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Shawn Pittman - Undeniable (2010 USA release)
Self Release - 11 songs; 43:57 minutes; Suggested
Shawn Pittman - Too Hot (2010 European Release)
Feelin’ Good Records (Italy) - 15 songs; 56:21 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Texas Blues, “Good old butt-rockin' Blues and Rock 'n' Roll” S. Pittman
When it comes to CD output, there are three levels: productive, prolific, and Shawn Pittman. In 2009 and 2010, Shawn, who first broke nationally in the late 90s, has released two CDs in each year. His latest, “Undeniable” is, incredibly, the eighth album for a guy only 35 years old!
His latest stateside release “Undeniable,” contains ten of eleven original songs and is titled as such, according to Pittman, because “It's simple: when you hear this record, you can't deny the fact that it's fundamentally sound, good blues. I don't use any pedals; I get my tone from my fingers, guitar and amp... I write and sing my own songs” Pittman and Stuart Sullivan did the producing.
Also available for 2010, in both Europe and here, is his seventh release, the aptly titled “Too Hot”(not a slow Blues song on it!). It was recorded in 2009 in a studio in Italy on Pittman and the band’s only day off from his tenth tour across the pond. They recorded “live” in the studio and knocked out 15 songs! Feeling Good Productions, an agency owned by Tano Ro based out of Milan, Italy had earlier released a compilation of Pittman's first four albums “Moovin and Groovin” (from '99-'05).
Undeniable’s opening track “Hard to Hold On” was our first spin on the Friends of the Blues Radio Show. Shawn’s solid and appealing vocals plead with a wavering lover while his guitar is at some of its melodic best above a chunky rhythm. "Change of Heart" is another killer track we’ll play. Howlin’ Wolf fans will enjoy the “Forty Four” inspired “Mindin’ My Own Business.” The set closer “Looking Good,” is a ferocious instrumental created by the late Magic Sam and the only non-original on the CD. “Looking Good” is also captured on the other 2010 release, “Too Hot.”
Too Hot’s title track is radio-ready. It is the Jerry “Boogie” McCain number that was the impetus for the recording session in Italy. The Italian back up band is solid across all 15 original and cover songs adding bass, drums, and harmonica. “Too Hot’s” tasty harp work is eclipsed only by Pittman’s scorching guitar runs. Another McCain song, “Geronimo Rock” is laid down as a dance floor filling rip snorting Texas shuffle. Larry Williams's “Slow Down” is anything but slow with its chooga-chooga, freight train out of control rhythm and smoldering guitar solo.
Overall, Pittman is a master of his guitar in playing the recognized styles of the Lone Star State. Thankfully, Pittman is not one to overplay in tedious, too-long solos, and he keeps song times averaging four minutes. You’ll hear influences of the Vaughan brothers, Albert King, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Jim Suhler, and Mike Morgan. Pittman's songs usually rely on a guitar powered trio, but Texas means occasional keyboards like in Undeniable’s “Blues for Juanita” with Shawn himself on piano.
By age 18, this Oklahoma born (1974), Texas honed
singer, songwriter, and guitarist was making a name among Texas guitar slingers.
Critically lauded and popular by age 23, Pittman released his first two records
on Minnesota’s now defunct Cannonball label.
Still considered “young” at 35, Pittman is a lot older and wiser than he was at 23. His dedication and perseverance has paid off while maintaining a soulfulness that simmers to a boil. Fans of a hard driving Texas shuffle who have yet to discover Shawn Pittman will be well rewarded.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL
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