Black-Label Blues

PACIFIC STREET(full-length CD) Plastic Meltdown Records
Roots music that goes down as easy as a shot of Black Label, Pacific Street is Blue Mama's newest melding of rock, folk, R&B, country, and roadhouse blues (released on the band's own label). Like Little Feat, the Grateful Dead and the Band—obvious points of reference—this South County-based sextet is boundless in sounds and styles. With each member contributing vocals, stellar chops and original material, they're quite an aural democracy. Not only is the playing first-rate, but there's also ample room for Tim Horrigan's boogie-woogie piano solos, Marty “Cadillac” McPhee's howling harmonica notes, and (full disclosure alert) Weekly folk listings god Dennis Roger Reed's National steel-guitar playing to take the occasional spotlight. And while it's easy to enjoy uptempo rockers like “Coffee Colored Cadillac” and “Boy Crazy,” the Mamas are just as appealing on the ballads. Making a splendid recording even better are contributions from soul singer Sonia Hayes Chevallier on a sexually charged duet with Reed and Shade Tree Instruments' Greg Mirken, whose striking mandolin and slide playing highlight Reed's plaintive “If Wishes Were Horses.” Is it any wonder Blue Mama is comfy with playing both to noisy bar crowds and the latte-sipping coffeehouse coterie?

Info:; (949) 493-1883.

Blue Mama opens for Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930. Oct. 26, 8 p.m. $13.50; discounted tickets available through the band.

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