The Chris Fitz Band

The Chris Fitz Band
Chris Fitz Band

Self-produced, CFB Records

By Karen Nugent
July 2007

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Fitz fans have waited five long years for a fourth disc. And he’s worth it.

The 15-track record of original songs successfully blends singer-guitarist Fitz’s unique rock, blues, soul, and Delta styles into a crowd pleasing, rockin’ bash.

Described as a crossover blues-rock album, blues purists may take issue with some of the more rocking choices. But they should come around with cuts like "Dirty Wide River," a lamenting, back porch Delta blues. Fitz carries the vocals off, but it’s his traditional guitar playing, rife with feeling, that makes the song.

Ditto for the next cut, "If You See Me Tomorrow…Tell Me About Last Night," (you get the picture: "I’m walking dead, I got a spike in my head/ I shoulda listened to what my mama said.") Here, Fitz’s guitar wails in his trademark, relentless style, somewhat reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn.

He continues the bluesy Delta mood on "I’ve Been Alone Too Long," a slow, acoustic number with Fitz singing in a sexy whisper; "Last Train Out," featuring outstanding slide guitar, and "Long Winded Mama" another softly-sung traditional number.

But Fitz really gets his point across with "21st Century Blues," a Delta-style acoustic track in the sacrosanct Robert Johnson style, yet with updated lyrics: "World is going crazy, kids are dying for them Nike shoes," and, "Pick up a paper, ain’t nothin’ but bad, bad news."

The band, comprised of Rhode Island veteran Greg Silva on bass, Chuck Schuler on drums, and guest Ken Clark on organ, switches to the funk side of the street on "Welcome to the…Rhythm Room." Fitz continues the superb guitar, while Clark gets some hot organ licks in. He also gets funky on the first two tracks, "Freedom" and "It’s Gonna Be Alright."

Rockabilly takes the stage on "East…West Love Affair," and pure rock wins out on "If I go Down Dyin’." He’s even included a ballad, "Long Way Home," on the disc, effectively covering all the bases.

The record ends with the instrumental, "Hasta Lavista (Strolling With Mr. Cockburn) which really shows off Fitz’s guitar picking.

The Chris Fitz Band, formed more than 12 years ago by the Lynn native, has won numerous awards, including first place in the blues category last year at the West Coast Songwriters International Songwriting Competition, for "This Is My Church." In 2003, his song, "Never Been To Memphis" (from their third album, Journey of Hope) was the runner up at the International Songwriting Competition. The band, which has sold more than 10,000 albums, also won the Boston Blues Society’s Boston Blues Challenge in 2005, and Fitz was voted Outstanding Guitar Player by the New England Blues Audience in 2006.

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