Reese Wynans And Friends
Review by David Bowling
If ever an album and artist deserves commercial success; it is Sweet Release by Reese Wynans. He is a rock and blues artist that you probably have heard but may not recognize his name.
Wynans is a member of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame due to his membership in Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble. He has supported such stars as Buddy Guy, Martina McBride, Captain Beyond, John Mayall, Ana Popovic, and Jon Bonamassa among others. What he has not done in his 50 year old career is release a solo album, until now.
Sometimes it is the company you keep and for his new album Wynans draws on a number of artists from past associations. Jon Bonamassa produces and plays guitar and former Double Trouble bandmates Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton are on hand. Add in such luminaries as Sam Moore, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Warren Haynes, Vince Gill, Keb Mo, Doyle Bramhall II, Bonnie Bramlett, Jimmy Hall, and more, and you have the makings of one of the best rock/blues albums of the year so far.
The only song he co-wrote is a rocking blues track that is a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn. “Crossfire” features former Double Trouble band members Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon but it is the combination of Kenny Wayne Shepherds guitar, Wynans keyboards, and Sam Moore’s bluesy vocal that drives the track.
Three Stevie Ray penned songs are included. “Say What,” “Hard To Be,” and “Riviera Paradise” are a guitar connoisseur’s delight with Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, exchanging licks.
“Shape I’m In” and the Beatles “Blackbird” demonstrate different sides of Wynans approach. The first is a barrelhouse rocker that traces its roots to the blues. “Blackbird” is just Wynans and his piano. It can best be described and an improvisational jazz piece. It is a simplistic approach that is very different from the other tracks but may be a style he may want to explore in the future.
Reese Wynans has had half-a-century to prepare for his debut album and it was time well spent. Sweet Release is an excellent album by a veteran bluesman who has a lot of friends.