7 Minutes Late

We are very proud to announce the release of our 5th CD 7 Min­utes Late on the Amer­i­can Show­place Label. It’s our finest work to date. Many of the songs that our fans have heard at our live shows over the past year are here as well as some brand new mate­r­i­al. We will be out tour­ing coast to coast and through out Europe and Cana­da in sup­port. Please come out and see us at a town near you.

Anoth­er stel­lar review of our new CD, Gonna Die Tryin’, appears in the lat­est issue of Big City Blues Mag­a­zine. Here’s the com­plete review:

2015 was a year that saw a num­ber of impres­sive har­mon­i­ca-led record­ings. For this writer’s mon­ey, Chris O’Leary stood at the head of the class. With a fat tome that some­times reminds of William Clarke, O’Leary is an excep­tion­al­ly impres­sive song­writer and vocal­ist, as well. He’s as steeped in real life as he is in poet­ic paint­ing. On the open­er, Can’t Help Your­self (“If you want to do it/ ahead and just say screw it.”) Chris Vitarello’s gui­tar is flu­id and sting­ing. O’Leary blows crys­tal clear harp. 19cents a day is a glimpse into the real­i­ty of war (“A pat on the back/HR will show you the door/when they fin­ish screwin’ dad they’ll send junior off to war/3 years in the guard he’s on tour num­ber 2 when it’s some­one else’s son it’s an easy thing to do/See we appre­ci­ate your ser­vice sir, but sir you’ve got to go … I’m sure they can help you down at the VA/where they fly Old Glo­ry proudly/for 19 cents a day”). Bruce Katz burns up the B3 on this. Hook Line and Sinker has a horn vamp (Andy Stahl, tenor sax and Chris DiFrancesco, bari­tone sax) that reminds of the Otis Redding/Carla Thomas tune Tramp. The gui­tar work is straight out of Mus­cle Shoals. O’Leary’s vocals are as strong as most any­one out there. Part Kim Wil­son, part Tad Robin­son. The title cut (“There’s gonna be some killin’ … /it’s a razor thin line between right­eous­ness and dyin’/ make your mind up quick or you’re gonna die tryin’/things ain’t men­tioned in polite conversation/one nation under god ain’t a lit­er­al trans­la­tion…”) is bril­liant.

Let­ters From Home is a slow blues writ­ten from a marine’s per­spec­tive. (“I’m ter­ri­fied and lonesome/about a thou­sand miles away from home/desert wind chills me to the bone/Mail call’s about the only thing keeps a man sane/in this god for­sak­en com­bat zone….I need your let­ters from home.” Again, Vitarello’s gui­tar work is impres­sive. The Dev­il Drove to Town in a V8 Ford is a work­out for every­one on board. O’Leary’s writ­ing, here as else­where on the disc, is as impres­sive as the best of Spring­steen or any oth­er acknowl­edged mas­ter. Emo­tive, cin­e­mat­ic. He sings, “Jesus said you got noth­ing for me/So be gone and tempt me no more/The Dev­il jumped into his coupe/and start­ed up that V8 Ford.” The Machine show­cas­es his excel­lent harp work while bemoan­ing the drudgery of get­ting by. Walk­ing Con­tra­dic­tion (“throw me to the wolves and just let it all go.”) is hard core Chica­go. Har­vest Time, with its piano, drum, bass, and horns is the sto­ry of a man steal­ing elec­tric­i­ty from his neigh­bors (“I got a two year plan to get me off the grid.”) and doing “some ille­gal agri­cul­ture when the sun goes down.” The addi­tion of back­ing vocal­ist Lib­by Cabel­lo gives it a cross between church and fes­ti­val. One More Sat­ur­day Night speaks to the fall­out from tour­ing (“I gave you all I had and you still walked away … the bad was pret­ty awful but the good was pret­ty great”) and spot­lights O’Leary’s pow­er­ful harp work. Every­thing works. Strong vocals, a com­mand of the lan­guage and mus­cu­lar harp work. Clear­ly one of the best releas­es of 2015. —Mark E. Gal­lo

Gonna Die Tryin'
Gonna Die Tryin’

“Chris O’Leary has a vocal style that could make a believ­er out of a devout athe­ist and a har­mon­i­ca style that will burn a hole straight through to the deep­est part of your heart.  There’s just some­thing in his deliv­ery that has the lis­ten­er hang­ing on every note and every word.  Sev­en years as a Marine and six years as a mem­ber of Lev­on Helm’s Barn­burn­ers are enough to con­vince the hard­ened skep­tic that this cat has paid his dues.  If that’s not enough, one lis­ten to this disc will dri­ve the point home.  A band as sol­id as the Rock of Gibral­tar back­ing his for­mi­da­ble skills is enough to get the point across that Chris O’Leary is 100% the real deal.  Back­ing him on this album are Chris Vitarel­lo on gui­tar, Andy Stahl and Chris Difrancesco on sax­o­phones, Matt Ray­mond on bass and Jay Devlin on drums.  Add the piano & organ work of Bruce Katz, Vin­nie Nobile on trom­bone, and Willa Pan­vi­ni McCarthy & Lib­by Cabel­lo on back­ground vocals…then add John Mooney as a spe­cial guest on gui­tar, and this tasty treat has the cher­ry on top.  The fact that O’Leary wrote all the music and lyrics for the album makes him all the more impres­sive.  As impres­sive a word­smith as he is a har­mon­i­ca play­er and vocal­ist, this cat is a threat on so many fronts that it’s not fun­ny.  This is one of the most impres­sive, sol­id blues albums I have heard in quite some time.  There are no gim­micks, no high-tech pyrotech­nics and absolute­ly no B.S. to be found, just a band pour­ing heart and soul into a per­for­mance.  This one is pow­er­ful and pas­sion­ate, strong as an old loco­mo­tive with a full head of steam and no desire to slow down.  This one gets my high­est rec­om­men­da­tion.  It belongs in the library of every blues lover…without ques­tion.  — Bill Wil­son”

http://chickenwilson2.blogspot.com/p/sept.html

You can pre­order the CD now at Amazon.com –it will be released on Sep­tem­ber 18th.

Blues Bis­cuits’ Jim Kanavy gives our new live CD, Live at Blues Now!, high marks in his review of the album, not­ing that “this is rock & roll blues at its best.” Here’s the full review:

“Chris O’Leary is the for­mer front man of Lev­on Helm’s Barn­burn­ers. The Chris O’Leary band was formed in 2007 around a tight group of road war­riors. Chris’ years spent with the Barn­burn­ers, back­ing up an eclec­tic mix of musi­cians at Lev­on Helm’s New Orleans club, and tour­ing the coun­try after­ward, turned him into a musi­cal medi­um. He chan­nels a mul­ti­tude of blues & soul styles author­i­ta­tive­ly. It’s hard to believe he grew up clos­er to Albany, New York than New Albany, Mis­sis­sip­pi. The blues pours out of his fuzz-drenched, raspy harp and his band is right there with him at every twist and turn. After two suc­cess­ful and acclaimed stu­dio albums, this red hot com­bo has unleashed a siz­zling live album.

Live At Blues Now! has tunes from both stu­dio albums and a groov­ing, bounc­ing ver­sion of Bil­ly Boy Arnold’s “Wish You Would.” Chris sings some of it through the harp mic and his vocals take on a Howl­in’ Wolf snarl. I was real­ly excit­ed to have a live ver­sion of “Tchoupi­toulas” (that’s “Chop-ih-too-liss” to you and me). If “Tchoupi­toulas” doesn’t get you mov­ing you may be dead. Have some­one take your pulse imme­di­ate­ly. Admin­is­ter mouth to mouth as desired. It should have you singing and danc­ing like you’re down at Tipitina’s with the sec­ond-line hot on your heels. The whole album, from the open­er “Give It” to the clos­er “His­to­ry” has incred­i­ble drum­ming. The beats are almost trib­al, churn­ing and chop­ping, like waves of the sea surg­ing and reced­ing, thrust­ing the band for­ward, reel­ing rock­ing in rhyth­mic ecsta­sy.

“On “Trou­ble,” spe­cial guest gui­tarist Alex Schultz rides the rhyth­mic waves like a man who’s con­quered the Pipeline. Chris O’Leary’s harp cuts through like a thrust­ing oar and keeps the band on course. The shim­mer­ing gui­tars of “Louisiana Woman” and lone­some harp con­jure a hoodoo mist across the bay­ou and “Water’s Risin’” swings, rocks and reels. This is rock & roll blues at its best, com­bin­ing gospel vocals, Chuck Berry rhythms, and duel­ing gui­tars into a spicy gum­bo of Amer­i­can music which pret­ty much encap­su­lates the Chris O’Leary Band. This band is the real deal. Bring the band into your liv­ing room, car, or bay­ou back porch with Live At Blues Now!”

[http://www.bluesbiscuits.com/2014/08/fresh-biscuits-friday-fast-five-cd-reviews-august-15–2014/]