On Friday July 11 guitar man Dudley Taft made a return trip to the Northwest and transformed the hip Tacoma night club Jazzbones into a sweaty roadhouse juke joint. Taft now resides in Ohio but had a backup band a three of the Northwest’s best players on hand to deliver an ultra two hour show of hard driving rock and lowdown shaky blues. Bass man and host of his own top rated radio show All Blues, John Kessler anchors the band with stellar chops and a few anecdotes about the tunes. Veteran side men Eric Robert on keys; who also plays for NW favorite Vikki Martinez and new drummer Carl Martin round out the blazing quartet.
Taft released his third solo album “Screaming in the Wind May 20 and featured several tunes from the new disc including the title track, the blues rock reggae experiment “I Keep My Eyes On You”, the time shifting and “Red Line,” and an ode to the NW “Sleeping In The Sunlight, dancing in the rain,” and it’s 90’s grunge rock overtones. Taft also played a mixture of covers songs that represent his influences and mission to deconstruct and reconstruct the notion of blues rock guitar. He and the band delivered a gritty version of Dylan’s “Meet Me in the Morning,” and tore thru the B.B. King staple “You Upset Me Baby,” and Freddie King’s in the “Palace of the King,” with Taft and Roberts trading solo’s. Taft demonstrated his depth on the heavy duty slow blues ballad “If Heartaches Where nickels,” flexing his vocal chops as well and guitar histrionics. Before “Red Line” he accurately described the sound he and his compatriots are going for as “If ZZ Top and Thin Lizzy had a baby.” Tossing the rule book aside Taft lead the band thru a wacky reading of funky Lou Reed tune “Sally Can’t Dance,” before morphing the Peter Green guitar anthem “Oh Well,” into a Led Zeppelin riff medley.
Taft returned for an encore by covering “Everything Will Be Alright” from his 90’s era Seattle band Sweetwater and dedicating it to many of his long time fans in the house, then rocking up Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My,” and Marley’s “Natty Dred.” Dudley Taft is a guitarslinger par none that is working hard to carve his notch in the pantheon of guitar gods.