Todd Wolfe (vocals, all guitars, mandolin), Roger Voss (drums, percussion, and backing vocals), and Justine Gardner (bass and backing vocals) make up the Todd Wolfe band; and with help from John Ginty (organ and piano), Steve Guyger (harmonica), and Sweet Suzi (backing vocals) they deliver a powerful sonic experience with the release of ‘Miles To Go’. Todd has been making music for many years, and after years of working with notable artists like Carla Olson and Sheryl Crow, Todd’s own music stands up to the comparisons that many are bound to make. With a mix of Blues, Southern Rock, and even a little Soul; the eighth release by this band has me yearning to hear the earlier releases.
Starting with “Nothin’ But You” the band shows their Blues roots. It isn’t the straight sound, but the Rock infused sound and upbeat tempo show diversity right off the bat. For that real Bluesy feel the second track, “Sunnyvale” hits the sweet spot. With a little touch of Southern Rock this song will have the enthusiasts of the genre smiling from ear to ear, and the next track “Pocket Full Of Dreams” keeps the Bluesy goodness going.
Anybody that has read my reviews knows that in general I’m not a big fan of covers, especially if you’re going to tackle the greats. “Forty Four”, a cover of the Howlin’ Wolf classic, fires on all cylinders. The vocals are delivered with a rawness that is the essence of the early Blues, and the deliberate driving rhythm is simply perfect. Todd Wolfe and the rest of the band did Howlin’ Wolf proud on this one.
Things take a decidedly up tempo turn with “Day to Day”, which has a guitar line that sounds decidedly Country. To my ear the song “I Stand Alone” keeps that Country element, but at a much more sedate pace. The lyrics are very thoughtful and have a melancholy feel. The harmonies throughout are a nice counterpoint for Todd’s vocals. “Stay With Me Baby” is the one song on the CD that didn’t completely do it for me. While the music was that crunchy Blues that I’ve always gravitated towards, I personally would have preferred less of the harmony line vocally. It just seemed a little overpowering to my ear.
“Against the Wall” goes back the Rock sound with a deliberate drum line, and a nice electric guitar line, which is the perfect lead in for the Psychedelic feel of “Come What May”. The next to last track is just a great instrumental that showcases Todd’s prowess with a guitar. I have to say I dig the little hints of funk provided by the organ. “The Inner Light” leaves the listener feeling good. To me it continues the overall vibe of the song before it, and reminds me of the music my parents listened to that was all about being a better you.
Is this a true blue Blues release? No it isn’t. What ‘Miles To Go’ is though is a diverse musical journey. Even if you aren’t a fan of some of the elements Todd incorporates into his music, you’re left with a better appreciation of them. One listen and it’s easy to understand why his career to date has been as diverse as it has, and you can’t help but wonder where the road ahead will lead him.