Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Sturdy Ground

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Count Bob Willett is another one of those numerous Detroit-area blues musicians who has been around the local scene for years and has the chops to prove it.

The thing is, it's getting hard for me to find different ways to emphasize how important it is to appreciate all the cats on the local scene without sounding repetitive, or like I'm just trying to be nice and supportive. The best thing I can say to get you to believe me is to pick up some of these CDs and have a listen for yourself. As this great effort by Willett proves once again — nobody has a damned thing on Detroit musicians.

I've heard Willett here and there in various jam sessions around the city and his virtuosity on guitar has always stood out over and above quite a few others out here — and there are quite a few others out here. His strength on both rhythm and lead is evident, and his solos are both thoughtful and melodic, not to mention technically masterful, but never in an overpowering, guitar-god kind of way. This isn't just the standard club sound, but something that showcases what a little experience and persistence can do. A good sense of humor, as is displayed on his cover of "Shaky Ground," doesn't hurt either.

But without a strong, musically diverse band like the Blues Devils to match the strengths of the band’s leader, this CD wouldn’t rise to the level that it does. Everyone who worked on this project should be proud. It was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait.

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More by Keith A. Owens

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