Summer is turning to fall, there is a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to change. That can mean only one thing, a new disc is coming out by Peter Veteska & Blues Train. Since returning from a long period of not playing and forming the band nearly 10 years ago, Peter has been a prolific writer and performer, and the blues community has been better off for it. His new collection, “Full Tilt,” includes a dozen cuts, eight of which are originals. He has again teamed up with Joe DeMaio at Shorefire Studios in Long Branch and uses many of the same musicians who have appeared on his last few outings with drummer Alex D’Agnese being the lone original band member.
The opening track, “Go Find Another Man,” literally jumps out of the speakers with his stinging opening guitars licks and Mikey Junior’s wailing harmonica. This high energy original is fueled with Jeff Levine’s B3 and anchored by the rhythm section of Coo Moe Jhee and Alex. Jen Barnes takes over the vocals on “I Wasn’t Wrong,” and nails it. Jeff and Peter trade solos with able support from Mike Scott on sax until Mikey chimes in with one of his patented solos. Another original, “Sad and Blue,” slows things down with Peter’s longing vocals and loneliness that you can feel in his playing; this song certainly lives up to the title. The Albert King classic “I Get Evil,” receives the full band treatment with horns and organ, including a tasty trumpet solo by Tony Perruso. “Pack of Lies” has Peter exposing an ex-lover whose specialty is deceit. Interestingly, this is the only song whose lyrics are printed on the CD jacket. Peter and Jen duet on the hard driving original, “2:00 in the Morning,” to great effect. The liner notes mention that the recording was done with a minimum of overdubs to give the songs a more spontaneously live feel, and nowhere is it more evident than on this and the following track, the Beatles cover, “One After 909.” Listening to the latter, I can visualize the band sitting around on stools and doing this great rendition between takes live.
Another original, “Take Back What You Own,” is a duet with Jen and features Jeff’s B3 driving the song over a great beat provided by Alex. Again this song has that live feel, courtesy of a terrific mix by Joe DeMaio. A solo piano opens the classic “Nobody Knows You” and Peter’s singing really caries this duet’s version. “Slow Down You Crazy Fool” opens with Peter’s languid guitar licks that offers some sage advice for people in this sped-up world. An excellent guitar solo towards the end punctuates this slow blues number. The pace picks up with Peter’s instrumental, “Man About Town,” as the guitar and sax play a great riff in unison, until Mike breaks out with his searing solo followed in succession by Jeff, Peter and Alex each taking a turn. It’s a hot number indeed. Things finish with a beautiful version of the classic “Merry Christmas Baby,” which the band did at our last Holiday Party.
This is another strong outing by Peter, the band, and his special guests. This is also one of the best-looking CD packages, with plenty of information and great pictures by Patti Martz. Overall, each release gets better, and if this disc gets the widespread play of “So far So Good,” the sky is the limit.