I Died and Went to 'Blues Heaven' (Connor Ray Music) with the Mark May Band [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on Jun 05, 2016 02:49 PM EDT
Mark May Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Mark May (Photo : Wendy Turner)

The Mark May Band just might take you to Blues Heaven on their sixth CD.

Singer/songwriter/lead guitarist May is a ball-buster. His licks were honed by being in the band of Dickey Betts in 2000 and 2001. Aided and abetted by The Soul Satyr Horns and a few friends like Kentucky Headhunter Greg Martin (who makes "She's a Keeper" sizzle with slide guitar) and harmonicat Steve Krase (who blows long and loud on "Put Down That Poison"), Blues Heaven is definitely a place you want to be.

The Ohio-based six-stringer can pump out the Chicago blues ("Money"), some Gulf Coast blues ("Leaving Houston") and, of course, Southern Rock ("Almost Like A Suicide"). Having Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's saxophone player, Eric Demmer, on hand for the title track and "Garden of Truth" adds to the overall luster. May wrote all 13 tracks and leads his band, horn section and special guests like the true pro he is. He stings that ax.

Newly signed to Connor Ray Music, the label reached out to May's former boss, ex-Allman Brother Dickey Betts, for a quote to put in their press materials and damn if the man himself didn't say, "when I heard his first CD, I was blown away. Mark is one of the best blues-rock artists to come along in years. With great singing, songwriting and guitar playing, he reminds me of everyone from Albert Collins to Stevie Ray [Vaughan] to Carlos Santana. Hell, I even heard a couple of my licks in there!"

With praise like that from a certifiable Southern Rock legend, there's nothing more this humble reporter can possibly add.

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TagsMark May Band, REVIEW, Connor Ray Music, Dickey Betts

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