TELL YOU WHAT
With the imprimatur of the late Texas legend Bugs Henderson and a last name reeking of blues cred, Jason Elmore has a lot to live up to on his second release. Well, tell you what! The latest in a long line of Texas blues guitar virtuosos is more than up to the task. An extraordinarily tasteful red hot picker, passionate singer and exceptional songwriter, he leads the house rocking Hoodoo Witch of Chris Waw (bass) and Mike Talbot (drums) through a heart pounding and heartfelt set of originals and choice covers, leaving the listener clamoring for more.
True to his heritage, Elmore kicks off the 12-track set with “Sharecropper Shuffle,” a roaring instrumental paying tribute to Freddie King, among other masters of the genre, while amply displaying his finely-tuned ear for melody. “Southbound,” a soaring blues-rock anthem, is all clanging heavyweight riffs, fret-melting solos and evocative lines like “The hell hound's forever on my trail. I keep the devil chasing his own tail. Such a long hard row to hoe. Heaven help such a tortured soul.” Dynamically throttling down, Elmore belts the bluesman’s classic lament with “I gave you money, the finest clothes in town. But when I need love, love, love you were nowhere to be found” on the R&B ballad “Cold Lonely Dawn,” his pain salved by his crying, sighing Telecaster. He next indulges his voracious musical appetite with authentic pedal steel-type licks on the toe-tapping country rock of “When the Sun Goes Down.”
The ominous grinding riffs of “Bottom Feeder,” with exotic “snake charmer” melodies, enhance his sneering growl cautioning a misguided individual, “If you sink much lower, you’ll wind up underground. You’re at the bottom, working your way down.” Fueled by Hendrix-y chord melody, the haunting minor key slow blues “Dirt Ain’t Enough” is a defiant defense against unjust figurative burial concluding with “Don’t let me hang, for a crime I never did. But if you shovel that dirt, upon my coffin lid, don’t put no pennies on my eyes.” Cleverly acknowledging the musical similarity to the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine,” Elmore turns Buck Owens’ classic honky tonk instrumental, “Buckaroo,” into a cross-genre tribute to the Buckaroos lead guitarist, Don Rich. Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher’s “Country Mile,” a ripping rush of energy, provides Elmore the welcome opportunity to shred with glee while featuring a stunning cameo by slide wizard Jim Suhler.
“Don’t Pass Me By,” an impassioned plea for love penned by the late, lamented Sean Costello, builds from a tender ballad to a lusty outpouring of yearning, Elmore flexing his limber vocal chops along with his six-string prowess. Like a coyote trotting through the sagebrush in the dark, he deftly negotiates the swinging minor key changes of “Good Foot” with silken jazzy licks, punctuating his toxic tale of betrayal with, “I won’t pitch my tent, underneath your poison tree.” Cool cat Texas swing informs the sassy “She Fine” as Elmore dances over the loping shuffle with jazzy lines like a 1940s zoot-suited bopper extolling the virtues of his main squeeze with hip lyrics such as “She’s like Superwoman, Lord, that girl is so fly.” Closing out the show with an Otis Redding classic, Elmore lays bare his vulnerability with natural soul on the Stax ballad “You Don’t Miss Your Water” while Kirby Kelley takes an extended, slithery lap steel solo.
Jason Elmore inhabits the blues in all its hues with burning intensity while standing out in a crowded field. Making every note played or sung count with unquestionable authority and unwavering dedication, he creates a visceral experience of uncompromising power.
Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism
Jason Elmore is a Dallas, TX-based guitarist/singer/songwriter that is turning heads in the blues/rock guitar world with his devastating guitar chops and searing old-school vocal style. Whether fronting his high-energy trio 'Hoodoo Witch' or performing as a solo acoustic act, Elmore is able to bring together elements of American music in his performances that seem to bridge the gap between blues, rock, soul, country, and jazz. He is remarkable in his ability to appeal to fans of all genres of music with his incendiary guitar licks, powerhouse vocals, keen sense of humor and imaginative-yet-familiar songwriting. All one needs to do is watch him play live one time in order to have a good understanding of how all these different genres of music have a common thread when it comes to eliciting an emotional response from the listener and taking them to that special place where only the music exists.
"My earliest recollection is my grandmother would spin a bunch of Elvis records," says Elmore. "She had stuff like Floyd Kramer and Nat King Cole. My dad would have me on the weekends, he had AC/DC and bands like that. I got into Stevie Ray Vaughan about 1990. I went through that phase real heavy. My dad saw I was interested in guitar blues so he started taking me out to see Jim Suhler, Mike Morgan, Bugs Henderson, Smokin' Joe Kubek and other local guys. I was about 8. That was it. I was poisoned. My dad still apologizes to this day. He thinks I might have had a respectable job by now if he hadn't taken me to all those shows. Every time I see him I tell him I'm so thankful he exposed me to all that live music."
Since 2008, he has fronted "Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch", a high-energy trio that blends jump blues, Texas rock, vintage soul/R&B, and country chicken pickin' that always maintains the essence of the blues while simultaneously offering a fresh take on the genre. The band is rounded out by Chris Waw on bass and Mike Talbot on drums and can be found playing a full evening of jump blues one night and all original hard classic-style rock the next, depending upon the venue. They released their debut CD "Upside Your Head" in 2010 to rave reviews as well as a long stint on the Texas Roots Music Airplay Charts. Their follow-up, "Tell You What" is set for a March 19, 2013 release on the Underworld label!
Jason Elmore is a master at his craft and is effectively able to cross genres and provide something that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their musical preference. This is definitely a performer you need to see live. His abilities as a guitar player, singer, and songwriter are second-to-none and his good humor and charisma turn fans into friends at every show. Bring a sweat rag and your rockin' shoes!