NIGHT BLUEMERS – Welcome Aboard The Midnight Train

Productions Gébé 2021

NIGHT BLUEMERS –
Welcome Aboard The Midnight Train

Intrepid adventurers from Trois-Rivières stoke up their locomotive and head for the love light.

Quebec is abuzz with blues, so collision and collusions between various artists are bound to happen, and this collective came to life as a result of such. Several veterans of local scene, led by Bill Beliveau, got together and, two decades later, produced a platter of steaming blues that’s able to make the ground shiver and shake. APRIL WINE’s Breen Leboeuf cowrote four of the album’s seven originals and lent his voice to two of these, although it’s three evergreens at the record’s end which allow the ensemble to let their grey hair down.

The group first shuffle through “You Got To Move” – passing the piece’s lines between singers and between rhythms, and adding funky fuel to the fire for Dawn Tyler Watson to show a lot of panache before organ licks oil the ground – and splash “Oh! Susanna” with tempered boogie, and reshaping “That’s All Right” into a loose slab of rock where swing reigns supreme. This finale will perfectly wrap up what the tight beats of “Poor Me” begin in a jazzy fashion, as Beliveau’s vocals and Pierre Verville’s ivories smooth the infectious picking of Christian Gamache’s guitar, until Hammond’s roaring riffs and a series of six-string solos roll “The Midnight Train” over the Booker T-patented tracks towards the bluesy bliss – and blizzard, too.

However, the calypso sway and swagger of “Take Me To The Other Side” are hot ‘n’ breezy enough, thanks to Coco Livernoche’s drums locking in with Jean Boudreau’s bass, to make the listener sweat, yet there’s a country chill in “Day And Night” whence a heavy, piano-washed and slider-oiled rumble emerges, while “My Old Blue Guitar” – namedropping the genre’s shakers and quoting its movers – has humor at the fore. And if “Dr Blues” sticks to its idiom with some style but keeps the drift relaxed, “Obey” pulls all the stops and grooves unreservedly. That’s the only way to go for this band who must arrive at the next station as soon as possible.

****1/2

January 27, 2022

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