The Alexis P. Suter Band
“Love The Way You Roll”
American Showplace Music
On Labor Day weekend 2007, my wife and I drove to Woodstock, New York. Levon Helm had just released “Dirt Farmer” his comeback album. The ex-Band vocalist and drummer had recovered from surgery and regained full vocal powers. Opening for Helm at his Midnight Ramble was Alexis P. Suter. Although everyone came to see Helm it was impossible not to acknowledge Suter as a rising star. She wound up opening for Helm a total of 90 times.
Suter’s roots are in gospel and she possesses a powerful bass/baritone voice. When she opened for B. B. King, he remarked ‘It’s a rare thing to share the stage with great talent like that young lady.”
Suter’s first album was 2005’s “Shuga Fix” on the Hipbone label. Suter’s backup vocalist Vicki Bell and drummer Ray Grappone co-produced 2011’s “Two Sides” also on Hipbone. As a result, Suter received a 2012 nomination for Best Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year.
The new album is produced by the band and Ben Elliot. Elliot is co-owner of Showplace Studios in Dover, N.J. and has produced albums for Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, among many others. He has also recorded Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. Her band for this album includes Bell and Grappone; Peter Bennett, bass; and Jimmy Bennett, guitar. John Ginty guests on keyboards.
The album opens with “Nuthin’ in The World”. Suter’s deep baritone pairs nicely with Bennett’s rockin’ guitar. “25 years sitting in the jailhouse and I can’t raise no bail”; we’ve never heard Suter like this. “Big Mama gonna play with you, big mama gonna dance the blues”; Suter’s vocal timbre reminds me of Big Mama Thornton. This is especially true on “You Don’t Move Me No More”.
The title track “Love The Way You Roll” offers the drummer, Grappone, a chance to work out; the song ends with “rollin and a tumbling all night long”. I imagine the band metamorphosizing into a longer version of “Rollin and Tumblin” when performing live. The album closes with Suter singing a terrific version of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips”. This is kick ass stuff.
Suter has kicked it up a few notches. The Alexis P. Suter Band is one helluva blues rock band.