What I Feel
What I Feel is the fourth release for the Nashville-based Stacy Mitchhart. After playing for more than a decade, he is banking that this release will bring him larger national attention. Backed by his band, Blues-U-Can-Use, Stacy lays down fourteen tracks that come from a blues and R&B tradition, but end up with a contemporary easy listening sound.
With songs about infidelity and some old time blues mixed in, this release should score well with the older crowd. Some of the slower songs are passionate and sexy, but I think it would be hard to seduce your date with songs like “I Might be Your Husband (But I’m My Other Woman’s Man).” The album kicks off with the title track. “What I Feel” is Stacy opening his heart and explaining why a Cincinnati born white boy sings the blues. The music also introduces us to tone of the album. The horn section and back-up vocals add a layer of ’70s R&B, while Stacy’s slide guitar work hearkens back to Chicago blues. This is the music that comes from his heart. This is further exemplified with three of his cover tracks, “King Bee,” “Cadillac Assembly Line,” and “Down Home Blues,” all of which are classics. “Down Home Blues” features Stacy on acoustic slide and handclaps, and “Cadillac Assembly Line” gets a funky kick from the horn section. From the original songs, “Brand New, Same Old Blues” pays homage to B.B. King. Although titled “Keep Bluesn’,” there is a strong Steely Dan influence in the rhythm and horns.
Other songs contain a jazzy sound, while “100 Degrees in the Shade” will steam up the windows with its slow, sexy burn. And “I Want to Ummm With You” says it all. The CD closes with a reprise of two earlier tracks, but done in different mixes. The acoustic “100 Degrees in the Shade” gets a front porch mix, which I guess means add another minute of repeating the chorus. This formula of funky, jazzy horns with a dash of old time blues might bring Stacy out of the confines of the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, but it’s going to be a tough climb. Stacy might be playing what he feels in his heart and what moves his soul, but contemporary jazz has a small niche audience.