Mark Selby’s Vanguard debut rocks. The opening track, threatening as it is, “Don’t You Throw That Mojo on Me” is about as houserockin’ as it gets. Selby’s claim to fame is a byline to the Dixie Chicks’s “There’s Your Trouble” and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s “Blue on Black,” but it really ought to be his chunky, funky, beer bottle raising guitar playing.
Born in Oklahoma, now residing in the gerbil-wheel hit factories of Nashville, Selby cranks out his own muddy sound on More Storms Comin’. Sometimes he’s a ferocious blues master, other times a sensitive two-step-and-sway crooner. Regardless, file this CD under blues-rock, not under country-pop. More Storms Comin’ is a CD informed by smoke-filled bars, blues music, electric guitars, minor and seventh chords, blind bluesmen, slick women, and though Selby doesn’t mention these, convertible Cadillacs. He lets blue notes fly and drives a mean boogie woogie, just as well as he melts somebody’s heart.
Most of his tracks come complete with piano tracks and female backups, giving his music a tone more reminiscent of 1970s rock and roll than late 1990s Nashville hits—a nice touch. Overall, Selby doesn’t cover any significantly new musical ground, but he could get any honky tonk completely on its feet. I am reminded here of another CD I reviewed last year, Eric Heatherly’s Swimming in Champagne. Both artists sweat in Nashville country pop mills and live to play a mean guitar at night. Heatherly’s music is distinctly more informed by Hank Williams and rockabilly than is Selby’s blues and boogie guitar, but putting these two barroom rockers together on a bill might just bring any roadhouse’s ceilings down. More Storms Comin’ is the return of the repressed from a musician stuck in an industry spewing musical garbage. As I have said about Eric Heatherly, drop everything if Selby comes to your town—and be sure to take the next day off from work!
// Notes from the Road
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