REVIEW OF OUR LATEST CD In Another Bar

by GEORGE WILLETT of the SUNCOAST BLUES SOCIETY

LC Williams and the Driver

In Another Bar

Unable Music Group.com

 

LC Williams and the Driver are a breath of fresh air! They function as a duo, trio, or quartet...depending on the gig (and who else is available), and they are equally entertaining in any format.  LC Williams is a vocalist and "stand up" harmonica player, and "The Driver," Trent Souder, is also a vocalist as well as an electric guitarist.  Even in their duo guise they provide some high energy electric Blues.  For this outing they are backed by Suncoast "Rhythm Aces" Ben Jamin' Sudano on bass and Jim Mackey on drums...a nice tight quartet!

They come out with the pedal to the metal on track 1, "Let's Ride."  It comes right on with driving guitar and LC's unaffected vocal (she doesn't try to sound like an 80-year-old black woman).  There's a nice break where they do a guitar and harp duet too!

The Driver steps up to the mic on "Stop A While," and he's singing hard!  He does some great guitar work...and he doesn't try to sound like anybody else!  The harp solo on this one is reminiscent of Ivory Joe Hunter's "Since I Met You Baby."

Well, track five is a harp thing entitled..."Harp Thing"!  It starts out as a first-cousin to "Whammer-Jammer," but evolves into pure LC Williams...harp fans will love it!

There's a lot of talent (and energy) packed into the two folks!  If I was forced to compare LC's vocals to someone, I'd have to say Sue Foley...If Foley was a bad-ass harp player too.  Trent sings hard and plays guitar hard, that's why he's "the Driver."

I recommend you make a point of checking out LC Williams and the Driver...no, really, ask your local blues bar to give 'em a shot, they won't be sorry!

(Bye the bye, I have to thank Sarasota Slim for recommending LC Williams and the Driver, and for having them appear with his band from time to time).

 

 

 

 

 


REVIEW OF OUR LATEST CD BY:

Pete the Blewzzman
www.Mary4Music.com
2011 "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award Recipient
____________________________________________
L.C. Williams and the Driver
"In Another Bar"
self released
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro May 2016

 

LC Williams and the Driver are a four piece blues band from Maine who now spend a good share of time in Florida. "Snowbirds," as us Floridians would say. They consist, of course, of LC Williams on harp and vocals, with the members of The Driver being: Trent Souder on guitars and vocals, Ben Jam-in Sudano on bass, and Jim Mackey on drums. Any Maine-iacs reading this may remember that back in the day, the band started out as The Blood Orange Martinis...sure, I'll have one.

The bands' debut album is titled "In Another Bar,' and at a fast glance of the CD cover, those of us familiar with Beale Street in Memphis can probably name a dozen of those bars. The disc features twelve tracks of which eleven are originals penned by Trent Souder and Lauren Williams.

"Let's Ride" sounds like something Lauren might say to The Driver to kick off the song, but it's also the title of the disc's opening track. BTW, if it was indeed a command, the band delivered. The rhythm's hard driven, the guitar leads sizzle and Lauren is firing from both barrels with her blazing harp and powerful vocals.

Unlike above, "Stop Awhile" is not something the band's being told. On this one, the pace switches gears to a slower groove and the vocals switch over to Trent and a deeper sound. Being a more traditional style song, it includes killer blues guitar licks and smokin' harp leads.

"Missing Lester" is an intense instrumental with everyone right on the musical mark. Besides killing it on the bass and drums, the mix on this one is so good that it sounds like Ben and Jim are right there in the room with me; saying Trent's dazzling on the guitar is a gross understatement, and from what Lauren's blowing through the harp, I'm thinking this is what harmonica maestro Adam Gussow may have been listening to when he claimed that "LC Williams has the best tone of any female harp player I've ever heard." This one's the disc's replay special--I'm on number 6 right now.

With this next track I could easily tell you it's name and be able to forgo any further commentary. Although I won't, I'll keep it short and sweet and you'll get the point. Whammer Jammer had a baby and they named it "Harp Thing." End of story!

"Paradise" is another dynamite track. It's a five and a half minute track that's kind of broken down into several different parts. The first portion is all Lauren blowin' the hell out of the harp, and with the band in a killer groove behind her, I was actually hoping the song was an instrumental. Then she starts singing, and all of a sudden, with all of her style changes and vocal range, I was now happy it wasn't. The next portion is all Trent. With the rhythm guys never having left the pocket, he unleashes a lengthy assault on his ax which I also never wanted to end--that is until Lauren started belting it out once again and ultimately closing with a second harp attack. Wow!

"Let's Try Again" has somewhat of a nostalgic vibe to it. With its relaxed beat and Lauren's sultry, romantic mood inducing vocals, the slow dancers will be all over this one. Additionally, with Trent backing up his own stinging guitar leads with some equally good rhythm, it's one for the guitar lovers as well. 

Other tracks on "In Another Bar" include: "One Way Ticket," "This Was Nice," "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "In Another Bar," "Ain't Worried," and "Storm Clouds."

Although I'm not familiar with the blues scene up in Maine, I do know that it's thriving in Florida. With that said and from what I just heard, LC Williams and the Driver will soon be right in the thick of it.  

To learn more about the band, their website is the place to go....www.lcwilliamsandthedriver.com. As usual, you'll tell them it was the Blewzzman who sent you.
 
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
 
THE FOLLOWING IS A POST BY ADAM GUSSOW FROM HIS DIRTY-SOUTH BLUES HARP FORUM UNDER THE THREAD "BEST TONE I'VE HEARD FROM A WOMAN PLAYER":

I was hanging out on Beale Street last night, jamming at Mr. Handy's Place. A woman came up to me as I was getting down and said, "You probably don't remember me, but I once took a lesson from you." Her name was Lauren Williams and, to be honest, I couldn't quite place her, at least at first. She'd taken a one-off lesson about five years ago when she was visiting her mother in Memphis. (She lives in Maine.) Later yesterday evening, I came back to Handy's and she was on the bandstand. She was playing, as I had, directly through the PA, and she had the loudest mic, and it was clearly set up right for harp. The band was playing "Hoochie Coochie Man." She was playing first position. She had the best tone on that song of any female player I've ever heard. Ever. Period. Better than Annie Raines. Better than Cheryl Arena. Better than me. As big and juicy as Ronnie Shellist. She did nothing fancy. She's not a fast player. But she was smack in the pocket, she had the right tone, and she understood the power of repetition. I listened for about five minutes, then went around the corner and found Deak Harp, who is a tone monster. I dragged him back to the club and we sat down and she hit a note and Deak looked at me like "Whaaaaaaa?" Nothing that I've found on YouTube does her justice, but I'm telling you: she had it. Here's one clip. She's in a band called the Blood Orange Martinis. They didn't make it out of the quarterfinal round at the Handys, so she was hanging out and having fun. Deak got up after her, BTW, and blew hell out of a low F through the same rig. Again, this video doesn't begin to do justice to what I heard. But you'll also hear a player who effortlessly complements what's going on onstage. So there's something to be learned here, too.

Last Edited by kudzurunner on Jan 24, 2015 4:02 PM

The blues – not the drink – courtesy of Winterport trio the Blood Orange Martinis (NOW KNOWN AS L.C. WILLIAMS AND THE DRIVER)

 

The story of the Blood Orange Martinis, the Winterport-based blues trio that’s been playing in eastern Maine for the past few years, is as much a story of how guitarist Trent Souder and harmonica player Lauren Williams got together, as it is about three people that love that blues. It’s also a story about Winterport town manager Phil Pitula, who when he’s not running the town has been playing bass for area bands for more than a decade.

The band, which will play next at the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor on Friday, Sept. 6 and at the Big Easy at the Charles Inn in Bangor Friday, Sept. 13, is a labor of love. They’re also top notch blues musicians.

“We just love to play,” said Williams. “It’s pretty simple. That’s why we keep doing it.”

Souder and Williams met in California in the late 1980s. Souder, a Hampden native, had just finished up a stint in the Navy and was playing guitar in both rock and blues bands, and Williams, who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, had just finished college and was just starting to get into the blues.

“Trent was in a blues band, and the woman that was the singer had this fabulous CD library. I just fell in love,” said Williams. “I was flying by the seat of my pants with the harp. I was playing it with the wrong hand for the first two years.”

Eventually, Souder and Williams got married and in the early 1990s moved back to his home state of Maine, where they dabbled in playing here and there but hadn’t yet put together a serious band. Williams was still learning her instrument, and harp players like Lil Walter, King Wilson, Annie Raines and, in particular, Lester Butler, sealed the deal for her love of the blues.

“Hearing Lester Butler for the first time was one of those moments where I remember exactly where I was,” said Williams. “We were in Calais. It was like a training coming through. I didn’t know the harmonica could sound like that. I thought, ‘Even if I’m a middle-aged woman, that’s what I want to do.’”

By the mid-1990s, the pair were in a band called the Taildraggers; by the early 2000s, they had become blues duo Souder and Williams. Three years ago, they began playing with bassist Pitula and needed a new name. After a gig at the Charles Inn, they were tired of being asked what the new name might be. They looked up at the chalkboard above the bar with the nightly drink specials on it, and picked one at random.

“So, we’re the Blood Orange Martinis,” said Souder. “Yes, it’s probably a little silly. Sometimes people think we’re a drink and not a band and try to order it. But it’s distinctive.”

Another distinctive thing about the Blood Orange Martinis is that Souder plays the snare drum in addition to the guitar, giving them more oomph than an otherwise drummer-less band might normally have. Williams’ brash, gutsy harp playing and Pitula’s bass playing make them one of the best blues bands around.

“The music scene has been catching on the past few years, around these parts,” said Souder. “You have to work a little harder to get people to like the blues, but it comes in waves. We’re having a blast right now.”

 
Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.