Featuring an all-star cast including Nick Moss (Nick Moss and the Flip Tops, The Legendary Blues Band, Jimmy Rogers) on second guitar, Anthony Geraci (Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones) on piano, Michael “Mudcat” Ward (Hubert Sumlin, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Big Walter Horton) on upright and electric bass, and Warren Grant (The Monster Mike Welch Band, The Lydia Warren Band) on drums, Cryin’ Hey! represents the finest singing, playing and songwriting of Monster Mike Welch’s career.
Monster Mike Welch Talks About His New CD
Cryin’ Hey! Monster Mike Welch Plays The Blues
Cryin’ Hey! is the CD I’ve wanted to make since I was thirteen years old. I’ve made a lot of different kinds of CDs in my short career, but I’ve never had a chance to make a record like this. When Philippe Langlois at DixieFrog approached me with the idea of a straight blues record in 2004, I felt like I had been offered a chance to come home, and I immediately started writing material and assembling my dream blues band.
The songs were much easier to write than I had initially feared. Over the years, my writing had become more obscure, complex, and rock-oriented, partly because my tastes had changed and partly because I was very insecure about my ability as a young white boy to tell the kind of direct, heartfelt stories that the great blues singers and writers told so effortlessly. The opportunity to make a blues record forced me to look at my life differently, and I realized that as a 26 year-old man trying to make the best life possible with a wife, new baby, and money problems, I had stories to tell. Within a couple of weeks, I had most of the CD written, and I’d already tested the new songs on gigs. The directness of the songs also meant that they were much easier for me to sing than anything I’d written before, and if I were to single out the thing I’m most proud of on Cryin’ Hey!, it would be the growth in my vocals.
The band members were also easy to choose. Anthony Geraci, Mudcat Ward, and Warren Grant are musicians and friends that I’ve worked with in different situations for ten years or more, and were obvious choices. Nick Moss is among the very best blues guitarists I’ve ever heard, and someone I’d always wanted a chance to work with. Nick lives in Chicago, but he just happened to have a couple of days off during his Northeast tour on the exact two days we were scheduled to record in the Boston area, so he was added to the list. Nick is a real-deal Chicago bluesman whose playing reminds me of Earl Hooker and Jimmy Rogers, Warren’s specialty is the Houston shuffle in the vein of Sonny Freeman on the great B.B. King and Duke Records sides, and Mudcat, Ant, and I are part of the New England tradition, which has elements of both the Chicago and Texas approaches with its own flavor. All of us bear our regional stamps, but none of us are limited to any one approach, so I was blessed with a band behind me that could tackle any kind of blues I threw at it.
With songs and musicians I was comfortable with, the recording was the best session I’ve ever been involved with. We recorded the music completely live in the studio in about six hours, with no overdubs necessary. I was inspired to play more guitar than I have on any record since 1996’s These Blues Are Mine, which feels good. Listening back to it, I hear everything I’ve learned from my blues guitar heroes, especially early Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Freddy King, Gatemouth Brown, Robert Lockwood, and Muddy Waters. Cryin’ Hey! gave me a chance to pay tribute to them and all of the other great blues singers and musicians, and to try to make the listener feel the way those people made me feel with their music.
“…can rip the top of your head and cram your brains into your neck with his blues guitar work.”
- Rolling Stone
“Welch is becoming an all-around guitar master…”
- Living Blues
"Welch takes the music somewhere special when he plays."
- Down Beat
"An ass-kicking, axe-picking bluesman with a wide range of mood and colour"
- Mojo (UK)
“He’s a phenomenal blues player.”
- Duke Robillard
“A genius of a different generation”
- Blues Revue