Pearl River is this St. Louis native's second release on Electro Groove Records and it has a fine assortment of special guests sitting in that lend a real New Orleans blues/soul feel to the music. A few of the better known musicians are Cyril Neville who adds vocals on the title cut, Susan Cowsill vocals on Shoes Blues, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone accordion on Dead of the Night, and Anders Osborne contributes his vocals and acoustic guitar on One Step At A Time. There are other guests such as Reese Wynans on keyboards, Lynwood Slim on harmonica and he co-produced the disc, with David Z and Randy Chortkoff (also adds harmonica on one cut) doing the producing. But don't get sucked up in the names, it is Mike Zito's disc and he leads this aggregation in conjunction with his road tested band to make a very solid album.
On Pearl River Mr. Zito brings his guitar to the forefront of the mix and it is a very good move as his guitar playing has matured and he plays with a very good feel for the songs. He wrote, or co-wrote, nine of the 13 songs and the disc shows the care and technique he brings to this craft. His songs stand in there with songs by Sonny Boy Williamson and George Smith and there is the title cut he co-wrote with Cyril Neville; the songs he is writing are vehicles to convey emotions and not just guitar licks. He is someone who is making a mark in many ways, and when the marks are put together they show that he has a master's touch at putting together not only good songs, but also a cohesive disc that has real feel to it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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