Having played with different groups and singers, for crowds of either 14000, 1400, or 14 drunks, blues guitarist Cliff Stevens has seen it all. After a couple of his songs (Wrong Thing and Crying My Heart Out) were released on Preservation Records’ 'Preservation Blues Review' to critical acclaim, he decided that was enough of a nudge to go out and do things on his own.
In the not so distant past Cliff Stevens mentioned “In my opinion Blues comes and goes in cycles. For some years it’s been on a bit of a down cycle, but that’s changing.” Encouraging that upward rebound is Stevens himself with the release of ‘Grass Won’t Grow’. Well known for his Eric Clapton tribute, Stevens doesn’t completely shed the persona on this recording but does so enough to put his mark on it and proves he can deliver the goods. Citing Albert King, Albert Collins, and Otis Rush as influences, he combines that history and adds his vision of contemporary blues resulting in a mish mash of songs that would please any fan of the genre.
Consisting of eleven tracks ‘Grass Won’t Grow’ goes from upbeat numbers like ‘Need You To Love Me’ with its slide fills and ‘Finger Swinging’ (which is exactly what is going on) to the haunting red room, shot of whiskey tunes ‘Crying My Heart Out’ and ‘All Through The Night’. The later tasting of an excellent flavor on the guitar solo and a stand out offering. Stevens gets the funk out on ‘Price You Pay’ and ‘I Know’ and you’ll be snapping your fingers when listening to the title track. My personal favorites are the acoustic backed ‘If I didn’t Love You’ and ‘Running' both with complimentary organ carrying the rhythm (which is actually the case throughout the album) ‘Running’ though is the one that hits it out of the ball park. Vaguely reminding me of George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ before moving onto its own with perfect vocal delivery and with a superb cello type guitar effect added mid-way through. I’ve been giving that one a workout with the rewind button.
Throughout the disk there is excellent clean guitar work. Grass may not be growing because of the heat radiating off of this CD. You’ll be giving it a fair share of spins.