Late in the Night
Over the course of the last two decades guitarist Rick Holmstrom has worked with some of the best blues harpists on the West Coast, beginning with William Clarke, with whom he spent three years. In 1994 he hooked up with Johnny Dyer and recorded a pair of well-received albums on the Black Top label, then joined Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers for a brief spell. Having served his “apprenticeship,” the genial plectrist was ready to strike out on his own—and did he ever! His records on Black Top and Tone-Cool showcased his remarkable talents, with 2002’s Hydraulic Groove being one of that year’s most innovative releases, combining his vintage playing with a variety of modern effects (i.e., samples and backwards guitars). Accompanied here by bassist Jeff Turmes and drummer Stephen Hodges, Holmstrom continues to stretch the boundaries of blues and rock with judicious use of reverb and echo. Highlights include the jump blues of “On the Vine” (“got a belly full of wine”), the Morphine-like vibe of “Descanso” (with Turmes on baritone sax) and “In the Night,” a relaxed ode to middle-of-the-night anguish. Great voice, killer guitar chops, terrific tunes—what more could you ask for?