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Mitch Kashmar and the Pontiax - 100 Miles To Go

Delta Groove

12 tracks 50mins 24secs

Let’s say right at the start that Mr Kashmar has a very fine singing voice and (particularly in the higher register) a fiery and forceful approach in his harp work. He and his band have been gigging and travelling for some time with three different line-ups to the band; Tom Lackner (dms); Jack Kennedy (b) and Bill Flores (g, and ts) in most of them.

Hailing from Santa Barbara, CA, in 2005 his CD "Nickels & Dimes", featuring guitar great Junior Watson (Delta Groove Music, 2005), saw him really start to make a name for himself. Kashmar was nominated in two consecutive years for Blues Music Awards (previously the Handy Awards). In 2006 he was listed as a nominee for Best New Artist Debut and in 2007 as Best Instrumentalist - Harmonica. In 2008 he appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in London with the band War (with whom he was gigging) and Eric Burdon, founder of the UK band The Animals, for a reunion concert.

There have been two other CDs on Delta Groove, Wake Up & Worry (2006) and Live At Labatt (2008).

With the exception of two bonus tracks, the CD is a re-issue of a 1988 album issued under the same name. The music is nothing short of excellent, all of the tracks featuring the original Pontiax line-up. MITCH KASHMAR - hca/voc, BILL FLORES - gtr, JOHN LAWTON – gtr (except bonus tracks), JACK KENNEDY - bass, TOM LACKNER – drums, and come with the special guest: WILLIAM CLARKE - hca on the opener, a storming Night Creeper (which has shades of the wonderful Honky Tonk Night Time Man, written by Merle Haggard (1973) and covered by the fabulous Lynyrd Skynyrd (1977).

I do have to report, however, that the years have taken their toll, as the two bonus tracks while workman like have (to these ears) a rather strange, thin sound. However that may not be the effect of the aging of the musicians. Is it possible the originals were recorded on tape and these bonuses were recorded digitally? An audio engineer friend tells me that it DOES make a difference.

Anyway that aside, this one is recommended to any and all fans of harp music and west coast blues. Go for it! You won’t regret it.

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South ( a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).

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