Artist: Levee Town
Album: Takin & Givin
Label: Levee Town Records
Release Date: 06/30/2016
I learned a thing or two while having a damn good time listening to Takin’ & Givin’. A blues band called Levee Town would have to hail from deep in the South, right? Wrong. Dead center Kansas City protects itself from the Missouri River with levees. Something else—while Levee Town bills themselves as “Kansas City’s power blues and soul trio,” that tag both describes them and sells them short. What sets this band apart lies in the natural nuance presented, second by second, song after song. Certainly, each and every blues here becomes bathed in soul as the album flows sweetly and lazily, or as mean and mightily as that hometown river of theirs during flood season.
Comprised of bassist/singer Jacque Garoutte, guitarist/singer Brandon Huspeth, and drummer Adam Hagerman, Levee Town presents one heck of a down-to-earth K.C. masterpiece with this, their sixth album. The title song gets it all off to a sauntering start, Garoutte singing of a lady that does all the takin’. Right away, with a smooth, atypical “woman done me wrong” song, the talent bundled up inside this trio surprises. Thick, funky bass lines and organ by guest Chris Hazelton carry the “High Flyin’ Mama,” but it’s here that one also gets a sense of the high flyin’ flair of Huspeth on guitar. His lines are woven in seamlessly, and are simply marvelous. “Kansas City Women” features the fine harp playing of another local, Mr. Jimmie Meade, on a low riding tip of the hat to the ladies, and then T-Bone Walker-like jazz underscores “Mr. Jameson,” their snappy tribute to the stuff that makes you feel so good, but then so damn bad. Another guest, the great Annie P. Annie Walser, shines on the ivories there.
Huspeth and Garoutte wrote nearly all the songs, save the poignant “I’m a Damn Good Time,” which I’m very happy to report shows up courtesy of the late, seriously underrated Okie guitarist Ace Moreland. The subtle roll of the song just fits the vibe of this fine, beautifully recorded album so perfectly. Nighthawks fans take note.