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Love Gamble (Self-Released)

Reviewed by Eric Steiner

I've listened to Love Gamble from Kankakee, Illinois' After Midnight Blues band four or five times, and each time, I've continued to be impressed with this sextet's original blues songwriting and competent playing. There are many, many under the radar cover bands that do outstanding blues work throughout the greater Chicagoland area; few have created discs of all-original material like After Midnight Blues.

Mark Simmons plays lead guitar and lends his considerable songwriting talent to nine of Love Gamble's ten consistent guitar-fueled cuts. Vocalist Karen Brault alternates between simmer, boogie and saucy on songs like "Blues for You" and "When My Baby Comes Home," and I hope that Love Gamble gets this band some new and welcomed regional attention at festivals throughout their local musical community. "When My Baby Comes Home" is my favorite cut off this disc, largely for Mark's expert noodling on lead guitar and the way Stan Allison and Jim Lindner powerfully move this song along on bass and drums.

I first discovered After Midnight Blues through my blues alter ego, Midwest Beat. Expect to hear more about the After Midnight Blues band on the pages and screens of Midwest BEAT and right here at Cosmik Debris. I'll be following their ascendant star throughout 2005, and I'd like to share some good news I received from Karen Brault herself: After Midnight Blues will perform at this year's Chicago Blues Festival on the Best Buy Showcase Stage June 9th from 3:00pm to 4:15pm. I hope that, over time, these guys will have a web presence so that more blues fans can discover their talent. As soon as the band lands on the web, I'll be among the first blues columnists to shout about it!

[To get this, contact the band at AFTER MIDNIGHT BLUES BAND, P.O Box 131, St. Anne, IL. 60964.]

© 2005 - Eric Steiner