Posted on: November 2, 2009 Posted by: Jay NeuFutur Comments: 1

“Sugar” is the opening salvo on “R-Me Strong”, and it immediately comes forth with a melody that will get toes tapping and fingers snapping. This introduction to “R-Me Strong” shows a band skilled enough to come forth with a style that is classic while making it approachable to fans that may be into newer styles of music. “I’m Your Man” is a track that exists at a number of crossroads, utilizing the same sort of blues that was first present in “Sugar”, but bringing in hints of eighties hard rock and classic country to the mix.

What results is a full track that has something for everyone, a veritable smorgasbord of approaches that shows the diversity of the constituent members of the Kris Heaton Blues Band. The eponymous track on “R-Me Strong” is a drinking song, through and through. The call and response style works well with the dirty guitars and honky-tonk backdrop that is laid by the rest of the band, while the vocals find enough time to even put a solid pro-Army message (at least, that’s how I see it). With three solid singles under their belt, the Kris Heaton Blues Band begins to experiment with subsequent tracks. “Shut Up” is a perfect example of this, where the band recreates some of the magic that was present in droves during Aerosmith’s 1987 magnum opus, Permanent Vacation. Far from just copying their formula, hints of Jackyl and even “New Jersey”-era Bon Jovi can be heard as well here.

“Dirty Mind” slows things down considerably, leaving listeners with a blues track that would work perfectly in the twenties and thirties. Whether it be the arrangement, the rhyme structure, or even the double meaning that listeners can take from the track, “Dirty Mind” may just be the most valuable of all the gems that can be found on “R-Me Strong”. “When Men Cry” is the final track on “R-Me Strong”, and the five and a half minute track gives the Kris Heaton Bleus Band enough time to craft something truly epic. The arrangements present during the track gradually bloom and expand to include all the nooks and crannies that were touched upon by the band during the rest of the album. Don’t let the “Blues Band” part of their moniker scare you, the Kris Heaton Blues Band is an eclectic band that can show detractors of the form the error of their ways.

Top Tracks: Sugar, R-Me Strong

Rating: 8.7/10

Kris Heaton Blues Band – R-Me Strong / 2009 Self / 13 Tracks /

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