A person would never guess that Mick Kolassa was born and raised in Michigan. Listening to his music, more likely than not, this would never occur to them. Having lived in his beloved Mississippi for many years now, Kolassa fondly considers it his home. He loves the people, and of course, the music and its history. That love is reflected in his music as well.
As with all Kolassa’s albums, the production is spot on, the recording and sound quality are excellent, and the delicious mix really allows the music to shine. In addition to Kolassa on guitars and vocals, Jeff Jensen also plays guitars, Bill Ruffino plays bass, and James Cunningham plays skins. What would a blues party be without inviting killer guests? Joining the fun are Eric Huges on harp, Castro Coleman on guitar, Chris Stephenson and Victor Wainwright on keys. Colin John throws down on lap steel, baby sitar, and resonator and baritone guitars.
Any Mick Kolassa outing features great compositions, always performed with verve, joy, finesse. There’s always that feeling of being home, on the porch with friends, just playing music that makes us smile. Taylor Made Blues is no exception. Out on the Swing Suit Records label, this album features 12 tracks, running about 49 minutes. We enjoyed the entire record, but as is always the case, we did have favorites.
“I’m Getting Late” has a friendly Lonnie Mack feel to it that really suits the song. “Lungs” is a beautiful blues with a lot of depth and feeling. “Left Too Soon” is gloriously laid-back and Kolassa’s vocal is that little bit of extra goodness that makes this so seductive. Another favorite is the Temptations’ song, “Can’t Get Next to You,” presented here as a winning saloon style performance with bushels full of bawdiness! The tongue-in-cheek “My Hurry Done Broke” is a fabulously country flavored blues, showing off some fine pickin’ and playing by the band.
Aside from the wonderful music that Kolassa favors us with on his records, the net proceeds go to The Blues Foundation and the HART Fund and Generation Blues, equally split between the two. It’s just one way that he gives back generously to the blues community he so loves. “Those are two important causes for me. One hundred percent of the monies from my albums goes to those. So, anytime someone buys one of my records, I don’t get the money, the programs do. HART is an acronym for the Handy Artist Relief Trust, started by Mike Kappus of the Rosebud agency and he gave the first gift that started it. We cover healthcare and funeral expenses for blues artists and their families. Some artists have benefited from it…
Generation Blues is the other side of it. Generation Blues provides scholarships to young blues artists, to study with masters in certain programs, like the Pinetop Perkins Masterclass in Clarksdale. We cover scholarships for some students to go there. Our practice is that a hundred percent of the money that comes into Generation Blues goes out that same year in scholarships. So, the more money we get, the kids we send to these programs.”
We wholeheartedly recommend picking up a copy of the fun filled Taylor Made Blues. It has that homey blues-with-friends spirit you have been craving. Trust us friends, you want this one.
Taylor Made Blues
Tracks: 12 Tracks
Run Time: 49 Minutes
Label: Swing Suit Records