The Insomniacs,
At Least I'm Not With You
(Deltagroove, 2009)

Portland, Oregon's Insomniacs are a throwback to an earlier era. Although they're only in their 20s, the quartet's sound is rooted in '50s blues and soul music. It's classic, timeless music.

"Root Beer Float" is an instrumental that you might have heard on a jukebox in 1954, yet it doesn't sound old. The Insomniacs can find the current in the past and that allows them to take it into the future.

The quartet -- Vyasa Dobson on vocals and guitar, Dean Mueller on bass, Alex Shakeri on piano and Hammond B3, and David Melyan on drums -- plays in every style from California's Johnny Otis to Chicago's Howling Wolf, bringing in additional players when they need them. Guests include harp players Al Blake and Mitch Kashmar, petal steel player Joel Pattterson and Jeff Turmes on horns.

The songs are a mix of old classics, such as "Hoodoo Man Blues" and "Baby, Don't Do It," and new tunes that just sound old. At a time when most blues bands are just rock bands in disguise, copying the people who copied the people who copied the originals, it is really nice to hear a band that has its own vision, a band that has gone back to the classic tunes and artists for inspiration and has found it own way by going there.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

19 September 2009

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