to get the seriousness of the message across: “Lord You’re All I Need” and “The King Is Comin’. “Why Do You Hurt Me”’ is a rock/blues anthem number that reminded me of Bruce Springsteen: more evidence of Tucker’s seamless versatility. “Cold Wind Comin” is more rock-solid Blues, and may just be my favorite cut---but that could change.
For those who crave honest, unadorned Blues that rocks out and gets close-to-the bone and packs an unforgettable wallop, I give “two-thumbs-up” to Ken Tucker’s “Looking For A Brighter Day”.
There's some big crunchy Blues/Rock coming out of Indiana these days in the form of Ken Tucker. I can't imagine a more auspicious beginning to a record than the mercilessly catchy title cut on "Looking For A Brighter Day" (****). A driving guitar riff and weaving verses crank this number up for one big hook- the kind of refrain you sing yourself after one listen. Fortunately the power-punk/rock attitude and snarling vocals disguises the fact it's a really pure pop/rock song. Not to mention the Duane Allman-like guitar solo unleashed by Mr. Tucker. I smell a hit. "Why Do You Hurt Me?" is another great Southern rocker that recalls the Georgia Satellites. Overall, though, this is a Blues record with a spiritual underbelly (Biblical references pepper Blues cuts like "The King is Coming" & "Lord You're All I Need"). While I tend to lean toward the Soul side of the Blues I gotta admit I really dug the variety found on this disc from the Bo Diddley-beating "Guitar Man", the steamrollin' "Walkin' Cane" to the soaring slow Blues of "Tin Cup Blues". On the latter Tucker flexes his guitar chops. Speaking of guitar prowess fans of Steve Ray Vaughan will appreciate the Texas-fried pounder "The Sun Is Always Shining". I had to check the credits to see if Double Trouble played on this cut. They didn't but these folks are tight. Tucker and bassist Tim Bushong collaborated on the twelve originals here and "Brighter Day" has that rarified feel of a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears leading up to a break in this business (a record deal) and that can only achieved if you've lived it. Good luck Ken.
Tony Stringfellow/T.J.S- Executive Producer
Ken Tucker - Lead/Rhythm Guitars, Lead Vocals
Josh Hammond - Harmonica
Aaron Bushong - Drums on 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9
Greg Purlee - Drums on 2, 5, 8, 10
Sarah Sue Kelly - BGV's
Hannah Bushong - BGV's
Larry DeVincent - All Keyboards
Tim Bushong - Bass, 2nd Guitar, Percussion, BGV's on 1, 4, 9
Handclaps on "Call Me Up" courtesy of the Northern Contingent of Trinity Evangelical Church
Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Tim Bushong at the TBush Record Plant
~~~ THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
I recently played The Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formally the King Biscuit Blues Festival) in West Helena, Arkansas; competed against 22 acts and won Muzak's "Emerging Artist Award" for my vocal performance and the sound quality of my CD!
I am siger/songwriter in the Southern Gospel, Blues and Folk vein. Some of my influences are Larry Norman, The Beatles, Ray Charles, 77's, Daniel Amos, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, etc... I had the privelege of playing for the legendary Larry Norman for 3 years doing many shows including Creation West 2000 and Cornerstone 2001 as well as 2 documentaries about Christian music. I have a beautiful wife, Marsha, and a great son, Russell who make my life wonderful. I am signed, curently, to Jomar Records. Several of my songs have recieved airplay in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and USA. My first single, "Looking For A Brighter Day" is the title of my debut CD.
Ken Tucker has 27 years experience as a guitarist, songwriter, and performer. He has played for several groups over the years including, Secret Service, The Passion, Moreover's New Trick, and most noteably, Christian Music Legend, Larry Norman. Josh Hammond is a harmonica playing and guitar picking force of nature. In spite of their diverse musical upbringings, they compliment each other amazingly well. Ken's gravelly, baritone voice is a perfect blent for Josh's high tenor harmonies. They have been getting lots of airplay in the US and overseas. If hard rockin' blues is your forte', then they are for you!