There are a lot of good harp players out there in the blues world right now, and it is really hard to stand above the crowd. Up and comer Brandon Santini is that player. He started playing harp at 15, and later moved to Memphis from North Carolina to learn and integrate different sounds and styles into his playing. He has made his bones playing the clubs on Beale Street, as did many masters before him.
This Time Another Year is a Brandon Santini showcase, simmering in places, and smoking in others. The album is mixed very well, and lets the music speak in a spirited voice. Production values are good as well, so nothing gets in the way of the music. Friends, this is some fine music too. The players on this album really impress: they are Brandon Santini – harmonica and vocals, Jeff Jensen – guitars and vocals, Bill Ruffino – bass, James Cunningham – drums, Victor Wainwright – piano, and Chris Stephenson on the organ.
This is a killer album! There are several standout cuts here. The fast moving opener “Got Good Lovin'” cooks with a rocking harp solo from Santini, and nice picking from Jenson on guitar. “This Time Another Year” is very restrained as Santini and company keep a tight lid on and let things build towards release. When release arrives, Santini unleashes some gritty, hardcore harp lines that are articulate and immaculate. Santini’s control and technique is admirable. “Late In The Evening” features some insanely good harp playing from Santini, and some fine string caresses from Jensen, complimented by the always stellar piano stylings of Victor Wainwright, who is just inspired and flawless here. “Things You Putting Down” is a sweet and slow Memphis soul outing that has Santini in fine form on vocals and harp, and again features a simple but righteous solo from Jensen on guitar.
The band’s playing is exceptional throughout the album, and they never fail to impress and draw the listener in. At 53 minutes, there is plenty of blues satisfaction in this package. Sit down, grab some BBQ, relax, and let Santini and company take you away.