Jeff Norwood

Jeff Norwood
Live at The Tap (10/8/10)

self published

By Elliott Morehardt
November 2010

A breath of fresh air from South Carolina blew onto the northeast blues scene the other day. Jeff Norwood and his Gibson SG guitar showed up at The Tap in Haverhill, to play his own style of deep-roots blues. Opening up for the powerful Ten Foot Polecats is no easy task for anyone, but Jeff put his easy-going, confident style to good work!

Jeff has a long list of credentials, including playing with the Drifters, Drink Small, The Tams, and even Hootie and the Blowfish, but we should really know this musician for his solo work. Inspired by icons like Odell Harris, Honeyboy Edwards, and T-Model Ford, Jeff has forged his own path to become a storyteller in the best tradition of the blues.

Jeff’s recent recording, “Awendaw,” is almost indistinguishable from his live set, and that's a good thing. This latest recording is a spur-of-the-moment type of thing, he says.

Jeff came back “home” to Awendaw Green Studios in the South Carolina backwoods and swamps, just like where he grew up. Jeff put down nine tracks in short time, a raw and surprisingly professional production, with everything a roots/blues aficionado looks for. The overall theme seems to be “coming home,” whether on the road or reminiscing over old times, and the Awendaw studio provided that proper setting for Jeff to recreate some chapters of his life.

Jeff plays his music with refreshing confidence and purpose, not in a hurry for anyone. The opening track is “The Devil,” a self-explanatory title that walks through the temptations of everyday life with some fine instrumentals. “Walking Catfish Blues” and “Call Me Money” are more whimsical, biographical looks at the artist. “Black Dark” demonstrates more of Jeff’s ability to paint pictures with words while framing them with the sounds of his Gibson. “Horny Road” takes us into Jeff’s past and present, calling on us to drop our Internet for a while and get back to some old-fashioned fun... according to the artist; it’s not politically correct and not so radio-friendly.

Jeff recalled a fond memory of recording “Horny Road.”

We decided to just catch the moment and hang out in the swamp and record live ... for example, the crickets and frogs on Horny Road are real ... we were on the porch about 3 a.m. with a 51 Gibson Falcon amp and my SG next to the pond and the tremolo got 'em going!” he said.

“Awendaw” really takes you back in time, while keeping it all relevant to today and possessing that “live” feel, like those old scratchy blues records I remember, just without all the scratches.

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