Cold Blue Water is a blues, rock and jam collaboration with Northern California guitarist Andy Bs at the helm. He conscripted some of the finest musicians from classic rock and blues to create a clean, classic sound and bring the energy of the best blues eras to 2014. Their first full album was released last month and combines the great talents of these musicians, all of whom have worked with some of the biggest names in music.
The first incarnation of Cold Blue Water performed in 2013 at the Mateel Summer Arts and Music Festival. Andy Bs then conscripted drummer Ty Dennis who has worked with the Doors of the 21st Century, a project began by former Doors members in 2002, keyboardist B. Swizlo, horns Don Hammerstedt and Russ Thallheimer, and bassist Brad Cummings for the band’s permanent lineup. While all the members of the band have their own impressive music pedigrees, the new album features a host of special guests. Among them is organist Mike Finnigan, who is famous for his work on the Hammond B-3 organ, worked with a host of classic rock and blues royalty such as Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills and Nash and most famously Bonnie Raitt.
Andy Bs has studied and played music since a very young age and plays multiple instruments, with his first instrument being bass guitar. Now, as lead guitarist of Cold Blue Water, Andy Bs sets a blues-heavy tone, and his guitar will remind listeners of Stevie Ray Vaughn but with a little more rock edge. To channel classic rock and blues even more, Andy Bs prefers to work with old equipment like vintage Les Paul guitars and old tube amps. The sound is very reminiscent of the classic blues and rock gods, and listeners will find a healthy dose of Vaughn as well as The Allman Brothers, early Hendrix and Led Zepplin in Cold Blue Water’s self-titled album.
The album is a relatively short offering with just five tracks, but many of them are over five minutes long with lots of improvisation and instrumental interludes. Songs like Catfish Blooz and Led Boots really capture Andy Bs’ southern roots both in his lyrics and in the classic blues composition of the tunes. The closing track, Blue Rain, however, may reflect some of the more psychedelic influence Andy Bs and the other band members have gained from being in Northern California, as it is almost all instrumental and the guitar and organ sound a bit like Phish, with a jam band/improvisational feel. Overall the album is fun and easy to listen to with lots of appeal for both blues and rock fans.
Cold Blue Water has been touring around California and the country since their inception in 2013. Now, in support of their new album, they are also becoming well-known for their covers. They recently performed Metallica’s Master of Puppets and The Allman Brothers’ Not My Cross to Bear at the Jambalaya festival in September, as well as other classics by Frank Zappa, Neil Diamond and Santana. This makes them a true jam band, and it appears crowds love their unique take on classic songs. The album and its original tracks should not be discounted, however, and it is available to stream on Cold Blue Water’s Reverbnation page, with some of the tracks currently available for free download. Fans of classic blues sound and fun jam band attitude will not want to pass up Cold Blue Water and their perfectly executed blues and rock fusion album.
Review by Layla Klamt