Terry Quiett explodes every power trio cliché by cutting a broad swath of striking original material from haunting Delta blues and sophisticated jazzy swing to chesty rock featuring his flawless guitar technique and deeply soulful vocals. Emerging from the rural plains of Kansas and evolving in the last decade from a solo acoustic singer/songwriter to lead the band of bassist Aaron Underwood and drummer Rodney Baker since 2006, Quiett has a commanding presence onstage and in the studio. His latest release Just My Luck, produced by the legendary Jim Gaines and augmented with keyboardists Rick Steff and Beau Jarvis, is a modern masterpiece of highly charged, blues-based music.
"Karma” comes out swinging hard with a limber groove provided by the always locked in Underwood and Baker as Quiett vents his story of “karma coming back around” on a duplicitous romantic interest, his slithery slide guitar and muscular lead riffing driving the tune to the point of delirious exuberance. The contrast of the cool, evocative late night jazz of “Work for It” shows Quiett creating clever and sexy metaphors to describe the “hardball” played by ladies who throw themselves at musicians. The funky rock of “You’re My Kind” presents an inviting, hook-driven dance groove while Quiett is even more direct in his negotiations with a woman for her favors, his passion intensified with a snarling, wah wah solo. The shuffle blues with a southern rock flavor of “Big Man Boogie” is a taunting jab at a conniving woman that exemplifies the way Quiett combines taste, tone and technique every time he sets pick to strings. The mood turns starkly darker on the minor key blues of “Getting Through to Me” with Quiett amping up his braggadocio with the startling imagery of “karma’s a bitch alright, in six-inch heels” while peeling off a brutally aggressive solo.
He returns to his roots like a prewar Delta preacher via a haunting solo resonator guitar performance on “Judgment Day” that describes a love triangle he will likely lose. Updating country blues with electric slide guitar and full band backing, Quiett spins a nasty tale of being cuckolded with the horrifying metaphor of a woodsman killing a wolf on the searing “The Woodsman.” Over grinding electric slide riffing on “Pound of Flesh,” however, he admits his own transgressions and bravely faces that “The devil wants his pound of flesh.” A whiff of reggae rock on “Some People” allows Quiett a political rant about being, “…stunned by what they think is going down” and, “I tell you ain’t nothing gonna save this town.” In “Signs of Decline” Quiett bemoans his thoughtless behavior that, “… may have cost me my home” with a soaring chorus and solo where he heartbreakingly wails “I’ve been blind” both verbally and instrumentally. On “Satisfied” he strives to strike a lover’s bargain over his “crime” and her “lies” as his alternating roaring and jazzy guitar “plays” both parts of the dialogue. Maintaining his theme of “mea culpa” on “Fool’s Gold,” Quiett cops to “all my creeks have run dry, panning fool’s gold” while building to a rock anthem climax with a surging guitar solo.
“Close to You” draws down the curtain with a restrained power ballad that finds Quiett at his most vulnerable, laying bare his heart to the object of his desire with gently pleading words and sensuous guitar musings. It is fitting resolution after being chased by “hell hounds” through the dense thicket of romantic relations and Terry Quiett is the best man to clear the path with his songs, voice and guitar.
~ Dave Rubin, 2005 KBA winner in Journalism