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Jon Shain - Times Right Now

Flyin' Records

Jon Shain, with FJ Ventre, was a finalist in the 2009 International Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category representing the Triangle Blues Society of North Carolina. Jon, a Massachusetts native became enamored with Piedmont style finger picking while attending Duke University. He has played with “Big Boy” Henry and has shared the stage with Hot Tuna, the Dave Matthews Band, Leon Russell and recently with Jorma Kaukonen, John Hammond, Keb’ Mo’ and others. When he is not working his busy tour schedule, he teaches Piedmont guitar in his home base of Durham, North Carolina.

Most of the songs on his latest CD, Times Right Now were written by Shain or co-written with Jackson Hall. Shain is a veteran recording artist with a number of CDs to his credit as a band member and as a solo artist.

The opening lines from the traditional song, "James Alley Blues", provide the title for the CD. “Times right now ain’t nothing like they used to be.” The second song, "Mr. Snakeoil" tells a story but it isn’t clear what that story is. Nonetheless, Shain’s voice is good and so is the music. The music moves and makes you want to listen again and again. "Spinning Compass", "Something New", and "Driving Them Crazy" are quiet songs typical of a singer-songwriter, folk style.

"Clementine" is a folksy, bluegrass waltz. "Careless Love" is an acoustic folk ballad with slide guitar. "Ooncha Ooncha Music" is a smorgasbord of bluegrass mountain music with a little Dixieland thrown in. Speaking of New Orleans, "Midnight Snack" has a Crescent City syncopation on a rock and roll beat with soulful horns providing an R & B punch. "Louise, Louise" is a slow blues with forlorn harmonica wailing. It is a nice acoustic number, a mood setter. Very nice. "Song For Dara" is a short folk interlude. "Little Flower" is an electric southern rock/blues burner. The last song, "Yadkin River Blues" is a pleasant ballad.

Times Right Now starts on a blues note but settles into a folk, bluegrass style. The CD picks up on a blues vibe with Midnight Snack. The CD is good and easy to listen to. Times Right Now is more of a folk CD than a Blues CD. That said, Shain is a good singer and the musicians form a good, tight unit.

Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.

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