The Blessings – Tomahawk Inn

January 01, 1970



It could be argued that the
true genius of the Rolling Stones was creating a style of rootsy, sexy rock ‘n’
roll that’s utterly timeless. When it’s done right, the Jagger/Richards method
of Chuck Berry-based sleaze and soul satisfies in a way no other music does. Strangely,
though, since the demise of the Faces and the decay of the Stones themselves,
very few artists still practice this indelible art, and you can count the
genuine greats amongst the current practitioners – Canada’s
Lions in the Street, Sweden’s
Diamond Dogs, England’s
Quireboys – on one hand.


Fortunately the Blessings
vault themselves into that rarified stratum with Tomahawk Inn. The band’s second LP finds it riding a familiar
slinky groove, but with a combination of mastery and enthusiasm that makes it
sound totally fresh. Guitarist Mike Gavigan’s slide-fueled riffs and solos duet
gracefully with harmonicat Jeremy White’s ragged sneer, while bassist Jamie
Zimlin and drummer Jason Upright shoot the rhythms straight to your hips. But
successfully revivifying the classic sound is only half the battle – the other
half is writing songs worthy of the challenge, and the band accomplishes that
handily. Both breathless rockers (“Twisted Little Heart,” “The Truth” “She
Thinks She Loves Me”) and midtempo groovers (“Yesterday’s Tears,” “So Hard to
Be Your Friend”) soar over the landscape in the band’s hands. Like the
Blessings’ stylistic godfathers, the group is also smart enough to step away
from the formula occasionally, as on the snaky blues of “Can’t Shake the
Devil,” the garage pop of “Shufflin’ Fool” and the aggressive country rock of


In a nutshell, the wheel
remains unaltered on Tomahawk Inn,
but the Blessings master the Stones groove so completely and perform it so
guilelessly that the album blows past derivative on its way to classic.



Hard to Be Your Friend” “She Thinks She Loves Me,” “Leavin'” MICHAEL TOLAND

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