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The Cash Box Kings from the album Oscar’s Motel
The Cash Box Kings from the album Oscar’s Motel available on Alligator Records (by Lee Zimmerman)
Unless it’s rendered with some sort of difference or distinction, the Blues can sometimes come across as a somewhat generic form of expression. In other words, it takes a specific approach to carve out an individual identity within those particular realms. The Cash Box Kings have made it their mission over the course of their collective career to do just that, and to a great extent they’ve succeeded. As a result, they’ve received a fair share of critical acclaim, including a Blues Blast Music Award for Traditional Blues Album of the Year for their album Black Toppin’ and two BMA nominations for the album that followed, 2015’s Holding Court, both in addition to the group’s nomination as Band of the Year.
Although the group takes their cue from a vintage Chicago Blues post-war style that dates back to ‘40s and ‘50s — with more than a hint of early 20th century Delta Blues besides — The Cash Box Kings also manage to inject a personal approach that helps to enhance their overall appeal. Led by singer, songwriter, and harmonica player, Joe Nosek, and singer/songwriter Oscar Wilson, the band also includes guitarist Billy Flynn, bassist John W. Lauler, drummer Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, and pianist Lee Kenehira. Together, they blend an abject devotion to the form with ample doses of their own humor and personality. It can get testy; a track on the new album tellingly-titled “I Can’t Stand You” reflects the discourse described by the name through a seemingly impromptu spoken exchange that’s amplified as contentious conversation.
Mostly though, The Cash Box Kings allow their revelry to spill over as rock-steady rhythms (as expressed in the title track and the Chuck Berry-like flourish of “Ride Santa Ride”) and songs that sound like they were drawn from vintage environs (a take on Muddy Waters’ “Please Have Mercy”, the slow, sprawling rhythm of “Nobody Called It the Blues”, and the swampy sounding “Pontiac Blues” provide prime examples). The band’s confidence and conviction are in ample evidence throughout, ensuring an added flair and finesse within the proceedings overall.
Ultimately, Oscar’s Motel provides The Cash Box Kings with yet another effort on which they can rest a storied reputation. Book a reservation. It’s a welcome refuge indeed. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of The Cash Box Kings from AMAZON
For more information head on over to The Cash Box Kings website
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