Alabama Mike - Upset the Status Quo (2016)

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Alabama Mike - Upset the Status Quo (2016)

Artist:Alabama Mike
Title:Upset the Status Quo
Year Of Release:2016
Label:Michael Benjamin
Genre:Blues, Chicago Blues
Total Time:59:33
Total Size:147 Mb
WebSite:Album Preview

1. Upset the Status Quo
2. Identity Theft (feat. Jerry Jemmott, Jim Pugh, Derrick D'mar Martin & Bob Welsh)
3. Mississippi
4. Think (feat. Jim Pugh, Jerry Jemmott, Derrick D'mar Martin & Bob Welsh)
5. Can't Stay Here Long (feat. Jerry Jemmott, Jim Pugh, Derrick D'mar Martin & Bob Welsh)
6. Fight for Your Love
7. Restraining Order (feat. Jerry Jemmott, Jim Pugh, Derrick D'mar Martin & Bob Welsh)
8. Rock Me in Your Arms
9. SSI Blues
10. Somewhere Down the Line
11. God Is with You (feat. Jerry Jemmott, Jim Pugh, Derrick D'mar Martin & Bob Welsh)

Alabama Mike was nominated four years back by The Blues Foundation in Memphis as "Traditional Blues Male Artist." Although Charlie Musselwhite ended up taking home the trophy, the honor served to put Mike on the national blues map, as have two terrific CDs on his own Jukehouse label.

With Upset the Status Quo, his third solo disc, the Northern California blues wailer and his backing musicians -- made up of the cream of the area's blues session players, plus two visitors from Southern California: onetime Robert Cray keyboardist Jim Pugh and legendary bassist Jerry Jemmott, who was between gigs with Aretha Franklin -- take the blues in bold new directions while remaining steeped in tradition. The tunes - eight of the 11 from Mike's own pen - range from blues shuffles and ballads to funky soul grooves and a two-beat shout tempo straight out of church. Many of his lyrics cleverly address such contemporary concerns as social media, identity theft, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and restraining orders.

"When you write songs about real life, people really connect to that," Mike says. "The first thing that's gonna catch ‘em is the groove, and after that you tell a story and they'll get it. When the two are nailed together, you got something. You're touching the spirit then."

"Everybody's talking about, ‘Is the blues gonna survive?'" he adds. "The blues can't survive if everybody keeps doing the same old stuff that everybody else is doing."

By stepping outside the parameters that limit so much of today's blues, while still true to the genre's heart and soul, Mike certainly upsets the status quo with his vibrant new approach to the music, making it refreshingly relevant to life in the second decade of the 21 st Century.

--Lee Hildebrand, contributor to The San Francisco Chronicle and Living Blues

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