CD review – Norris and Nicely
Norris and Nicely- Plum Tree Studios
You know what they say about old dogs and news tricks, well journey men players Randy Norris and Jeff Nicely are out to break that rule on their debut self title album. The pair teamed up in 2011 as a side project from their main gigs and decided to compete in the international Blues Challenge Solo /Duo category and won a chance to represent the Washington Blues Society in Memphis, making it to the semi final round. Recorded by Richard Williams at Plum Tree studios, the strong ten song set captures the clean fresh sound of Norris on authentic acoustic guitar and Nicely on expressive harmonica in an intimate setting. Opening track “Bottle Up The Groove,” is funky finger picking foot stomper that lets you know the party has started. Norris then proceeds to get down to it sounding every bit the like Robert Johnson on Wet Willie’s haunting “Jailhouse Moan,” then switching back to a more contemporary Keb Mo like sound on “Chain Reaction,” with nicely weaving his harp in to the guitar lines with ease. Norris pushes his voice to the brink on the classic Son House lament “Death Letter.” The duo take Dylan’s “Down In The Flood,” and turn it into a Piedmont style jump that bounces along like a jalopy on a country road. Norris fires up his electric guitar so he and Nicely can dish out the business on “Crossroads blues,” closing the album with gusto, leaving no doubt they’ve got plenty of gas left in the tank.