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The Michael Louis Band's 'Morning Gasoline' is not 'Vanilla Plain'

If you like blues-rock then the Michael Louis Band’s Morning Gasoline will get you going. But first, for those not up on all their indie acts, the Michael Louis Band is a tuneful trio based in Brooklyn, New York. Their roster includes: Michael Louis (guitar and vocals), Andrei Sebastian (bass, keys and backing vocals) and Keith Crupi (drums).

The Michael Louis Band
The Michael Louis Band
All Images Courtesy of The Michael Louis Band
The Michael Louis Band
Courtesy of The Michael Louis Band

This 11-track album opens on the titular “Morning Gasoline” which intros the band’s signature sound complete with a touch of southern rock influence. It also features guest musician Chauncey Yearwood on the congas.

The second selection is “City Boy”. This seems to be a bit of a tuneful tip of the hat to New York City. Sure, a lyric like “you can take the boy out of the city/but you can’t take the city out of this boy” may not be groundbreaking but, hey, this is Sebastian’s tribute to the town from whence they came.

Speaking of tributes, “Makin’ Time” is a laid-back Louis composition for “the brothers from Macon, Georgia” as well as “a song about coming home”. Yearwood returns on the congas. It’s followed by “Late September” which, as advertised, is a “bluesy, mellow, introspective” ballad with a noteworthy guitar solo thrown in for good measure.

Next is an interesting cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” which is more Beck than Wonder. It’s less funk and soul and more rock and swampy blues. Covers work well to help new listeners feel more comfortable especially if a band adds its own touch without making the music unrecognizable.

“Flower That Blooms” follows. This is apparently an early favorite of fans and critics alike. It’s a rockin’ blues shuffle and works well for the band’s I.D. and M.O. The next number is the psychedelic blues bit titled “One Time”. It’s perhaps a bit too quickly followed by “Vanilla Plain” which features a nice underlying bass line.

“Tazer” is an instrumental that works well as an effective aural pallet cleanser. The tenth track is “Yes It’s Good For You” which is an exceptional, original cover of an old Willie Dixon ditty. Yearwood makes a final appearance for good measure.

The album end-note is the blues-tinged rocker “When You Used To Be Mine” which ties it all down as the closing cut. Overall, it is an eclectic blend of blues, New York attitude and Hendrix and Led Zeppelin influences. Should you check out The Michael Louis Band’s Morning Gasoline? Why, “Yes, It’s Good For You”.

My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.

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