Mike Zito is about to release his 14th Album, First Class Life, and in it, he celebrates two things: his rise above addiction and his absolute love for the blues. and he does ur in first-class style!
The album begins joyously with some amazing slide guitar and Zito enthusiastically singing about “Mississippi Music.” Them the mood moves into a gentle rock as Zito sings about his “second chance at living a first-class life.” It is honest and full of hope and gratitude.]
After that, to show some range, “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Trear Me” is an excursion into pure 70’s style soul.
“The World We Live In” is a world-weary Memphis-style blues with some fantastic guitar and ends with some good positive advice. Then comes a gem of a song written with Bernard Allison about Koko Taylor, for whom Allison used to play guitar, “Mama Don’t Like No Wah-wah.” becomes a delightful chance for the guitarists to show off.
Next comes something completely different, a song that will genuinely make your skin crawl while still showing no disrespect for the inhabitants down at “The Old Black Graveyard.” Like any great musician, Zito also knows exactly how to enhance the mood with the music.
Returning to the theme of gratitude,”Dying Day,” despite its sinister title, is a bouncy love song about Zito’s devotion to his wife. But then “Back Problems” is a slightly humorous look at that common medical condition.
“Time For A Change” is a straight-forward, rocking call for an answer to the problems of our day. “Damn Shame” returns us to traditional blues about the common blues topic of infidelity. masterfully done.
The album ends with a rocker that could have belonged to Carl Perkins or Little Richard back in the day, but now gives Zito and his band a chance t’o rave it up, “Trymg To Make A Living.”
From this album, you sense a profoundly grateful man doing what he does best and loving it, and you will love it too.
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