Stephen Foster is a major Southern talent. A super pianist and vocalist, Foster is also gifted with an extra pleasing singing voice and his arranging and producing are both top drawer. I had the pleasure of working with him on my own Southern Lights album, and was left dumbfounded by his skills. I knew Howl at the Blues was going to be killer before I played the first track, and boy howdy was I right.
Along with Jay Jernigan, Larry Hartsfield and Eddie Russell, Foster turns it up to eleven with “I’m Mad as Hell (And I’m Not Gonna Take it),” a song I believe 99 percent of us will identify with. Preach on, brother.
“Mama’s Goin’ Dancin’ When the Train Come Home” is an instant classic. It’s a great song that grabs ahold by the short hairs right out of the box.
While the whole album is great, there are a few tracks (besides the two mentioned above) that really stand out. “Middle Class Man” is a brilliant lyric, and just rocks. I could hear Gov’t Mule covering this one. “Cold Fever” may just be my favorite cut on the record. I just love it. Starting out with a Pink Floyd drum and guitar vibe, the song morphs into a mood altering heavy rocker. Awesome.
Howler can play the blues to be sure, but they do a hell of a lot more than that, blending Muscle Shoals sounds with semi-hard rock and British rock influence. All I can say is, check it out brothers and sisters.
-Michael Buffalo Smith