Drop The Hammer
Big Eye Records
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith is a native Chicagoan who learned the drums from his father the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. His father was the drummer for Muddy Waters for over eighteen years. Other drummers who inspired him were Odie Payne, Fred Below, Louie Bellson, S.P. Leary, Francis Clay, and Art Blakey. Smith has received eight Blues Music Award nominations as Best Instrumentalist – Drums; being nominated each year from 2009 thru 2015 and again in 2018. He is also a Grammy nominee for his work on 2009’s “Chicago Blues: A Living History”.
As a sideman Smith has played over 9500 live performances and is an in demand drummer appearing on albums by Mississippi Heat, The Cash Box Kings, Mud Morganfield, Bob Corritore, John Primer, Pinetop Perkins and countless others.
“Drop The Hammer” is Smith’s solo debut. The House Bumpers include Smith, drums and vocals; Billy Flynn, Ari Seder, Greg Guy or Guy King, guitar; Luca Chellini, keyboards; Omar Coleman or Sugar Blue, harmonica; and Felton Crews, bass. Background vocalists include Andrea Miologos, Dana Gordon, and Kimberly Johnson. Smith is also songwriter and producer.
“Head Pounder” features Flynn on both guitar and sitar, and Coleman on harp; Smith’s commanding vocal is over shadowed by his crafty production. “Hey Daddy” highlights the band and is a song that anyone who is a parent can relate to. On the chorus we hear Smith’s young children Mae, Clara, and Theodore. Smith is now the patriarch of this family which should be considered “blues royalty”. “Moment of Silence” is an instrumental baring emotions ranging from grief and anger, to final acceptance.
The title track “Drop The Hammer” uses modern sounds and technology; it is an example of what is sometimes referred to as “trance blues”. The theme on these and on the album in general is that the time has arrived for Smith to “Drop The Hammer”, “Pull The Trigger”, and “Let fly”. It is time for him to be bandleader; time for him to become the artist he is destined to be.
There will be “stones in his pass way”. Smith embraces life. He brings it on. This is a new beginning.