" Let The Music Rise "

Volker Strifler spent most of youth years in Heidelberg, Germany, and didn't start playing music until he was seventeen. According to Strifler's web site, Let The Music Rise is his fourth album, his first in six years, and his debut for the VizzTone label. All in all there are ten new original tunes authored by Strifler.

"Going To Brownsville" is a mix of slow funky blues with a second line backbeat. Strifler offers some tasty slide, sings well and uses the sax and trombone horn section smartly. The thumping "The Great Escape" is also well fueled by the horns and a driving drumbeat from Aaron Haggerty. Strifler travels the world on "Redemption" which has an unusual cross section of a Mexican sounding horn section with some Allman Brothers guitar playing that melds well. "Wait A Minute" is a rocking and shuffling blues that works well for the band, Strifler's slide and vocals. The title track starts off with just guitar and vocal, and then the band kicks in for a wild bluesy ride. Similarly "It's Getting Late" is introduced by Strifler's guitar and vocal, but when the band joins in, it's more mundane, this time with the horn section in tow. Heady guitar licks ensue on "Last Night I Had A Dream" which has a late night moody and smoky vibe, the horns add additional flavor to this somewhat adventurous tune, where there's also some creative keyboard work by (Chip) Roland Condon. Strifler evokes Robben Ford like guitar riffs on "When Daylight Comes." The country tinged instrumental "Hoogie Boogie" closes the album with Danny Gatton and Albert Lee styled playing.

Strifler's latest may not be for everyone, but well deserved kudos should be noted for the unique sounding band Strifler has crafted. There's not doubt about his talents, first and foremost as a solid guitarist, but also for carving out and creating a fresh take on blues based music. (Disclosure: Let The Music Rise is issued by the VizzTone Label Group, co-owned by Blues Revue's parent company, Visionation.)