I’ll admit, I was drawn in by the name. “Willy and the Planks” echoed CCR’s “Willie and the Poor Boys” in my head and awoke my curiosity. But part of me was wondering what to expect from an unsigned blues band in 2017. I love blues music, and respect its role as the foundation of modern popular music, but it’s a genre that’s been mined extensively over the last century. That lemon’s been squeezed dried.
But I pressed play nonetheless, because the blues isn’t so much about the notes, with its basic 3 chord-progression and 6 note scale, but about how you play them. Few genres of music have allowed musicians to bare their souls as efficiently as the blues.
And I didn’t regret pressing play on the debut EP from “Willie and the Planks”. ‘Schooled by the Masters of North Mississippi and Polished in the Tennessee Tradition’, the band (Willy Gibbs (Guitar), Mark Noble (Vocal/Bass), and Chris Gibbs (Drums)) carries the torch proudly. The seven songs on the album drip with soul, heartache and pain, like any good blues should. They never fall into self-indulgence, and only rarely flirt with doodling.
The recording sounds crisp, with a “in the room” vibe, like you just walked in on the band’s rehearsal and grabbed a pair of headphones. The songwriting is mellow and atmospheric, the kind you turn down the lights and close your eyes for.
if you need a fix of blues, check out “Willy and the Planks”; they might have the cure for your blues.