Behind the Mic is a Collection of Northwest Blues music

Music Review: Stocking Stuffer for Blues LoversBehind the Mic is a Collection of Northwest Blues music

By Curt Nichols, Guest Writer, 12-02-07 You never know what to expect from a compilation CD. Most of them have a spotty record (think of the music sold on late night TV) while others are very good.

As a casual blues fan and a Northwest native, a collection of Northwest blues music sounded promising. So I was eager to listen to “Behind the Mic.” However, when I first looked at the artists featured on this CDs 18 tunes, I didn’t recognize even one.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that The Heard was included. That’s right, Idaho’s own impure folk original songsters (as they like to call themselves) are part of “Behind the Mic” with a bluesy tune called “I Saw You” that’s also on their most recent CD, Bliss.”

Except for The Heard, the rest of the musicians were new to me. I’m more familiar with the blues scene in Oregon and Washington. What I heard on “Behind the Mic” was a strong indication that Idaho has a thriving blues scene of its own.

One high point on this Idaho-centric CD is “First Night Out.” It tells a (nearly) true story of the first night out on the town after moving to Twin Falls. The song opens with the lines, “The first night that I went out/I saw some things that made me shout/Made me wonder about what kind of place this was.” In this tune, Dr. Mambo sings, “There I stood in my tourist shirt/Out among the cowboys and the dirt/A city boy in a place I did not know.”

If you haven’t heard Bobby Lindstrom, his song, “Angels in the Kitchen” is a great introduction to his brand of blues – acoustic guitar and vocals. Shaun Cox Leonard’s vocals stand out on “Playin’ with Fire.” The live instrumental, “Skatewings,” showcases Ken Harris’s abilities on the Hammond B-3 organ.

Unlike the compilation CDs hawked on late night TV, this one is available in stores. “Behind the Mic” is on sale at the Record Exchange. If they happen to be sold out, contact the Boise Blues Society and order a copy directly from them.