What is a degree? For most people it is an education of higher learning where people learn a profession in hopes of finding a successful career. Well, there is a gentleman who as aspired to do the same. His name is Sean Chambers and he is a student of the blues. His education was sublime. His professors were Howlin’ Wolf, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Gary Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Dan Toler and many others. To add to his education, Chambers did an internship touring for six years with the great Hubert Sumlin who studied Howlin Wolf who studied Jimmie Rodgers who studied……well you get the picture. Basically, this was Chambers’s “college education of music.”
The concrete outcome of Chamber’s education was astounding, being named by Guitarist Magazine as one of the top 50 blues guitarists of the 21st century. Today, Sean is spreading his music all across North America showing everyone his homework. And so it goes, Sean Chambers released his fifth album, “The Rock House Sessions.”
The Rock House Sessions is an album somewhat different than his other past projects. This album offers something different and unique. As Sean stated, “The Rock House Sessions has something for everyone.” The album is an incredible mix of pop rock, blues, with a bit of endearments. As you listen to the album, its fairly easy to pick out some of artists that he emulates. As Sean said, “I like covering other artist’s songs.” No doubt, this makes it harder to peg Sean with his eclectic style of blues. For Sean, that is a good thing.
When I listen to the first track, “World On Fire,” you can hear Sumlin and Wolf just oozing from this piece. Clearly, Sean is Sumlin, but one can’t help but think of Stevie Ray as you listen to Sean’s guitar licks. The first track definitely gets your attention.
As you finish the first piece, Sean sets you up on a musical roller coaster with “Since I’ve Been Down,” a driving rock sound with lots of energy. As you listen to the intro, it sounds like a cover for Ray Charles, “What I Say.” But then it takes off with a fast and smooth Freddie King sound. While listening, there is an added bonus with Reese Wynans, formerly with Stevie Ray Vaughan, on some cool keyboards. Wynans happen to produce “The Rock House Sessions,” and did a flawless job. No doubt, the house was really rocking on “Since I’ve Been Down.”
“Healing Ground,” another piece, is also somewhat unique and interesting. Written by Gary Nicholson and Kenny Greenberg, the lyrics seem to hint at some spiritual gospels. “They tell me if I believe, pull all the evil out of me, gonna set my soul free, down at the healing ground.“ The interesting part of the track is a woodwind harmonica sound as if a snake was wrapping itself around you. It really adds to the track.
The next track, “Meant To Be,” is one of Sean’s own. It’s here he really shines writing the piece in 45 minutes. Not bad considering “Splish Splash,” a major Bobby Darin hit was written in less than 20 minutes. Hopefully, Sean will have the same success. The song was written for his new wife, Karen. She even helped with the song writing as well as Reese Wynans. I really liked the line where he compares her to an angel. OK its a bit sappy, but sappy can be good sometimes. Sean states “it came from the heart,” and “it’s about real stuff.” Can’t argue with that, he is bigger than me. Seriously, the song is well produced with the piano keyboard part nicely done. It’s not a blues piece, but it adds flavor to this album. That is what makes, The Rock House Sessions so different with its variety. Another example is “Come To Poppa.” This piece takes me back to the wah wah sound of the 70’s. Listening to this number makes me think of Sly Stone covering the piece.
There are so many songs I would love to comment on but cannot. Honestly, this is an album you want to purchase. “Your Love Is My Disease,“ and “It Hurts To See You Go,” both are compositions by Sean. “Holding On,” a cover for a Gary Moore piece, was excellent. However, have to mention “Just For The Thrill.” by Gary Nicholson. This boogie sound of the blues is my favorite. As you listen to it, it feels like we are listening to a jam session with Sean, Hubert Sumlin, and Little Walter just doing what they do best.
The Rock House Sessions ends with Alvin Lee’s “Choo Choo Mama.” Its a great finish with its driving rock sound. The percussionist, Tom Hambridge is nothing but fine. Also, I have to give credit to TJ Klay who did an excellent job with the harmonica on this one as well as other tracks.
If you haven’t noticed by now, The Rock House Sessions is paying tribute to a number of blues artists. We call them artists because they produce works of art. The Rock House Sessions is a work of art. It has all of the attributes of great artists. The song writing and production were awesome, the studio musicians were excellent, and paying tribute to so many superb artists is such a great idea. Basically, this album is a bunch of great artists paying homage to a bunch of great artists. This is The Road House Sessions, and it is called the blues.