Joseph "Smokey" Holman has been nominated in the 2016 Living Blues Awards for the Most Outstanding Blues Singer. Vote online before July 15, 2016 at www.livingblues.com and click the VOTE button on the right. He is in some fine company - here are the nominees for Most Oustanding Blues Singer: Buddy Guy, Diunna Greenleaf, Otis Clay, John Nemeth, Irma Thomas, Joseph "Smokey" Holman, Wee Willie Walker, Mighty Sam McClain, Trudy Lynn, Johnny Rawls. Click here to view the full ballot.
pop-tinged “Embrace,” which Holman sings with the
feel of a Percy Sledge and on which Spadafora takes
a booting solo. The funky instrumental “Who Is This”
has some blistering trumpet from Woolverton (“Don’t
Give Up” is another track with superlative trumpet).
“Bullet” opens with atmospheric amplified muted
trumpet before Smokey sings about the four horseman
and fighting the fear and how a bullet took away his
last chance. Woolverton’s obligatos and solo set the
atmosphere while the spare backing also contributes
to this powerful, somber blues.
I just let the music soak in when I hear “Muse” and “Sweet Music” back to back. Both are bathed in a delicious old-skool Stax soul sound, reminiscent of the Mar-Keys. Optekar pours it on Steve Cropper-style, and of course, I can’t help but think of the Memphis Horns when Woolverton and Spadafora do their thing.