Date posted: February 20, 2013

 Featured Blues Review 6 of 7

John Németh – Blues Live

Self-released

www.johnnemethblues.com

13 tracks/65:14

It is commonly understood that the best music, no matter what genre, happens live on stage where the artist/band can interact with the audience and feed off their energy. Many artists have career-defining moments documented by a live recording – think B.B. King Live at the Regal, Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison or James Brown Live at the Apollo. You can add John Neméth to the list. After deciding to release two live projects on his own, one focusing on blues and the other on his soulful side, Németh was rewarded with five Blues Music Award nominations, including B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album, Instrumentalist – Harmonica, Soul-Blues Album, and Soul-Blues Male Artist. It is quite an accomplishment and one listen to the blues disc quickly settles any doubts one might have about Németh getting so much acclaim.

Right from the start Németh’s voice delivers an emotional wallop on “Every Night About This Time”, which he matches with some hard blowing on his harp. He tears in his original “Country Boy”, sounding like he is trying to blow the house down. Guitarist Kid Andersen matches his intensity with a fiery solo that brings cheers from the crowd. Németh dirties up his vocal by singing through his harp mic on “Ain’t Too Old”, then glides through a stirring rendition of Magic Sam’s “She Belongs to Me”.

The focus then shifts to Németh’s songwriting skills with seven songs that clearly illustrates his deep understanding of blues traditions. “Blues in My Heart” finds him phrasing his vocals like Junior Wells one minute, then laying down some dazzling runs on his chromatic harp. The band slows things down on “She Did Not Show” as Németh describes a friend’s poor track record with women. Things take a darker turn on “Daughter of the Devil” as Németh’s harp serves as a forceful beacon to protect you from the forces of evil. “Love Gone Crazy” settles into a funkier mode that sets up more dynamic harp playing from the leader. The charming title for “You’re an Angel” hides the fact that Németh wrote the song about a woman “…sent to wreck my life.” Any question about his true feelings are answered when Németh instructs guitarist A. C. Myles to send the no-good woman to the gates of Hades – and Myles obliges with a rousing guitar crescendo.

The tracks come from three California shows recorded over an eight day stretch last year. The band is with Németh every step of the way. Bob Welsh joins Andersen and Myles on guitar. The rhythm section is in the capable hands of Nick Fishman on drums and Tommy Folen on bass with John Lee Sanders making significant contributions on various keyboards.

Németh finishes the set with “Stop Breaking Down” as he again shows how much influence Wells had on his style while Andersen sounds comfortable playing the role of Buddy Guy. Then the band rocks hard on Don Robey’s “Mother In Law” as the guitars play off each behind Németh’s anguished promises to change if his lover would return home. Whether it’s his electrifying vocals or tasty harp playing, John Németh delivers outstanding performances throughout a first-rate collection of material. After you hear it, there will be no doubt in your mind that Németh deserves any of the honors that come his way – making this one highly recommended!.

Reviewer Mark Thompson retired after twelve years as president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. and moved to Florida. He has been listening to music of all kinds for over fifty years. Favorite musicians include Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Magic Slim, Magic Sam, Charles Mingus and Count Basie.

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 Featured Blues Review 7 of 7

John Németh – Soul Live

Self-released

www.johnnemethblues.com

12 tracks/55:26

The second of a set of live recordings that display the full scope of John Németh’s talents, this one focuses on his skill as a blue-eyed soul singer and songwriter. These tracks catch his voice getting down and dirty in a lower register one minute, then soaring to a spine-tingling soul shout the next. His passionate renderings make each of his nine originals sound like tunes rescued from vintage soul albums from decades past.

The best testament to Németh’s outstanding versatility is his nominations for five Blues Music Awards. Besides Contemporary Blues Album and Instrumentalist – Harmonica, Németh also received recognition for Soul Blues Album and Male Soul Blues Artist. His nomination for the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award acknowledges that Németh is among the best. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to think of any other musician, with the possible exceptions of Curtis Salgado or Bobby Rush, who could duplicate this level of success in two different styles of music.

Wasting no time, Németh and his crack band settle into a funky vamp on “Blue Broadway” that recalls a Wilson Pickett hit of a similar vein. Németh may not be able to match the gritty edge of the wicked Pickett but he can grab your heartstrings with a sweet, passionate tone that won’t let go. They power through the title tracks from Németh’s three releases on Blind Pig Records with ‘Love Me Tonight” set up by a powerful beat from drummer Nick Fishman. “Magic Touch” sets a rocking pace that undoubtedly fills the dance floor with some supercharged interplay between guitarists A.C. Myles, Kid Andersen and Bob Welsh. Németh breaks it down at the end to add a bit of personal testimony before finishing with a crowd-pleasing scream. The hand-clapping funkified groove of “Name the Day” has a southern soul feel as Németh pledges the depth of his love. He gives the upper register of his harp a workout on “Funky Feelin’” cushioned by John Lee Sander’s electronic keyboard and a wah-wah-tinged guitar line.

The reflective ballad, “Fuel For Your Fire”, provides Németh with the space to demonstrate the enormous depth of his voice. Even better is his stirring performance on “Said Too Much”, a forlorn depiction of a man at the point of desperation. Another highlight is “Do You Really Want That Woman”, perhaps Németh’s finest composition. He offers a unvarnished look at the temptations of the female persuasion while out on the road, battling to stay true to the loved ones back home. Tommy Folen lays down a thick bass line in addition to joining Myles and Fishman to form a seductive backing chorus.

The set ends with three covers as Németh pays tribute to Solomon Burke on “Home in Your Heart” before his spell-binding voice floats over the toe-tapping rhythm on “My Future” as the singer shares an intimate moment to share his disdain for his mother’s advice to avoid the music business. The set finishes with a full-throttle rendering of “She’s Looking Good”, another tune associated with Pickett. By the time it’s over, you will have fallen under the spell of this bold statement from an immensely talented artist who can hit you with romantic charm or gut-bucket intensity. Don’t miss it – highly recommended!!.

Reviewer Mark Thompson retired after twelve years as president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. and moved to Florida. He has been listening to music of all kinds for over fifty years. Favorite musicians include Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Magic Slim, Magic Sam, Charles Mingus and Count Basie.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

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