John Nemeth,
Love Me Tonight
(Blind Pig, 2008)

With his second release on Blind Pig Records, John Nemeth takes a strong step forward into the forefront of contemporary blues-rock. Nemeth has labored for years in the trenches; he was the harp player for Frankie Lee and then served a stint as the vocalist for Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets for two years. After a couple of years as a solo artist and a couple of self-released CDs, he signed with Blind Pig, where he might be able to get the push he needs and deserves.

Though deeply rooted in the blues, Love Me Tonight is a wide-open set that uses classic soul sounds, old-style Stax-Volt R&B and rock to get its points across. The title song, for example, which kicks off the set, borrows a riff from the Motown group, the Four Tops, until Nemeth comes in with his vocal and makes the song his own. With each song, you hear the influences, the Memphis strut on "Just Like You" or the Van Morrison-styled arrangement on "Fuel for Your Fire."

Nemeth, though, is no musical rip-off artist. He has taken these influences, incorporated them into his own style and made his own original ways as a result. It helps that he can sing the slats off a barn; his voice is soulful, expressive and at home in his whole range. He can wail or he can croon, as well as stop off anywhere between those two extremes, and always be convincing.

Watch this guy. He's going to be important.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

28 February 2009

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