Saturday, July 19, 2014


If you want authenticity, Vest is the kind of blues guy who brings the real deal to the table. He's a boogie-woogie piano player with pedigree, who knows both the blues and early rock and roll styles inside out, being seasoned enough, and playing with some of Canada's best over the years. Vest learned his licks back in Alabama where he was born 71 years ago, but is now based in Victoria, B.C., where he plays with the likes of David Gogo, and wins Maple Blues Awards on his own.

For his latest, Vest has teamed up with Fathead's guitar player (Teddy Leonard), and Downchild's rhythm section (Gary Kendall on bass, Mike Fitzpatrick on drums). With a set full of originals (aside from two covers), Vest shows off several styles, including some barrelhouse, a little country and lots of piano-based storytelling. Streetcar is a number that could have come out of the Dirty Thirties saloons, while Freight Train Rolling is 50's Memphis. The weary-voiced Vest doesn't have a lot of range, so the story-song works best for him, plus you feel like you can believe everything he tells you, because he's seen it all.

He's really here to let his fingers do the talking, and hearing real piano played with that special boogie twinkle is a grand treat. The band is sharp and full behind him, and Leonard gets to chime in with some nice licks as well. These are veterans who know how to do it.

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