My opening paragraph to this review was so obvious to me I felt almost ashamed to walk through the door. Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not, in 1871 it has long been rumored that Mrs. Catherine O’Leary’s cow was involved accidentally in some form or fashion in igniting the great Chicago fire. Now, follow me, that cow would have been living in a barn, which would make the cow one of the first barn burners in recorded US history. On into the modern era: the great Levon Helm, the Band drummer extraordinaire forms his own band “The Barnburners”. We are about there now: when Levon Helm wants to add a singer and front man, who does he hire? A recently discharged US Marine Chris O’Leary. (Thank you for your service, Chris!)
“7 Minutes Late” is the 5th solo release of the aforementioned O’Leary and brother this one will also burn a barn to the ground. After 25 or so years of writing, I learned long ago that a lot of these blues based rockers could play explosive guitar (or in this case harp) but their singing sounded like something being demolished as well. O’Leary to the contrary is a tremendous vocalist and I am already inserting his name into my list of top several vocalists in the genre. He also plays a mean harp, writes upper tier songs, and employs only the finest supporting players.
This CD is ALL outstanding material and enjoyable first and foremost because of O’Leary’s vocals. Yes the guitar work and the rhythm section is outstanding, great horns, the studio engineering spot on, the original songs well written but you will keep this CD in your player because of the voice. Like his voice, his song lyrics are earthy, genuine, emotional, and powerful. The title track is a song about betrayal, murder, and the ultimate punishment for crimes committed. It is also a great piece of music in which you can feel each section of the story as played out through O’Leary’s vocals. This is what music is supposed to be about by the way.
I genuinely liked all these tracks and it is hard to pick favorites, however I particularly enjoyed the New Orleans flavored “Circus Just Left Town” and raw and raucous “Bones” but if you like blues vocals and harp, you are going to love them all.
“7 Minutes Late” is available at a multitude of online locations and I encourage you to pick up a copy. Be sure to stop by and visit the band online at http://thechrisolearyband.net/.
My apologies to Mrs. O’Leary’s cow it was probably a case of mistaken identity.
1. What The Devil Made Me Do
2. Your Day Will Come
3. One More Chance At Love
4. Second Time Around
5. She Ain’t Coming Back
6. Circus Just Left Town
7. 7 Minutes Late
10. Heartbreak Waiting To Happen
11. Driving Me Crazy
12. Daddy’s Here
Chris O’Leary-Vocals, harp
Andrei Koribanics-Drums, percussion
Greg Gumpel-Guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
Jeremy Baum-Organ, piano
Andy Stahl-Tenor Sax, backing vocals
Chris Defrancesco-Baritone, alto, tenor sax, clarinet, backing vocals
Copyright 2018 American Showplace Music
Review copyright 2018 www.bluesrock.reviews