“Developing a Brand”

Richard Lud­merer, a con­tribut­ing edi­tor at BluesWax, the online weekly for the Blues Revue Mag­a­zine, says that the band’s sec­ond CD, “Wait­ing For The Phone To Ring,” is as excit­ing as their award-winning debut. In his words:

‘Chris O’Leary spent his early career as a vocal­ist with Levon Helm and The Barn­burn­ers. The Chris O’Leary Band’s first CD, Mr. Used To Be, was nom­i­nated for a Blues Music Award and was also a Blues Blast Awards win­ner for “Best New Artist Debut CD.” This fol­low up: Wait­ing For The Phone To Ring is equally exciting.

‘O’Leary, vocals and har­mon­ica, has put together a tal­ented band, includ­ing gui­tarist Chris Vitarello; Jeremy Baum on piano; the horn sec­tion of Andy Stahl, tenor sax and Chris DiFrancesco, bari­tone sax; and the rhythm sec­tion of Sean McCarthy, drums and Frank Ingrao on bass. Willa McCarthy is the back­ground vocalist.

‘On the open­ing track, “Give It,” pro­ducer Dave Gross pro­vides addi­tional per­cus­sion and helps to aug­ment the infec­tious beat. “With­out You” fea­tures a nice harp solo by O’Leary. Vitarello’s taste­ful gui­tar opens “Louisiana Woman.” “Pic­tures of You” fea­tures Baum’s piano.

‘O’ Leary is a soul­ful vocal­ist who also wrote all thir­teen of the album’s songs, and there isn’t a weak one here. Other high­lights include “Hole in My Head” and the title track, “Wait­ing for the Phone to Ring”, with the lyric “If I’m too low for your stan­dards, what say you lower your stan­dards.” “Ques­tions” and “His­tory” are two bits of New Orleans sec­ond line with addi­tional horns added mak­ing the over­all sound sim­i­lar to that of Room­ful of Blues. Dave Gross has quickly built a rep­u­ta­tion as a “first call” pro­ducer and he once again proves him­self here.

‘This is a thor­oughly enjoy­able album. I find it dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how good O’Leary might become as this is only his sec­ond record­ing. O’Leary’s future is bright; he is one worth watching.’

BluesWax Rat­ing: 8

Reprinted from http://bluesrevue.com/2012/09/chris-oleary-band-waiting-for-the-phone-to-ring-9–21-12/#

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