How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Like many of his musical brethren in New Orleans, John Carey is actually a transplanted Yankee. Somehow this little-known harmonicat and singer from Boston convinced the Memphis Horns, bass-phenom George Porter, and guitarist-extraordinaire Duke Levine to join him on his second album.
These celebrated musicians acquit themselves well here, but it's Carey and his lesser-known bandmates who really steal the show. Carey's passionate vocals are somewhat remindful of Luther Kent, and his harmonica work is nothing short of masterful. His harmonica floats around, through and above the all-female horn section of Sarah Kramer (trumpet) and Rebecca Bary (saxophone) on five tracks, and the Memphis Horns on two. Rounding out Carey's regular band are Joe Krown on B-3 and piano, Willy Jaye on guitar, Van Odom on drums and Spike Perkins on bass.
Carey and friends concoct a spicy admixture of blues, boogie and blue-eyed soul that should satisfy any fan of horn-driven R&B. Carey's lyrics aren't gonna change the world, but there's a soulful sincerity to his singing that really draws you in. Highlights here include the nasty "Hold You Accountable," the harmonica workout "Johnny's Boogie," and the Lyle Lovett-like "Another Reason."
If you want to hear some well-rounded Memphis-style R&B flavored with punchy horns, great harmonica, a funky rhythm section and passionate vocals, John Carey delivers.