Monster Mike Welch,
Just Like It Is
(VizzTone, 2008)

Monster Mike Welch got his nickname when he was 14 and playing the House of Blues; Dan Ackroyd heard him and declared him a monster. Yes, Monster Mike is another prodigy, breaking on the scene as a teenager and turning heads with his guitar artistry.

He is a technically superb player, with a harsh biting tone and a love of volume. A passable singer, he can put his songs across. Yet, even as I recognize his skill, I find myself not really responding to it. To me -- and I might be in the minority on this point -- Monster Mike Welch's playing is filled with fire but I can't feel anything burning. It's like fireworks: flash and noise and then nothing. I don't feel anything under the virtuosity.

The songs are fairly mundane, typical of contemporary blues, dealing with familiar themes; being done wrong by your baby, being a strutting lover, longing for love. For the most part, you feel that you've heard the lyrics before and you feel that they exist as filler, a bridge the musicians cross to get to the solos.

Each time I listened to the CD, the same thing happened. I began listening in a receptive mood but as it went on, I found my attention flagging. My mind drifting. Good blues should never allow you to drift.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

24 May 2008

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