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Matt Smith’s Chop Shop: Live! at Strange Brew

Back on September 11, 2020, guitar phenom Matt Smith released eight albums. I reviewed his Being Human disc a little while back so I figure it is time to revisit this body of work. This review will focus on Live! at Strange Brew, an establishment located in Austin, Texas where the power trio performed on a weekly basis. All I can say after listening to this album is I really wish I could have been there. This is powerful rocking blues music that hits you like a ton of bricks. I guess that’s why we call them power trios.

In the band are Matt Smith (vocals, guitar, lap steel, mandolin), Ed Freidland (basses) and Bryan Austin (drums).

The set begins with the intense instrumental “Tough Guy/Tsurfin the Tsunami” with Smith’s stabbing guitar chords slicing and dicing with creative abandon. The guitar work is absolutely wicked. The song’s second half has Smith going for a scintillating surf guitar attack. “Trust Yourself” features robust riffs, fantastic bass work and Smith’s slightly gritty lead vocals. “Shelter From The Storm”, not the Dylan classic, is a more slow burning affair and again the guitar playing is awesome. Smith, the storyteller, comes through in “Shades Of Grey”, with his guitar speaking as much as his words, the notes so clear and convincing. Smith’s take on the Crosby, Stills & Nash 1971 classic “Love The One You're With” is superb, with the artist respecting the original, yet taking it along a bluesier path with his guitar the highlight.

Smith and his cohorts were on fire on this particular occasion, with his guitar playing speaking volumes. An excellent live album to be sure.

Track Listing:
1. Tough Guy/Tsurfin the Tsunami
2. Trust Yourself
3. Shelter From The Storm
4. Shades Of Grey
5. Love The One You’re With
6. Greenfield Grove
7. Rainy Night In Georgia
8. Too Much/Smell My Mandolin
9. I Feel Good
10. Blues Walk

Added: April 14th 2021
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 426
Language: english

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