It would be hard to argue about Jeff Strahan's commitment to music. After establishing himself as a trial lawyer, Strahan decided to forgo law in favor of a full-time music career. On his seventh recording to see the light of day, he handles the lead vocals, plays the guitar and keyboards in addition to writing all but one song. The sturdy rhythms throughout the disc are supplied by D.
C Duncan on drums and John June on bass.
As you might expect from someone steeped in the Texas music tradition, the disc features plenty of boogie and shuffle tunes. The driving beat on "She Only Hates Me" propels Strahan's humorous description of life with a hard-drinking woman. On "U-Turns", the leader doubles on keyboard and guitar, wringing a stinging solo out of his Stratocaster. Strahan switches to the Hammond organ on "Do Me" as he confesses to some of the mis-steps in his life. Casey Klepfer sits in on harmonica.
The other guest appearance is by the legendary Augie Meyers (Texas Tornados, Sir Douglas Quintet) on his original, "Betty Sue", a toe-tapping rock & roll number energizes by the leader's slide guitar and Meyer's pumpin' piano licks. The ominous tone on "River' Gonna Rise" recalls Tiny Bradshaw's classic "Train Kept A Rollin' " with Strahan using a threatening storm as a warning for people to get right with the world. His bone-chilling vocal coupled with a memorable guitar solo make this track a standout. The opener, "Good Outweighs the Bad", provides the leader with a chance to voice his appreciation for life while filling in the arrangement on the organ.
The high-octane instrumental, "Mayhem", gives all three band members a chance to stretch out before hitting another high mark on "Sancho", a cheating song with a twist. Strahan shows he knows his way around a slow blues, creating tension with gritty singing and volatile guitar playing. "Wishin' Bone" is equally strong with a performance that simmers with stark emotions while "Shine Her Up" finds Strahan paying homage to three key parts of his existence - his woman, shotgun and guitar. He also includes a tribute to the sacrifices of the men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces on "Gonna Be Blue". Strahan gets a chance to demonstrate his skill on piano on "Less is More", delivering a engrossing solo over June's thick bass line.
While Strahan isn't breaking any new ground, he proves that he knack for creating interest in familiar themes and standard blues progression. He alludes to that point in the final track, which features him discussing the disc. He dedicates the project to his friend, the late guitarist Lil' Dave Thompson, before sharing comments on the tracks and closing with a thank you for supporting his music. It is a sincere moment that gives more insight into Strahan's musical world and serves as a fitting close to a rewarding project that garner more attention for the multi-talented Jeff Strahan. ~ Mark Thompson, Blues Blast Magazine