Nick Moss

Nick Moss
Live at Chan's

Blue Bella Records BB1005

By Art Tipaldi
August 2006

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When you pair Nick Moss - one of the hottest young Chicago blues guitarists - with Chan’s Restaurant in Woonsocket, R.I., for a live recording, you know it’s gonna be hotter then John Chan’s spicy sesame chicken.

Moss is the Blues Music Award-nominated guitarist who cut his teeth playing with the late Jimmy Rogers. Throughout his blues education, Moss has also sat in with the cream of Chicago blues.

In 2003, Moss was nominated as Best New Artist. In 2004, Moss’s record, Count Your Blessings, was nominated as contemporary Blues Album of the Year. This year, Moss’s last studio record, Sallie Mae, was also nominated as one of five in the Blues Record of the Year category.

Not a bad start.

Chan’s Restaurant on Main Street in downtown Woonsocket opened 27 years ago as Chan’s Egg Rolls and Jazz, and has evolved into the one New England venue serving great blues every week.

For a band of traditional Chicago blues like Nick Moss, Chan’s has two plusses. First, there isn’t a bad seat anywhere - even if you sit to the side of the stage, the music still sounds great. Secondly, because of the intimate nature of the room, most bands turn the volume down to where audiences can appreciate the musical subtleties. And those musical subtleties are captured here.

The live show starts with “The Eggroll Stroll,” a tasty instrumental shuffle made up on the spot to get the night going. Moss digs into his Sadie Mae disc with songs like “Check My Pulse,” a Jimmy Rogers-Sunnyland Slim styled original; and “Never Forget,” a Texas guitar shuffle.

From the start, the dynamic interplay between Moss’s explosive guitar work, and Willie Oshawny’s keyboard work harkens back to the feel good days of Muddy and Spann, or Memphis Slim and Matt “Guitar” Murphy.

Moss gives a live nod to some of his blues guitar heroes. Freddie King’s “Love The Woman,” steals the slow blues spotlight with Moss’s chilling string work. On “It’s Good In Your Neighborhood,” Moss honors Magic Slim, another Chicago blues icon.

There’s also a local guest on the record. On “The End,” Moss calls in our own Mike Welch, a guitar buddy of his, to honor the legendary Earl Hooker. Welch also joins Moss on second guitar on “Your Wagon’” and “Just Like That.” The real fun is listening to how easily they trade solos back and forth.

The boogie piano of Oshawny leads Joe Turner’s “Wine-O-Baby Boogie,” before the night ends as it started, with the guitar laden “Move Over, Morris,” a Moss original dedicated again to Magic Slim.

Because of the top notch musicians and the fine venue, this live shot has all the fun vibe of a basement jam session. The only problem is that, after 75 minutes, it ends.

But ya know what? An hour later, you’ll be hungry again for more music from Chan’s.

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