Online since August 2002

SoCal beach blues

Reviewed January 2007

Ain't Easy No More
Ain't Easy No More
By Mark Hummel

Electro-Fi Records: 2006

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Mark Hummel plays blues harmonica in the same bright, sunny SoCal style as the better known Rod Piazza and James Harman. Equal parts Louis Jordan jump blues and southside Chicago juke joint, Hummel's version of the West Coast sound is defined as much by his warm singing as his powerful harp playing.

His new album has a baker's dozen tracks, and there's not a dog in there (although his song about Hurricane Katrina, "Big Easy (Ain't Easy No More)" is annoyingly preachy in its lyrics). His seven-piece band swings like a big band jazz outfit (Bob Welsh on piano in particular is outstanding), Hummel blows like a man possessed on harp, and then turns around and sings like some lost crooner from the '50s.

In short, it is impossible to stay gloomy when Hummel's occupying your stereo system.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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