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Lately I’ve been receiving a fair number of albums, but most of them just didn’t excite me enough to write about. Most had one or two good songs on them, but just not enough to sustain the entire album.
Of course it didn’t help that within a seven day period I saw both Buddy Guy and Janiva Magness in concert, and aside from being able to put a check mark beside their names on my Blues Bucket List, it set the bar kind of high when it came to listening to these other artists.
I promise I will go back and reevaluate them soon.
In the meantime, I did receive an album, Driftin’ Heart, from Canadian Jason Buie, with whom I had no familiarity. We’ve been receiving some great artists from our contacts in Canada, so I was eager to dive in and see what Buie was all about. 
In case you were wondering, eh, that’s pronounced “a-boot.”
Aside from taking on the vocals and guitars, Buie put together an excellent group of musicians that include John Hunter on drums, George Fenn on bass, and Dave Webb on piano and Hammond B3. Rick Salt and Marisha Devoin added their vocals to House Party
Buie teamed up with Hunter to write seven of the disc’s thirteen songs. The others were written by Amos Milburn, Sue Foley, Jimmy Rogers, and Jesse May Robinson. 
Buie opens the album with a swinging number, Fool From The Start. I’m liking his soulful blues and Webb’s Hammond adds a nice touch. Buie takes a solid lead and so far, the man sounds like this could be the album to break me out of my funk and return me to my normal state. 
He follows up with another swinging up-tempo song, House Party. This is Amos Milburn’s tune and he does a good job with his interpretation. We’ve played several versions of this song in the past and Buie’s stacks up against them all. Sweet song, and he’s two for two.
Next up are a couple of tracks written by Buie and Hunter, starting with Government Man. It’s got a good hook but I’m not as crazy about the vocals effect he’s using. I know it’s designed to sound like it’s being filtered and mysterious, but it’s not my cup of tea. Still, the music is strong. Then Buie and the band launch into a quick number, Westcoast Daddy. It’s a raucous rockabilly blues number that gets your blood pumping and toes tapping. I love this one a lot and you better believe it’s going to appear on Time For The Blues shortly. 
I truly wish I could find a source for more Canadian material. It’s tricky to find some of these releases in the States, but once I locate a good source, I will be happy to share it with you. Of course, I’ll continue to add links to the artists’ websites. 
Canadian blues artist Sue Foley wrote the title track, Driftin’ Heart. Foley is a terrific player and I’m sad to say that I don’t have much of her work in my collection. This is delivered as a country blues song, and Buie croons his way through it nicely. Solid number all the way around.
Next up are several songs written by the Buie-Hunter tandem, starting with the 1950’s inspired Stay The Night. The song closely follows the set-up of several of those middle of the road rock songs that the Girl Groups would often sing. Then Buie unleashes a blistering guitar run and changes the focus. It’s a strong effort and a nice throwback number. 
Suits Me To A Tee opens with some strong guitar and Hammond music before Buie adds his gruff vocals to the mix. This is pure blues and he really delivers on the attitude. I really like this number a lot. Hope I can get it into a show soon. 
Next up is 12 O’clock Check Out, a song that could (and maybe should) be my theme song. Like many, I’m wired to be up all hours off the night, so getting out of a hotel by their normal check out time doesn’t always work for me. Fortunately, Buie has given voice – and guitar – to our frustrations. Oh yeah, this one is going on a show PDQ. 
He keeps rocking with Last Love Affair, the last song Buie and Hunter wrote for the album. It’s a punchy track, a good song to move an audience to get up on its collective feet and dance. I enjoy it a lot, plenty of blues mixed with rock and some cool piano from Webb that gives way to a killer guitar run. 
The last couple of songs are covers, beginning with his version of Jimmy Rogers’ You’re Sweet. Buie and company really rock this number and this is a song that should be getting some airplay. I love the way he turns Webb loose on the piano and the song has that gritty Chicago sound. 
He closes out with Jesse Mae Robinson’s Cold, Cold Feeling. It too, has that sweet old school sound and Buie does a great job with the lead guitar. This song has that great late night feel to it, with a singer standing behind the microphone and opening up all of his emotions. It’s a brave, bold move, and Buie gives it everything he’s got. It’s an impressive number and makes me want to hear more.
I know Buie has a couple of other albums that he’s released. For someone who was completely off my radar, he is now solidly on it and I can’t wait to get my hands on his previous work. Driftin’ Heart is a beautifully crafted album that mixes his own masterful songs with others that are well-known and they combine to make a blues album that just about everyone will enjoy. 
Buie has traveled the world, but I’m not sure when he’s going to be appearing around here. I’m going to check in with his website, to see where our paths might cross.

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