New Blues: Victor Wainwright and The Train — ‘Memphis Loud’

Victor Wainwright and The Train — Memphis Loud
Label: Ruf Records

Release date: April 24, 2020

As the soon-to-be-released CDs pile up on my desk over the past few weeks, waiting to be heard and reviewed, I’ve been playing one over and over to muster up the energy to take on each new day. That album is the latest release by Victor Wainwright and The Train, titled Memphis Loud. It’s a trip well worth taking, and if you are so isloated that you can really crank up the volume, even better.

Featuring 12 songs, all written/co-written by Wainwright, Memphis Loud was co-produced by Victor Wainwright and Dave Gross. Joining Wainwright (vocals, piano, Hammond B3, electric piano) in the studio are THE TRAIN: Billy Dean (drums, percussion, vocals), Terrence Grayson (bass, vocals), Pat Harrington (guitar, vocals), Mark Earley (baritone sax, tenor sax & clarinet), Doug Woolverton (trumpet & flugelhorn) and Dave Gross (guitar, vocals, percussion).  Special guests on Memphis Loud include former ‘Train’ Greg Gumpel (guitar/vocals),  Reba Russell & Gracie Curran (vocals), Monster Mike Welch (guitar).

Even though I saved up a pile of scratch-off New York state lottery tickets when this whole pause began — allowing myself one a day to fight off any sense of impending boredom — there haven’t been many winners. Funny, how one doesn’t really notice that during the hustle and bustle of normal life. Still, since it’s the first task of the day, it is accompanied by a can of V8 and some really soothing blues by Victor Wainwright. These songs, whose essence is rooted in blues, jazz, rock ‘n’roll, and boogie-woogie, all push those genres forward, with a refreshing modern take. The music here stomps and sizzles, but it also breathes in a most restorative way.

Need a lift? Try track 5, “Disappear.” Whatever depths to which you have sunk, this song (and performance) will meet you there, fully justify your feelings, and, through pure blues honesty, heal things. For a while, at least. Highly recommended.

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