The  Twisters

The Twisters
After The Storm

Northern Blues Music NBM0037

By Karen Nugent
July 2007

The last track of The Twisters new disc, "Bye Bye Bird," is dedicated to their late bass player, James Taylor, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2005 while on the road with the band. A tractor-trailer headed in the other direction suddenly flipped over, and slammed into the bandís vehicle. Drummer Matt Pease was critically injured, and the crash nearly destroyed the band, both physically and psychologically. Founding member David Hoerl, a harmonica great and the sole remaining member of the original band, says in the albumís liner notes that after the accident, the band nearly dissolved.

But theyíre back. The 12-track disc opens strongly with two solid blues, the driving, "Iím Your Man;" and "When Your Memory Goes Away," a shuffle.

Hoerl shines throughout the record, which is comprised of all originals, except for "Bye, Bye, Bird," which was written by Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson. He is particularly good on "Second Wind," an instrumental, and his tone and phrasing are paramount for much of the record.

Described as Canadaís premier jump-blues band, that jump-swing style is clear on "Going, Goiní, Gone," written by guitarist Brandon Isaak, who hails from WAY up north in the Yukon. Another real bluesy number is "Button Up" also written by Isaak, and reminiscent of Sonny Boy himself; and "Honest To Goodness, is a good slow blues, again, written by Isaak. He is particularly good on guitar on the opening track, "Iím Your Man."

But "Harp Player," all about the trials and tribulations of the instrument is silly. ("Some think itís a toy, but itís much more than that.") The harp solo in the song is its saving grace. Thereís also an unfortunate country-style number ("Sheís Crazy"), a surf-rocker, ("Thick or Thin,") and a regrettable sappy ballad, "Whereís The Woman" by Isaak. (It actually talks about dried flowers under his bed, and loversí initials carved in a tree!)

The disc, which comes three years after The Twisters Live at Harvest Fest, is still worth checking out. Hoerl, who is considered one of Canada's foremost harmonica players, was nominated in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2005 for harmonica player of the year by the Toronto Blues Society. Besides he and Isaak, who also sings and plays Dobro and banjo, the band has a new bass player, Keith Picot. Special guest Kenny Wayne sits in on piano and organ.

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