Taking It To The Streets
Gulf Coast Records
Back in St. Louis in the 1990’s Tony Campanella used to run with a guy by the name of Mike Zito. Campanella was from the northside and Zito from the southside but they were both Italian, Catholic and shared a love for the Blues and guitar. Campanella’s career was slowed down when he became a husband and father but he continued to play regularly in St. Louis and has long been considered one of the best guitarists in the city.
Almost forty years have past and Zito has earned eight Blues Music Award nominations including a 2018 win as “Blues Rock Artist of The Year”. Zito, along with his partner Guy Hale, is now also owner of Gulf Coast Records and a good judge of blues talent. He recently signed Campanella to his label. Zito states Campanella “has a new sense of purpose to his playing and a spark he felt when he was just a kid learning to play the guitar. Now is the time for Tony Campanella to shine, to bring his passion and soul to more people. St. Louis has known what a rare commodity it has in Tony for a long time, but now it will share him with the world. Tony is a virtuoso level guitarist with a big voice full of fire. He is a student of the Blues and a great ambassador of the history of St. Louis’ vibrant, historical music scene. Tony will be a big name on the national scene in the next years, and folks will talk about the ‘new’ guy.”
This new album from Campanella is produced by Zito and recorded at his MARZ Studio in Nederland, Texas. Campanella, guitar and vocals; is joined by the current members of The Mike Zito Band including Terry Dry, bass; Matt Johnson, drums; Lewis Stephens, keyboards; and Zito, rhythm and slide guitars.
Four songs are written by Campanella including “Pack It Up”; the evocative “One Foot In The Blues”; “You Don’t Know”, and the beautiful “Those Are The Times” that closes the recording. Besides being a proficient guitarist Campanella possesses a voice full of warmth and clarity.
The title track “Taking It To The Streets” opens the recording, written by Zito, it includes the lyric “gotta get out on the road”; while “Texas Chainsaw” and “My Motor’s Running” were co-written by Zito with his partner Hale.
Campanella also gives us four covers demonstrative of his love for the Blues. He breathes new life into both “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” and “Checking On My Baby” from Sonny Boy Williamson. Albert King’s “Finger On Your Trigger” is just wonderful; and Eddie Vinson’s “Mr. Cleanhead” is a great vehicle for the equally follicle challenged Campanella.
Guitarist Campanella and the MZB kick down the door on this break-out debut.