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New singer, covers inspired new Roomful Of Blues album

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Roomful Of Blues usually tries to make a new album “every couple of years,” according to guitarist and group leader Chris Vachon. But the brassy eight-piece had a particular impetus — showing off new singer Phil Pemberton — on its new release, “Hook, Line and Sinker.”

“When Phil joined, I thought the first thing to do would be to get him on a recording,” says Vachon, 53. Pemberton — who joins a 35-year heritage that’s included Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl and Lou Ann Barton — “has got a great range,” Vachon says. “He can cover the whole span of all the stuff we’ve done.

“He actually played at Travis (Colby) our keyboardist’s wedding, and I thought, ‘Wow, what a great voice. We had about four guys we tried, but he wowed us all.”

When Roomful set out to make the album however, Vachon says the group “didn’t have a lot of time to write stuff.” So “Hook, Line and Sinker” is comprised of primarily covers, a dozen songs by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Floyd Dixon and others that were whittled down from a list of 88 compiled by the band members.

“We tend to do that kind of thing,” Vachon says of the covers concept. “We did that with (2003’s) ‘That’s Right!’ It was all covers of artists that we really dug. We could end up doing it again. We could probably put out 10 of those, just because there’s so much good stuff that hasn’t been recorded too much.”

Roomful Of Blues performs Friday, Feb. 18, at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $22. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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