Mississippi Fever review – Don and Sheryl’s Blues Blog

“Today the temperature in Music City was a robust 92 degrees, but that ain’t nothin’ compared to the heat laid down in “300 Miles To Memphis” from Mississippi Fever!”

Being the guitarist in a blues power trio is a tough gig.  He has to have the chops to vary things night after night to keep things “fresh” and “real,” to quote the popular vernacular.  Mississippi Fever, outta St. Louis, has a stomp-down good ‘un at the helm in Brent Barker, along with bassist Ted May and his brother Tom on drums.  They have just released “300 Miles From Memphis,” a blistering set of eight originals and two covers that give Brent and the fellows room to lay down a hot groove.

You gotta love that wah-wah-infused guitar that leads off Brent’s Saturday-night-and-I’m-ready-to-rock anthem, “I Feel Like Superman, partyin’ from the bottom to the top!”  “Steal Away Your Love” has Brent lookin’ for a “partner in crime” to “break and enter your heart,” with piano from Rick Steff.  Brent gets his swagger on with the chunka-chunka strut of “I’m your Downtown Train,” and busts out the wah-wah again for a session from “the love doctor,” with a lady wearin’ that hot-lookin’ “Black Dress.”

Brandon Santini’s harp drives the freight-train beat of the title cut, referring to the distance between Memphis and St. Louis, and the fellows close the set with a buzzsaw cover of “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”

We had two favorites, too.  A lover who’s long gone is the subject of “Out All Night,” and Brent’s slow-burnin’ lead lines on this one make you feel his pain.  And, at the opposite end of the spectrum is Brent kicking off “Traveling Riverside Blues” with sweet acoustic work before blasting off into the stratosphere and singing ’bout those “women in Vicksburg, clean on up to Tennessee!”

Today the temperature in Music City was a robust 92 degrees, but that ain’t nothin’ compared tyo the heat laid down in “300 Miles To Memphis” from Mississippi Fever!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Original article

Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism, Reviews “300 Miles to Memphis” Album

“The electricity created by these guys is felt through their music.” BluesWax

Nothing challenges blues musicians like playing in a guitar, bass and drums trio. Fierce commitment, top chops and exceptional songs are required to keep the format fresh and enticing to an audience. Mississippi Fever from St. Louis proved their bona fides on their self-titled debut in 2010. Extraordinary singer/guitarist Brent Barker, virtuoso bassist Ted May and head snapping drummer Tom May have now taken their simmering power and pugnacity up a notch with their latest release.

Eight originals of love and lust plus two choice covers are augmented by Steve Grimes and Rick Steff (keyboards), and Brandon Santini (harmonica). The hypnotic, funky “I Feel Like Superman” casts a “voodoo chile” spell, Barker rocking his wah pedal, his passionate vocals seducing with “Get your body feeling free, come on here, sit down next to me. It’s time to liberate your mind. Let’s get it started, ain’t wasting no time. I feel like Superman with a master plan.” His genuine, unforced blues voice commands his throbbing shuffle interpretation of Robert Johnson’s salacious “Traveling Riverside Blues,” his solo twisting like a muddy road through the Delta. The minor key, smoothly shuffling “Steal Away Your Love” features the metaphorically poetic lyrics “Planning me a heist tonight baby, might need a partner in crime. Planning me a heist tonight baby, might need a partner in crime. So leave the door unlocked tonight baby, I’ll break and enter your heart” while Steff teases the ivories.

The dramatic, descending riff of “Downtown Train” adds heat to Barker’s braggadocio “’Cause I’m your downtown train, take me to your uptown lane (2x). I’m steady rolling all night long with my Muddy Waters on. Like a rolling stone from dusk till dawn, so girl come on.” Driving every tune like a heavy riff machine, Barker keeps “Till the Sunrise” pumping while exhorting “Ride on, my son, ride on until the sunrise comes” like a possibly autobiographical mantra. The hip-shaking “Black Dress” provides the proper funk for the lascivious masculine plea “They call me doctor, gonna cure your ill. You don’t know how good this can make you feel. Got your prescription, two times a day. I’m making house calls girl, I’m on my way.”

A consummate trio guitarist, Barker fills with chords, propulsive riffs and concise, yet expressive solos. On the slinky slow blues “Out All Night,” however, he totally hijacks the spotlight with strikingly emotive lead lines while baring his heartbreak with “Way back when I held her in my arms so tight. Now when I reach out to hold on that girl ain’t nowhere in sight.” The high stepping title track referencing the mileage between St. Louis and Memphis rolls and tumbles while Barker crows “Get me a job downtown and a woman, too (2x). Head down to Beale Street and I’m two for two” as Santini honks exuberantly on his harp. Barker confronts an evil paramour with “I’ve been mistreated, I don’t need no sympathy (2x). You done me wrong, standing high on sacred ground” on the funky, minor key “The Devil’s Got You Now,” his burning guitar fueling the damnation. An unaccompanied guitar intro with seamless licks and chords leads to a set closing, show-stopping, epic version of ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” the band grooving incessantly behind the fluid electric keyboard lines of Steff as Barker squeezes the neck of his Stratocaster until it screams in exultation.

If the blues of Brent Barker and the May brothers was a college course, it would lead to a graduate degree. Deep and wide as their namesake mighty river, it thrills, chills and provides sustenance for the soul.
Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism

New Album will be Released on April 3, Welcome Betsie Brown and Blind Racoon

Our new Album, 300 Miles to Memphis, will be released on April 3rd, 2015. This was a team effort which included our World Class Engineer Adam Hill (White Stripes, Jack White, George Thorogood) and guest artists Rick Steff (Lucero, Hank Williams Jr), Brandon Santini (rumored to be Jake and Elwood’s missing blues brother from Memphis!), Steve Grimes (Billy Peek). We had an absolute blast in Memphis making this record at Ardent Studios and plan to take our live show there soon.

We would also like to welcome Betsie Brown to the Mississippi Fever family! Betsie and Blind Racoon will be leading our media and PR strategy to support the release of the album. For all media requests please contact Betsie at, betsie@blindraccoon.com or 901.268.6065.

Click here for a free download of our original song, Downtown Train, and the song Traveling Riverside Blues

We are in the process of firming up our touring schedule so be sure to check back regularly. Here are links to our Slideshows on Youtube! Like us and tell us what you think!

Starting to Record “300 Miles to Memphis” at Ardent in Memphis

The band has been recording our new album “300 Miles to Memphis” at the world famous Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis, TN. Our engineer is Adam Hill (George Thorogood and the Destroyers, The White Stripes). We have guest appearances from Rick Steff of Lucero, Brandon Santini, and Steve Grimes. In 2015 expect Mississippi Fever to hit the road playing both National and International festivals. Check back frequently for free downloads and our tour schedule.