Big Mo sits high atop the rather limited pantheon of German-born, Paradise-based bluesmen. His local fan base is broad and enthusiastic, but he’s developed the chops that have spread his reputation far and wide, allowing him to draw avid audiences when he returns to tour his homeland where blues fans are as easy to find as they are here. I once had the pleasure of sitting in on an evening of rehearsal at Big Mo’s studio, and what was apparent then was that Mo and the band are engaged in a labor of love, love that’s in evidence on these 16 songs featuring a roster of solid local musicians. A few out-of-town ringers were also brought in, like Carlos Reyes on violin and the estimable Volker Strifler lending brilliant guitar support to Big Mo’s own impressive licks. If I had to pick a favorite here, it would probably be “Shall Time Only Tell,” featuring a really soulful Strifler guitar intro. I also liked the reggae-based “Caribbean,” and Reyes’ sweet violin on “Sway Me.” IMHO, the album would have been better if they’d dropped “Sunday Morning,” but that’s my only real complaint. You go, Mo.
Big Mo and band perform at a CD-release party Sunday, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m., at the Sierra Nevada Big Room.