Joe Price

Joe Price
Rain or Shine

Self-produced, Blue Acres Productions

By T Charles
July 2009

If you like instrumental blues, you’ll love this album. Every other song is an instrumental. This is one of those albums I liked immediately - the first time through. Add all 10 songs, and five new instrumental songs will be added to your blues playlist from this fine album.

Listen to “Nellie Bell” and you’ll see what I mean. The record is only 33 minutes long, and left me wanting more. But isn’t that how every band wants us to react, by wanting more?

Price has been in this business for more than 40 years, and country blues and their influences are heard on this album. Imagine yourself sitting by the side of river or lake with your significant other, fishing line in the water, relaxing in your preferred state of mind, and sipping your favorite beverage. The music fits this scene. Its simplicity, with sometimes only Price on acoustic guitar, seems to go well with the more laid back lifestyles that accompany the warm weather. Price is joined by his wife, Vicki, on guitars for several tunes.

There are a couple of refinements or “airbrushes” that could have been made to glitches on a few songs in the studio, but perhaps this informality adds to the “down home” feel one gets from this disc. I can easily imagine these songs, both those with vocals, as well as the instrumentals, on movie soundtracks.

The album begins with “Hornet’s Nest,” a driving song and a mesmerizing beat. It’s about playing so well that you avoid the (black and) blues from hornet stings! On this song, Price says in the accompanying notes that playing slide guitar actually drew the attentions of hornets that were seemingly calmed by playing the slide guitar. Not sure I would have the faith he did when seeing a swarm of hornets approaching!

“Too Little, Too Late” slows it down for a sad song in which Price says: “you can always tell when your baby’s had enough.” Sad but true. “Last Stop Now” is the saddest song on the album. On this one, Price asks his absent lover: “where did you go?” The slowness of the song along with the clever slide work emphasizes the angst and loneliness.

“(Don’t Stop Rockin’ that) Steel Guitar” will get your head a bobbin’, and is tastefully augmented by some nice harmonies by Vicki Price. Here the couple urges listeners to “come on in” and rock to the steel guitar. The song, like others on the album has such strong rhythm that you won’t miss the drums unless you’re a drummer.

“Beer Tent Boogie Woogie” is a party song that gets the toe tappin’ while singing about being “too drunk to drive.” The song was also enhanced by sound of a real train in the background—an unplanned shout-out to the roots of the blues.

“Rock Slide,” the last song on the album, suddenly adds a trumpet and drums. I love the call-and-response with the guitar answering the trumpet - played skillfully by Al Naylor. Keni Ewing keeps it steady and solid, tastefully-playing drums.

While listening, you may hear an echo of much of the feel of early blues as played in the 1920s, 30s or 40s.

<- back to Features