I just received the newest release, Tough Times Don't Last, from Grady Champion and it's his best to my taste that I've heard. The release opens with My Time Baby, a Chicago blues style track featuring Champion on harp and vocals and it's right on the spot. Next up is Missing You, a solid R&B track and I really like it. Featuring Caleb Armstrong on guitar, Marquis Champion on bass, Lil Cal Jackson on drums, Nathan Keck on guitars, Chris Gill on guitars, Granard McClendon on guitar, Larry Addison on piano, Kevin Culver on keys, Steve Wilkerson on keys, Amy Lott on clarinet, and Thomasine Anderson on backing vocals there is no lacking for musical talent. Broken Down Cadillac is a upbeat city blues/R&B track with over driven guitar work that really contributes to the overall sound and intensity. Glory Train has a bit of the delta blended into the city sound with a cranked down background and slaying harp attack over the vocal. This is a real nice effect. Things Ain't What They Used To be is a really cool track laying down a R&B style blues and nice vocal harmonies. Possibly the best track on the recording Champion lays low with some tasty guitar riffs. The backing vocals on this track really add the right spice. Tough Times Don't Last is a really nice country/gospel/blues track. It has a great pace and instrumentation. With angelic backing vocals and Champion leading the way this could be the airplay favorite. Amy Lott add a real sweet clarinet solo on this track as well. Ghetto has a bit of early Stevie Wonder blended into a contemporary sound. Constant knifing guitar riffs add a lot of texture to this track as in other tracks on this release. Cookie Jar has a real old school sound with Howlin Wolf like vocals and textural harping over an otherwise rhythmic track. Very cool. Completing the release is What Would Christmas Be Without You? is a a shuffling R&B track with smooth backing vocals. This is a track that should be inserted into the regular Christmas season repertoire certainly being a spectacular improvement over most of the moldy "contemporary" Christmas tracks that are usually played. This is a real enjoyable release and if you like your blues with a strong taste of R&B mixed in ... this may be the ticket!
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