Percy Fairweather & The Storm
with The Winters Brothers Band
"Reign Of Blues"
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © October 2017
Percy Fairweather & The Storm and The Winters Brothers Band are quite an interesting conglomeration of musicians. They consist of members using fictitious names, overlapping members of different bands, family members and guest members as well. First of all, Percy Fairweather - on vocals and rhythm guitar - is actually a pseudonym for Dennis Winters and secondly, The Storm - on vocals, lead and slide guitar, bass, drums, and keys - is actually a pseudonym for Jamie LaRitz. Should you find those names to be recognizable it's most likely due to the facts that this Southern Rock duo has been touring together for over forty years and have played with every Southern Rock band from the Allman Brothers to ZZ Top, as well as with Blues greats that included Albert King, BB King, Freddie King, and more.
The rest of the band, family and guests are: Chad Booher on drums and percussion; Casey Winters on vocals and background vocals; Cody Winters, Carly Winters, Hannah Winters, Jason Pitts, "Trez", and Myles Clifton on background vocals; Dave Murphy on keys and background vocals; Matthew Randall on sax; Charles J. Reagan on trumpet; Joel "Taz" Gregorio and Phil Wolfe on B3; and Rick Brothers and T. J. Wilder on drums.
"Reign Of Blues" consists of twelve all original tracks and not to let the earlier reference to Southern Rock confuse you - they are all nothing but the blues. If there was ever a recording where I was impressed enough with each and every song to go straight down the list and write about them all, this would be it.
Using a phrase that sounds similar to one that was used on the 1950's TV show Name That Tune, I'm going to say that when the disc's opening track came on "I liked that song after only one note". "Baby Hates To Love Me" opens with Jamie laying down an incredible stinging guitar lead, and from that second on, and for the next seven minutes, there's no turning back. Once Dennis started belting out his soulfully emotional vocals, the band locked into a tight, slow blues groove and Jamie's scorching guitar leads continued throughout. I was in blues heaven. Right out of the gate, I'm giving this one my "this is song of the year material" compliment.
Almost like a continuation of the opening track, "When You Love Somebody", follows with five more minutes of the same intense vocals, same scalding guitar licks, same smoking rhythm and same impressive effect on me. Two songs in and I'm thinking I just heard some of the better traditional blues I've heard all year.
"One Fine Day" features Dennis singing his heart out on an a cappella performance. Saying this one took me to church would be a total understatement. This absolutely flawless performance stopped me in my tracks. As fulfilled as I was while listening, I suddenly felt as unfulfilled when it ended. Needing much more of this, instinctively - and repeatedly - the replay button became a factor.
"Feeling Low" is one of the more contemporary blues tracks. This rhythm fueled smoker is led by powerful performances from Phil on the B3 organ and Rick on the drums. Speaking of powerful performances, the tandem thing Jamie and Dennis have going on with the lead, slide and rhythm guitars is one, as well.
Inasmuch as I've been mesmerized by Dennis' vocal abilities I'm not at all disappointed that on "Lesson Learned", the lead vocals are turned over to his daughter Casey. As a matter of fact, Casey, along with the rest of Dennis' daughters - and their children as well - are all masterful on the very melodic lead and backup harmony vocals. This uptempo number also features Matthew and Charles spicing up the rhythm with some excellent sax and trumpet leads.
As a noun, the word "reign" is defined as a period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful. With that in mind, closing out the disc with its title track - "Reign Of Blues", seems so appropriate. For the last 70 minutes (much more after replays), it was both something - the Blues - and someone - the musicians involved - that were equally dominant and powerful. As others before it, this is nine more minutes of straight up, slow and smoking blues done just the way it's supposed to be done.
Other tracks on this outstanding release include: "One More Time", "Go With The Flow", "Heroes In Heaven", "Don't Get Me Started", "Killing Me", and "Dismal Creek". As a bonus track, not listed on the disc's packaging, a live performance of "One Fine Day" is played at the very end.
With the Blues Music Awards process now in progress, I'm thinking that if the band is lucky enough to get this disc submitted in time they may just be lucky enough to get themselves a nomination as well. There's a lot of good stuff here.
To find out more about Percy Fairweather and The Storm with The Winters Brothers Band and how to get a copy of "Reign Of Blues" just go towww.percyfairweatherandthestormwiththewintersbrothersband.com, search for their page on Facebook or just email direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. However it is you find them, please tell them that the Blewzzman sent you and that I thank them for coming into my musical life.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient