When "Left For Dead", DUDLEY TAFT's debut album as a solo artist, first saw the light of day barely 18 months ago, it created a lasting impression. And now on his new CD, "Deep Deep Blue", the rocking bluesman opens the next chapter in his dynamic career.
Dudley, a direct descendant of the 27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft, it so happens, has left his beloved Seattle and gone to tranquil Chapel Hill, Orange County/North Carolina, to settle there with his wife Michelle and their two daughters. The reason is simple to understand: North Carolina is on the southeast coast of the United States and borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia in the north, and for a musician making a living as he does from performing on stage, Dudley has found much better conditions around there than he did in Seattle, which is some 90 miles from the Canadian frontier.
As to the music, Dudley still has a special place in his heart for his old homestead. Being the birthplace of Grunge, Seattle certainly made its mark on the singer/guitarist. In bands like SILENT WATER (signed to ATLANTIC) and SECOND COMING (on CAPITOL) he dedicated himself to Grunge and Post-Grunge respectively and those exclusively.
It was only after a chance encounter at record producer Tim Palmer's studio with rock legend Robert Plant of LED ZEPPELIN had pointed him in his future musical direction that Taft made his return to his real roots, the Blues.
With an irrepressible love for the work of FREDDIE "The Texas Cannonball" KING in his heart Dudley mixes his own very special blend of Blues, Rock, Texas Blues and Grunge elements into a musical brew best labeled with the definition "Seattle Blues".
It is a brew to which he has remained faithful on "Deep Deep Blue". His companion of many years, his bassist, John Kessler, has taken the producer's chair this time around. Scott Vogel, the drummer on "Left For Dead", is also to be heard on several tracks. He alternated with the former CRY FOR LOVE drummer, Jason Patterson, as well as Chris Leighton (ex-IRONHORSE) during the recording sessions. They were joined by Eric Robert (Jason Miller/MOBY GRAPE) who saw to adding extra musical color on keyboards.
Dudley and his compadres rock and blues their way through the material on "Deep Deep Blue", joyously demonstrating the fine art in their playing.
And it is a fair testimonial to say that this record definitely sounds like Dudley Taft. It is only his second solo offering and already the man has found his style -- you can recognize the guitar playing singer songwriter's signature everywhere. Even on the three cover songs, Bob Dylan's "Meet Me In Morning", "Sally Can't Dance" by Lou Reed and the rendition of Freddie King's "Palace Of The King", Taft sounds so much like Taft that these songs even seem to bear the marks of having been penned by the man himself. Evidently this artist's unique charisma has taken the lead with respect to the original songs and it lets the covered songs melt right into Taft's own rock blues universe, where such incredible feeling, tight songwriting, effortless playing and genuine distinctiveness get mixed together that it appears as though the whole band had imbibed this melange of Blues, Rock and Grunge along with their mothers' milk. Intense numbers like the title track "Deep Deep Blue" and "Shanks Akimbo" see Dudley Taft conjuring his idiosyncratic and fiercely independent magic with catchy riffs, inspired solos, and tough breaks to a no-nonsense beat.
In the 11 songs on "Deep Deep Blue", Dudley Taft delivers his genre's whole paradigm -- from cool Swamp via Shuffle Beat to stamping Texas Blues.