CD Review: C.B. Smith – Flesh And Bone

The new CD by C.B. Smith, Flesh and Bone is excellent. All the songs on the album are C.B.’s compositions.

C.B. has something to say about life’s ups and downs and he expertly creates the rhythm, melody, and words to convey each story.   I was immediately struck by the catchy rhythms he has created, and was amazed that each new cut presented me with another no less appealing than the last. Rhythmically there are no duds filling up this CD, each cut has a new groove that the band gets into. The core band, The Lucky Devils, is composed of C.B. on guitar, Matt Bowe on mandolin, Andy Bing on Dobro, and Chuck Jacobs on bass. C.B. does the lead singing but the rest of the band takes turns joining in harmony. Additionally there are a number of other musicians adding to one or another tracks including Bill Keith (banjo), Leslie Ritter (voice), Jane Scarpantoni (cello), and Fooch Fischetti (fiddle).

I also like the arrangements he has created. Here he uses the blend of various instruments and control of the timing to create anticipation and release to maximum effect. C.B. skillfully amplifies emotion from cut to cut as he will follow a sorrowful song by an up-tempo track that launches you out of the blues into a feeling of strength and action. I particularly like the transition from track 8 to 9. Track 8 is a pensive song called “Ronni’s Rainy Day” that has a flowing guitar/bass line, fine imagery created by the words, and then track 9 “Something “Bout a Train,”comes driving at you like a train, perfect!

“Ronni’s Rainy Day”

The musicians all play their parts with veteran skill. Matt Bowe tastefully punctuates throughout, but really shines on his solos, with clean clear picking peppered with blue and 7th notes that turn each solo into a statement to be proud of. Andy Bing demonstrates his mastery of the dobro throughout, adding the weep to the blues, and the up-tempo zip to the faster tunes. Behind it all is a pronounced, strong, well executed bass line. There is ample inter-play between the bass and rhythm guitar line, such that you get a really solid core for each tune, and an excellent foundation to build on.   I highly recommend this CD, but see for yourself; CB and the Lucky Devils will be performing a CD release show at the High Falls cafe on Sept 11th.

David Angell

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