Blizzard of Blues
South Blossom Records
Tommy Z hails from Western New York State. As a teenager his guitar influences included Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddie King and Buddy Guy. Tommy began entertaining our troops overseas as part of the USO/AFE in 2003. He has shared the stage with B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Jeff Healey, Buddy Guy, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and others. In 2004 Tommy won the Muddy Waters Award for Artist of The Year from the Blues Society of Western New York. He released his first studio recording “Universal Love” in 2005. Tommy was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
Tommy’s last studio recording was 2013’s “Sometimes” also on South Blossom Records. His tone and dynamics resulted in him receiving rave reviews. He has been called “a superior guitarist with unlimited potential”.
Tommy’s newest album “Blizzard of Blues” was just released February 5th. Many different styles are explored but the one constant throughout the recording is Tommy’s superior guitar work. The Tommy Z Band includes Tommy, guitars and vocals; Damone Jackson, drums; Jerry Livingston, Stanley Swampski, or Walter Riggo, bass; and Kevin Urso, organ.
Tommy opens with the first of eight new originals. The traditionally styled “Lovergirl” features harpist Jeremy Keyes and it sets the pace for what is to follow. “Going to a Party” has been chosen as the track recommended for airplay as it’s a real crowd pleaser. “Blues for KP” is a slow blues and a tribute to his late friend. Tommy’s “Miracle” is gospel influenced. On these Tommy also proves himself a fine vocalist.
Tommy includes two brilliant instrumentals; “Bags of Cool” features great organ from Urso, and the jazzy “Al’s Groove” could be used as part of the soundtrack for the next Pink Panther movie.
The only cover is “My Eyes (Keep Me in Trouble)” written by Herbert Walker and recorded by Muddy Waters in 1981.
Throughout the recording Tommy’s guitar playing reminds me of SRV but his tone and texture evoke a lyricism that compliments his fine songwriting. This is one of the best blues rock albums of the year.