Bursting with the sound of blues and gospel, Up Next is the newest album from the Joe Lewis Band. The ten-track release is the fourth album from the trio; comprised of Joe Lewis – lead guitar and vocals, Tom Cole – bass, and Derrick Enyard – drums. The album is a mixture of contemporary blues and gospel, flooded with familiar sounds of style and influence.
Joe Lewis Band hails from Missouri, although Lewis himself cut his teeth growing up about an hour outside New Orleans, in Picayune, Mississippi. It was there where Delta blues quickly formed his style. For Lewis, life’s pitfalls around the age of 25 led him to discover his purpose – bearing his soul within the music, while incorporating the message of the gospel.
Previous releases from the band were primarily gospel, however, Up Next, turns the dial up a notch with “fast” lyrics and heavy grooves, landing this album more on the contemporary side of blues. The album was mixed in Sydney, Australia by the legendary Kevin (The Caveman) Shirley, known for years of expertise working with Dream Theatre and Joe Bonamassa. Up Next, was mastered by the acclaimed, Bob Ludwig.
“I Like It,” is by far the hottest track on the album, with an intro similar to an up-tempo version of Gary Clark Jr.’s, “Bright Lights”. “I Like It,” is definitely the song to play again and again. Up Next, chronicles the life, love, and faith between Lewis and his wife; the first time he saw her, their first date, as well as the hardships of loss of family. Lewis beautifully slows it down in “Broken Angel of the Delta,” to commemorate the life his late sister-in-law. “Do Drop Inn,” takes the funk back up, closely followed by “Baby Rocks the Boat,” which has a highly recognizable Stevie Ray Vaughan taste to it. While a wide range of influences are easily noted track to track, Lewis’ vocals and technique present themselves as a testament to his versatility.
Released Feb. 26, Up Next, is garnering airplay and rank, charting across the Roots Music Report for multiple weeks in March, including Top 50 Contemporary Blues Albums.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– I Like It
– Hot Lovin’ Momma
– Broken Angel of the Delta
– Do Drop Inn
– Baby Rocks the Boat
The Big Hit
– I Like It