Music Reviews
Shaw Davis & The Black Ties

Shaw Davis & The Black Ties

Tales From The West

Shaw Davis & The Black Ties are one of the most explosive contemporary blues-rock power trios to emerge on today’s music scene, and they truly leave a lasting impression. The South Florida band’s second release, Tales From The West, boasts nine killer tracks comprised of two covers and seven originals. Punctuated with a wicked, hard-edged, riff-heavy groove from the first note to the last, Davis and his band emit such a huge sound that it’s hard to believe it IS only three players. I loved this record from the first moment, and that doesn’t happen all that often. With echoes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and the Kings (Albert and Freddie), to name but a few, Davis has taken a little piece of all his blues guitar influences and chiseled out his own appealing corner of the blues-rock world. Pairing his intense guitar skills with strong, impressive vocals, Davis is tightly backed by drummer Bobby Van Stone and bassist Patrick Stevenson (both on backing vocals).

Standout originals include “Take My Hand,” “Tales From The West,” and “Mamma Told Me,” while Davis and company take the Junior Kimbrough classic, “I Gotta Try You Girl” to piercing new heights, reworking the mellower original with incendiary guitar licks. But it’s their heavier reinterpretation of Frank Zappa’s “Willie The Pimp” (Hot Rats, 1969), a stank-smeared smoker, that really shines. Zappa fans will love it, right down to the worthy Captain Beefheart-esque vocals.

Song placement is so essential to the continuity of a record, and surprisingly, many albums simply miss the mark on this. Tales From The West, however, nails it perfectly. The steady, rock ferocity of the first eight cuts is offset by the more subdued but equally outstanding closing track, “My Friend.”

It’s impossible to listen to this record without moving to the beat. Every track is a bona fide winner. I’m adding this one to my list of favorite recent releases, and I highly recommend purchasing it. This is definitely a band to catch at an intimate local venue, because it won’t be long before they take off. It just doesn’t get much better than this.

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