Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King
My Heart’s In Texas

Blind Pig Records 5102

By Courtney Sudhalter
September 2006

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Smokin’ Joe Kubek, a W.C. Handy Blues Award nominee last year, rang in the new year by recording a long-awaited live album.

My Heart’s In Texas was recorded at the J&J Blues Bar in Fort Worth, and is being released as both a CD and DVD.

Kubek began his career in Dallas during the 1970s, jamming with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King. It wasn’t until Smokin’ Joe invited Bnois King to join him during a gig in 1989 that he found their groove.

In 1991, they released their first album, Steppin’ Out Texas Style, on the Bullseye Blues label. Thirty-plus years and ten albums later, they are still tearing up stages from coast to coast.

My Heart’s In Texas encompasses so much passion in every song that you can almost envision their stage presence. Smokin’ Joe and Bnois are very talented, and contain so much range that there is honestly not one song that is not enjoyable. It didn’t take me far into the first song to be hooked.

The title and lyrics to their second song, “Burnin’ to the Ground,” alludes to the mood for the evening of Dec. 31, 2005. The band found a groove early on, and ran with it the whole evening. They covered everything from the slow and sensual blues to an all- out jam.

Kubek and King wail their guitars effortlessly while the band works in unison, and each get their moment to shine.

In “Burnin’ To The Ground” the baseline is jamming - you can’t help but hear it and jam right along.

This band has it together. The album has just the right balance of songs.

With Smokin’ Joe on guitar and Bnois on vocals as well as guitar, Paul Jenkins does a phenomenal job on bass, and Ralph Powers is incredible on drums.

The arrangement of the songs on this disc is great. It starts off kickin’ and brings the tone down right when it needs to be, and back up to rockin’ the house again. You’ll be hard pressed to find a song that you don’t like.

The title track, “My Heart’s In Texas,” is all about Kubek’s love for his home state. The riffs off his guitar make you tap your feet and dance in your chair. Even the more slowly paced songs such as “Where I Want To Be,” “Make It Right,” and “That’s Alright,” are still energetic.

Both “Boogie On Down” and “She’s Too Busy” are great examples of the energy level of this hard working band.

Smokin’ Joe’s music has also been featured in many movies and television shows, such as Copland, The Shipping News, and even Sex and the City.

Smokin’ Joe, Bnois, and the band are currently on tour, and will be making two New England stops. On Oct. 20, the band will be at Chan’s in Woonsocket, R.I., and on Oct. 21, at Dante’s at Firefly’s in Marlboro. Be sure to check them out. I know I will!

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