Songs From The Road

Mike Zito & The Wheel

Ruf Records 2014

Review by David Bowling


One of the better ideas of 2014 is Ruf Records live series titled Songs From The Road. The approach is to record an artist in concert and then release a CD and DVD set of the performance. I recently reviewed the Dana Fuchs entry and now Mike Zito & The Wheel take center stage.

Zito, both as a member of the Royal Southern Brotherhood and as a solo artist, has  been a road warrior with several thousand live performances under his belt. He and his band pulled into the Dosey Doe in Woodlands, Texas, January 10, 2014, and the tape was rolling.

I own several of Zito’s studio albums but on stage he exudes a whole new level of energy and excitement. Joining him are sax player Jimmy Carpenter, bassist Scot Sutherland, keyboardist Lewis Stephens, and drummer Rob Lee. . Zito is many times an underrated guitarist but on stage he steps forward to demonstrate his skills. His interactions with Carpenter and Stephens tie everything together.

Whether it be on the funky, sax driven “Don’t Break A Leg,” the rocking “Greyhound,” the autobiographical “Rainbow Bridge,” or a tasty cover of “Little Red Corvette;” the music crackles and the band is tight.

If you truly want to know what a musician is all about, you need to experience his or her music live. Song From The Road allows one to see and hear the culmination of Mike Zito’s twenty plus years of experience.

Rating: ***1/2