CD Review by
Chick Cavallero for The High Plains Blues Society
Buried My Blues in Chicago is the debut album for John Oliver and the Incoming Groove Band. The band gets its deep blues sound from founder and front man John Oliver, whose roots are from Chicago. They are homed in Colorado now but brought that Chicago tradition with them-their signature sound is soulful rock mixed with classic blues. They are a welcome addition to the Colorado blues scene.
This CD is a nice collection of Incoming Groove Band originals. There are 8 cuts, all written by John Oliver with lyrics by his wife, Mary Oliver. The CD captures their journey from Chicago roots to their Colorado home. They have a blues style that is easy to relate to, full of power and feeling and expresses every emotion one can experience in life.
There are two collections of musicians. The Chicago lineup had John Oliver on lead guitar and lead vocals, Guy Wadas on keyboard, Steve Quinn on drums, Jim Dodgen on bass, Mike Conley on rhythm guitar, and featured Jim (Griff) Griffin on harp. The current band, the Colorado lineup, has John Oliver on lead guitar and lead vocals, Steve Miller on keyboard, John (Jr) Oliver on drums and Rick Yale on bass.
Three of the songs Going Home, Leave me Alone and Way Down Low were written in 2014 and recorded with the Chicago lineup of Incoming Groove. Going Home opens the album and is pure get up and move Chicago Blues…with a whole lotta bounce and drive. The band plays off of each other with John, Griff and Guy (guitar, harp and piano) all taking turns at the forefront. Leave Me Alone is a real slow grinder that brings out the down and dirty blues of being in a back alley speakeasy and lets John show off some of his smooth blues guitar licks. Way Down Low is the closing cut and has some sweet interplay between John’s guitar, Guy on organ and Griff’s blistering harp. This is another hard-driving tune that you can’t sit still to.
The other 5 cuts Blindsided, No More Boxing Shadows, Betty Lou, This is My Neighborhood, and Bluffing Man Blues are performed by the current Incoming Groove, the Colorado group. All were written in 2020 except for Bluffing Man Blues which was written in 2014, and is classic Blues in the Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon style with a ton of sweet blues guitar that grabs you straight outta the gate and holds you the entire tune.
This Is My Neighborhood features the super smooth piano of Steve Miller trading licks with Oliver. Blindsided showcases John Oliver as being one of the most talented blues guitarists on the front range. His Chicago upbringing comes out in each cut of the CD, and on this one Steve Miller on piano is the perfect compliment. Betty Lou is blues with a juke joint feel to it. It’s dedicated to John Oliver’s mother, Betty Lou Oliver.
Start to finish, the CD features top notch vocals, a backline that keeps the groove going, keyboards that keep the soul sizzling and guitar solos that keep every note bending and bursting with the blues. Both configurations of Incoming Groove, former and present, are loaded with superb individual musicianship. Great guitar work and vocals from John and a supporting cast of seasoned pros make this a worthy addition to any blue’s fans collection.
Album will start streaming everywhere July 1st. Pre-release CD's available NOW. Supply is limited. Click button at top of this page to listen to samples or buy CD.