Webster’s defines “energy” as a “vigorous exertion of power”. Anyone who has seen the Bleu Edmondson Band live understands just how telling this definition truly is. With the band’s long-anticipated third release, One Voice: The Live Album, Bleu and the guys have managed to bottle this energy and have freely offered it to their fans in the form of a 12-song, 60 minute CD.
On the first cut of this collection, Bleu pays homage to his hometown and the legendary Jimmie Dale Gilmore with an electrifying cover of “Dallas“. “Dallas” starts with a hard-hitting 70-second drum solo mixed in with a very unique lead guitar solo carrying the listener straight from their iPod to the front row of Gruene Hall. This song alone perfectly captures the feel of a live show and hits with just as much vigor and exertion as live recordings by many of the Texas Music greats.
On the heels of “Dallas“, comes one of Bleu’s signature, original tunes: “The Band Plays On“. This is, without a doubt, one of the best songs the Red Dirt genre has given us and is definitely an excellent inclusion to the band’s live album.
“Gypsy Wild” follows and offers more upbeat Texas rock for Bleu’s fans. The studio version of this song is great, but the live version is just plain awesome. This tune perfectly showcases the talents of the entire band, from Bleu’s rich baritone vocals, to a screaming lead, powerful bass, and hard-hitting drums. As one of the album’s shortest cuts, this song almost begs to be replayed.
Bleu’s quintessential hell-raising anthem “Southland” comes up next. “Get up, get up, stand up in the Southland” is a call for the Mobsters to bring the house down. This is one of those many songs that Bleu has that you can remember every time you have heard it live. By the time this song ends, you are ready to make a road trip to the next BEB show.
Another Bleu original, “Travelin’ Man”, comes in next with some really strong acoustic guitar accompanied by Bleu’s soulful baritone vocals. This upbeat cut starts with a ton of energy and never lets up throughout the song. This song is full of exciting guitar riffs which seem to build in intensity as the song progresses and carries the listener full speed ahead into one of the album‘s slowest cuts.
“Good Thing” is one of Matt Powell’s finest songs. The most amazing thing about this tune is that it almost forces the listener to search inside themselves to find a way to relate to the song and the people and situations described in the lyrics. Many reviews of Bleu’s second album show this song as a fan favorite. The song gets better and better every time you hear it. This is the one-song that would be most noticeably missed if it was not included on the live album.
Bleu’s cover of Uncle Tupelo’s “I Got Drunk” follows. This is the shortest song on the album, but don’t let that scare you. This song is pure hard-rocking live barroom music at its finest. This is always a fun song live and this recording is impeccable.
“Little Bit Crazy”, another song from Bleu’s second album comes up next. From a vocal perspective, this song perfectly captures the passion that Bleu pours into every one of his performances. If you had one song to play for someone to try to make them understand what the Bleu Edmondson Band is all about, this would be that song. Very soulful lyrics, great guitar, and – as always – amazing drum work.
A pair of tunes from Bleu‘s first album prove to the listener that the Bleu Edmondson Band just keeps getting better. “It’s Alright” is introduced with a thrilling lead guitar solo and showcases some great background vocals. “What I Left Behind” is another one of those songs that shows the passion that Bleu puts into every song. He truly loves to sing this song and it really shows on this album.
The album’s most intense cut, “Finger on the Trigger“, is as Bleu often describes “a bad day song”. This cover of the Brandon Jenkins favorite is a rollercoaster all its own, starting slow with perfectly timed bass drum kicks followed by painful, heart wrenching lyrics. The song then explodes in a powerful chorus and one of the most amazing crescendos of emotion ever recorded by an artist in this genre. After building up the emotion, the songs slows back down and drops the listener off into Bleu’s well-known party anthem, “$50 and a Flask of Crown”.
The song that started it all is still, night after night, the most anticipated song the Bleu Edmondson Band performs. Every time you see this song performed live, you see four guys that are doing what they do not for fortune or fame, but just to share their love of music with the people who are fortunate enough to hear it. This song is an excellent finishing touch to the live album.
One Voice: The Live Album perfectly captures the energy, passion, and soul that the Bleu Edmondson Band pours into every one of their live shows. The album is an excellent blend of fast songs and slow songs, originals and covers. From the first drum beat of “Dallas” through the final cymbal crash of “$50 and a Flask of Crown”, the listener is carried on a musical journey that reminds them of shows past and leaves them looking forward to the shows of the future. The road is full of promise for the Bleu Edmondson Band and we can all be thankful that we get to share in all the good times to come.
CD Review by: BamaJason