I had big plans to travel over to Houston's best blues club, The Big Easy, and catch John Nemeth's gig last night, but circumstances got in the way. Bummed me out! My ol' buddy Steve Schneider filled me in on the fact that, "John Nemeth rocked!", with his scary good vocals, great harp playing, and top shelf band. Darned it! And I have to say that waayy too often.
Oh, and for the Rick Davis blog rant fans--Nemeth blew harp through a vintage '59 Fender Pro and not his Harp Gear amp. Some of you know what I'm talking about.
John Nemeth grabbed my attention a few years ago when I was trying to track down a Bill Rhoades CD (great harpman, by the way) and I ran across some Nemeth stuff. Both of these guys were blowing the blues in the Pacific Northwest. I came across an e-mail for Nemeth, so I inquired as to how to get his stuff. At that time he had Jack of Harps out there and Come And Get It. He mentioned that Jack of Harps was chocked full of more of his harp playing. I grabbed it and immediately fell under his spell.
That release opens with Junior Parker's Mother-in-law Blues. What struck me was the fact that Nemeth absolutely nailed down Parker's vocals. Whoa! I thought. This guy can sing. He does a couple of more covers, but eight of the cuts are originals. Nice debut disc. But the Come And Get It CD blew me away.
Come And Get It showcased just what Nemeth could do singing classic grooves associated with soul and R&B. His individuality emerged on this disc and the idiosyncratic guitarist Junior Watson did his thang--which is one of my favorite twang thangs. He shelves the harp a lot more than I like, but he music is outstanding.
The Blind Pig follow-up, Magic Touch pushed the formula further on up the the road. Hearing him torch Sit and Cry The Blues was enough for me. That one tune will convince anyone that John Nemeth is the best blues singer alive today--period.
His current entry into proving my last statement is Love Me Tonight. The man rejuvenates that ol' R&B vibe so darned well and makes it all so fresh again. I'll say it again--the man can just flat sing--anything. He can channel Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Sam Cooke, and, and, and,...I do believe that he could put out country and western, rock and roll, jazz, gospel, and it wouldn't matter. He would just nail it. Oh, and he doesn't forsake the harp--it just is not the focus of his releases.
Go over to his website or myspace page and order his stuff. In the mean time check this out: