Mikey Junior

Mikey Junior
Traveling South

Vizztone

By Lady K.
September 2014

Mikey Junior and his band are well known at a multitude of blues venues and appear at blues festivals in the ‘general vicinity’ of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware; and they get up here to Maine every now and then. Traveling South is the new album from Mikey Junior (vocals, harp) and his new band: Dave Gross (guitar, percussion); Dean Shot (guitar); Jeremy Baum (piano, B3); Matt Raymond (upright and electric bass); and Michael Bram (drums). Mikey wrote all tunes except the title track, which was written by Mike Vernon, and “Bad Time Blues”, by Danny DeGennaro, who co-wrote “Wrong Number” with Mikey.

Some of Lady K’s favorite tracks include “Katie Lynn”, an up-tempo, rockin’ and rollin’ number that gives everyone in the band a chance to shine during its lengthy instrumental parts, and Mikey’s harp is magic. ‘Katie Lynn you got my heart wrapped in your little hand / I’m doing everything I can to be your man’. “Bad Time Blues” is sexy blues with insane guitars. ‘Everybody on my block sees me hanging around / There goes Mikey singing another sad song / I got the bad time blues.’ “You” is a rockin’ mid-tempo blues tune, with more insane guitar, blending magically with Mikey’s harp: ‘I found out baby, you wanna take apart my heart / You, you wanna take apart my heart.’ And rockin’ blues guitar begs you to dance to “Please Come Back”.

In the title track, “Traveling South”, the funky drum background gives this tune a touch of Latino/salsa flavor, mixed with mid-tempo, sexy blues: ‘They said I was a loser, I won’t be losin’ for long / Honey all I wanta do is hold you in my arms / I’m traveling south, Baby, if you will go my way.’ The mid-tempo hip-swinger “Nobody Does It Like Me” highlights Mikey Junior’s killer harp, along with a bit of bravado about romantic techniques: ‘I’ll share my secret, I just take my time / Her heart is hooked and it ain’t hard to see, nobody does it like me.’

“Morning On My Way” is an up-tempo rocker with Baum’s B3 providing background. “Mill Tavern” is a mid-tempo grinder and actually evokes a mill town’s dark lonely streets and dark storefronts, with the pull of lonely little bars on corners providing fake comfort. It would feel sad and lonely, even without the lyrics: ‘I stay at home and climb the walls, I’m trying hard not to think / Since you been gone I act like a fool when I drink.’

More tales of love gone wrong include “The Cheat” - a graphic mid-tempo tale of the woes of being two-timed by his love. ‘I walked in and saw you with my own eyes / Deny till you die must be your motto, okay / He must have slipped and fell between your thighs.’ While the kick-ass whining guitar, and slow blues mourn ‘she’s the best girlfriend I never had’ in “She’s Good at Being Bad”. “Wrong Number” is another slow, slow blues track, with a huge B3 contribution grabbing the listener’s attention.

The last track is the rockin’ and rollin’ blues number “Trying to Do the Best I Can”: ‘My money’s gone, my baby she done moved out / my pleas to make her stay, turned a sour taste in my mouth’

If you don’t already know Mikey Junior, go listen.

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