Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Howard Glazer – Looking in the Mirror |Album Review

Howard Glazer – Looking in the Mirror |Album Review

Self-release through Lazy Brothers Records


12 tracks / 58:47

There is a lot of soul in Detroit, a city that has a hard time over the past few years, but Howard Glazer is a great representative of the Motor City as is passionate for the city as he plays his own brand blues. His efforts have been noticed and he is certainly appreciated in his homeland, having been inducted into the Michigan Blues Hall of Fame and earning the 2014 Outstanding Blues/R&B Instrumentalist at the Detroit Music Awards.

Howard’s sixth solo album, Looking in the Mirror, is a wonderful blend of blues, funk, psychedelic rock, and swamp rock. He handles the guitars and vocals, and is joined by a capable crew that includes Chris Brown on bass and Charles David Stuart behind the drum kit, with additional vocals from Maggie McCabe and Stephanie Johnson. After cranking it up, you will find an hour of quality music with twelve original tracks written by Glazer, and not a cover song in sight.

The CD kicks off with the bawdy “Midnight Postman,” a rhythm and blues song with a healthy injection of funk and some fabulous B-3 work from featured artist Larry Marek. Glazer has the guitar chores nailed with his intuitive feel for the fretboard, and the ladies do a marvelous job of backing up his tenor vocals as he throws double-entendres out like a madman.

As you get deeper into it you will find that this album keeps things lively, and a great example of this is “All I Ever Wanted,” a refreshing blend of Creedence Clearwater-inspired swamp rock, interjected with a neat chorus featuring the ladies, not to mention a classy bass and guitar bridge. This song highlights what a terrific backline Glazer has found with Brown and Stuart!

Howard’s thoughts never go too far from his hometown, as shown by the jaunty 12-bar shuffle, ”Walking in Detroit.” He trades off on the vocals with McCabe as they call out the finer parts of the city, with a little help from the tasty trumpet work of David Kocbus. But when this fun song is over, Glazer does not let you forget that Looking in the Mirror is a guitar-driven blues album. He viciously tears through the next tune the playlist, the slow-burning “Eviction Blues,” which could very well be the standout track of the CD.

A very close second place for best song on the album is “Feeling so Bad,” Howard’s tribute to the late Johnny Winter. Glazer brings out his resonator guitar, and his slide work is a real treat. This bare bones song provides another piece of the blues puzzle for this project, and with the rest of the instruments stripped away it is a great showcase for what this man can do with his guitar, and the effect is amazing.

The set closes out with “Emergency” and no matter what you were expecting, there was no way it could be as awesome as this song! This is an epic psychedelic swamp song with crazy wah-soaked guitar tone and some tasteful electric flute from guest artist Tom Schmaltz. You heard that right: electric flute! This is not shtick – it is a heavy song that digs into the woes of the once-proud industrial capital of the United States. This song exemplifies what Glazer has accomplished with this disc, as he pushes musical boundaries to their limits while still managing to keep things tasteful.

Looking in the Mirror is a fine album, and Howard Glazer should be proud of what he has done here -- there are not many better ways to spend an hour of your time! So, why don’t you head on over to www.howardglazer.com to check out his catalog and to find out if he has any shows coming up in your area?

Thanks for stopping by!

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