Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor at www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipient
Don't let the name Back Porch Blues Band fool you. These guys are not a bunch of laid back blues men sitting around the "back porch" pickin' and strummin' acoustic blues. Instead, they're a bunch contemporary Midwestern musicians kickin' up a storm with a mixed bag of blues styles that include Chicago, Texas and West Coast Swing....just to name a few.
The band consists of Greg Spreer on guitar and lead vocals, Rod Peterson on harp and lead vocals, Joe Fontenot on bass and background vocals and Rick Bruner on drums and background vocals. "One More Before You Go" is the band's debut release and it contains eleven, all original tracks.
"If You Dance With Me", this is going to be the track you'll do it to. It's one of those songs that, if you aren't moving at least one or two of your limbs, you're probably in a body cast. This is genuine, house rockin' music at it's best.
You might not want to leave the dance floor just yet because this next one - "Love Me Tonight" is another smoker. This one features rampant rhythm and some of Greg's best guitar work, and when Rod's not blowin' the hell out of the harp, he's belting the hell out of the vocals. More very good stuff.
On this one, the guys are going somewhere most of us probably need to go as well - "Down To The Church House". And according to the beat it sounds like they need to get there fast and it's Rick - at disc's best on drums - who's taking care of that.
Once you hear the opening line to this one, you'll want to sing along with it the next time it comes around.....I'm going down.....down to the "Wishing Well". Although the lyrics are somewhat melancholy, the way they're sung is magnificent. Rod, with some nice harmonic backing, does a great job on the vocals. One of the disc's best tracks.
So the band includes a harmonica player and the title of the song includes the word train.....are you getting my drift? Yes, Rod does an excellent job of making that harp sound like a "Slow Moving Train". More great rhythm from Rick & Joe and gritty, soulful vocals by Greg also highlight this one.
As legend has it, Robert Johnson once made a deal with the devil. Now we have Rod Peterson making a deal with the "Reaper Man". One sounds like myth, yet the other sounds like fact. With one hand on a coffin and one foot in a grave, Rod told the reaper man to go to hell. It seems to have worked because he's still here and living each day the best he can......till the reaper man comes around again. Very uplifting track.
Other songs on "One More Before You Go" include: "Cold Blooded Woman", "Headed On Home To You", "Who Ya Think You're Foolin'", "I'm A Travelin' Man" and "If The World's Gonna Change".
If you want to hang out with the guys, the place to do it is www.backporchbluesband.com. Once you make yourself at home, please tell them the Blewzzman sent you.
Blues Blast Magazine
The Back Porch Blues Band lays down a pleasing mix of contemporary blues this self-produced all-original debut studio recording. Based in eastern Kansas, this four-piece ensemble puts forth far more energy than their laid-back name suggests. They’re shuffle masters of the first order.
Together for 12 years, the group work both sides of the Missouri River and are popular performers at festivals throughout the Midwest in summer months. They’re led by harp player Rod Peterson, whose influences range from Little Walter and Junior Wells to Sugar Ray Norcia and Jason Ricci, and guitarist Greg Spreer, a former cover band musician who’s gifted in diverse stylings ranging from rock to jazz, funk and R&B. Drummer Rick Bruneris a familiar face behind the kit in the Kansas City music scene, and bassist Joe Fontenot is a New Orleans transplant who’s recorded on Blacktop, Rounder, Jungle and Flying Fish backing Little Mike And The Tornadoes, Lynn August, John Paul’s Flying Circus and Mamou. All four members take turns at the microphone, providing more vocal, and Peterson and Spreer have written all the material.
The disc chugs out of the station with the syncopated rhythm of “If You Dance With Me.” It’s a friendly little shuffle in which the singer suggests that his lady get ready because the band kicks off at nine: “If we leave right now/We’ll get there on time/If you show me your moves/Baby, I’ll show you mine.” It’s a toe-tapper that gives the entire band a chance to stretch out while getting on dance floor, too. Spreer picks up the pace with a swinging guitar riff on “Love Me Tonight,” which plays the dance theme forward. In this one, the singer spots the girl on the floor, enjoys what he sees and makes his move, relating everything he’d like to do with and to her. Peterson’s harp work, which was subdued in the opener, comes to the fore on an extended solo.
The theme changes on “Down To The Church House.” This time the singer’s heading there to pray for a friend who could use a little help, then he’s splitting for the country to leave big-city problems behind. It’s another spirited, high-tempo number with Spreer in full control. One of those issues in that song might be a “Cold Blooded Woman,” subject of the next tune. She wants “to put a freeze on me/There’s love in her heart/But it’s only ‘bout 32 degrees.”
The pace slows for “Wishing Well,” a minor-tuned ballad atop a slow shuffle in which the singer’s praying again, dealing with difficulties after losing a job of 30 years in late middle age. The band gets funky for “Slow Moving Train,” a harp and rhythm section driven tale about a drinking problem before the guitar takes over for the next medium-paced shuffle in which singer thought he had to get away from his woman and live on his own, but times got tough so he’s “Headed On Home To You.”
Leaving home for good definitely is on the singer’s mind for “Who Ya Think You’re Foolin’,” about a lying, cheating woman. It’s a straight-ahead, medium paced Chicago blues with a lumpity-lump rhythm pattern. The theme continues for the speedy “I’m A Travelin’ Man.” This time, wherever the singer lands will be his home. The disc concludes with “Reaper Man,” a minor key tale of an unexplained brush with death, and “If The World’s Gonna Change,” a bottom-driven complaint about life in the real world.
If you enjoy shuffles and the sound of a rock-solid Midwestern bar band, you’ll love this one. It definitely deserves a spin. It’s available through Amazon and CDBaby with a direct link on the Back Porch Blues Band website.
Blues Society of Omaha
The Back Porch Blues Band is from Kansas. The musical veterans have played in the Midwest for many years, and the band was formed 2002. The cd is an eclectic blend of blues-based styles. Some of their influences include Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pinetop Perkins, Little Walter, Miles Davis, and Tab Benoit. They remind me, at times, of the Nighthawks – and that’s a good thing.
This is a very tight band. They emphasize well crafted originals without a lot of drawn-out solos. There is no star, but instead they seem to stress a team concept. Each member contributes vocals. The whole is more than the sum of the parts with this group.
The cd has a high energy that makes it hard to sit still while listening to the recording. This is a very good initial outing.