12:30 P.M. | bAKER eLECTRIC hOME ENERGY STAGE
take a listen!
The Backtrack Blues Band is living testimony that high-energy Chicago and hard-driving Texas guitar blues will live on.
For nearly 40 years, Backtrack has been a constant on the Florida blues concert, club and festival scene and has established a strong reputation for creative songwriting. The 2020 release on VizzTone of their sixth CD, Your Baby Has Left, shows why the band has attained such popularity. The recording features six originals by Sonny Charles and two by guitarist Kid Royal as well as Jimmy Reed’s “Natural Born Lover.”
Lead singer Sonny Charles fuels his “Best Friend’s Grave (Joy, Joy, Joy)” with some southern-fried vocals and a powerful harmonica that sweeps through with the force of a Florida hurricane.
The band also flexes its muscle behind Charles’ Paul Butterfield-style harmonica on the title cut, which also features Kid Royal’s stinging guitar and the driving beat of drummer Joe Bencomo. Supported by rhythm guitarist Little Johnny Walter and bassist Stick Davis and the swirling keyboards of Bruce Katz, the songs are gripping and driving. But nowhere does Backtrack shine brighter than on Royal’s “Times Is Hard,” a slow-burning eight-minute song that showcases the depth of the band’s blues credentials. That’s the kind of song that draws a distinction between an OK band and a really good one.
The band has captured the attention of drummer Tom Hambridge, who has produced albums for Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, James Cotton, George Thorogood and Johnny Winter among others. Hambride also has been awarded three Grammys and has eight other Grammy nominations.
“This is a real deal blues album made by seasoned blues journeymen,” he says. “You can hear the Muddy, Buddy, Otis and Elmore influences throughout. It’s blues time.”