Monday, April 16, 2012
Ryan Reardon & The Levee Breakers - Walking In Golden Sunshine
08 - Senor Blues
09 - Head Cleanin' Blues
11 - What's The Matter
When Ryan Reardon left Memphis for Tuscaloosa, AL, in 1995, he had the confidence and desire to start his own band. Reardon formed the Levee Breakers with guitarist Rob Robertson in June, 1996. The Levee Breakers went from a local upstart to a regional success in the matter of only two years. The rapid rise of the band was due exclusively to Reardon's and Robertson's hard work, their ability to communicate ideas easily, and Reardon's relentless drive to book the band. A confessed control freak, Reardon's vision was to create a band that had a feel similar to an ensemble, with a very distinct sound, original tunes, and a full tonal quality better than anything found in clubs. Ryan Reardon and guitarist Rob Robertson built the band on a formula-based on the Fabulous Thunderbirds' four-piece chassis. Reardon and Robertson wanted vocals, harmonica, and economic guitar playing on top of a swinging rhythm section consisting of electric bass and sparse drums, with Eric Simmons on bass and Matt Kimbrell on the drums, which is exactly what they have.
Ryan Reardon and the Levee Breakers' original and cover songs span the entire range of the blues genre. They lean heavily on shuffles, but there is plenty of soul-influenced material along with jazz-blues reminiscent of Jimmy Smith and Charles Brown. Reardon is always looking for new ways to expand on blues idioms, as long as the arrangements are swinging and the playing tasteful and tight. Reardon proclaims Junior Wells' 1965 album Hoodoo Man Blues is the center of his musical universe; the album is funky, cool, and very intense without being loud and noisy. As Reardon heads into multiple years as a bandleader, he is continually growing. His ears are getting better every day, he is taking music theory, he woodsheds when time permits, and he is still pushing his band into the next level of club and festival work. Walkin' in Golden Sunshine, Ryan Reardon and the Levee Breakers' sophomore effort released in April 2000, was another entertaining look into the blues realm which Reardon loves to explore and exhibit. In 2001, Ryan Reardon and the Levee Breakers could be found gigging throughout the southeast and raising money for future releases.