Live At Harvelle's

Jon Geiger

Independent release, 2023

REVIEW BY: Conrad Warre


Southern California blues-rock guitarist Jon Geiger hits the road, performing all over the state, and on the main stage at the 2023 Woodystock Blues Festival in Lake Havasu City. Geiger is also booked to perform at the New Blues Festival in Long Beach, California next September, 2024. 

Before exploring the Austin, Texas music scene, Geiger grew up in New York, where he became a brown belt in jiu jitsu just to make it home from school safely. Geiger won a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he took lessons from Hiram Bullock, who was known for playing jazz-funk and jazz fusion, and as an original member of “The World’s Most Dangerous Band,” the house band for Late Night with David Letterman. 

After studying at Berklee, Geiger moved to Austin and began working alongside Austin’s numerous great musicians while playing Antone’s and the myriad blues rooms of Texas. These days Geiger and his band are based in the Los Angeles music scene, where he has opened for Robben Ford, John Mayall, Charlie Sexton, Doyle Bramhall and Joe Ely, among other greats. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Geiger and his band released the album Live at Harvelle’s in October of 2023, a roaring collection of 13 rough-hewn blues rock tunes performed without overdubs or editing in front of a crowd at Harvelle’s venerable music venue in Santa Monica during the spring and summer of 2023. The shows were recorded direct to two-track, the way Chicago blues bands were recorded in the late ’50s and early ’60s, without any pretensions of sweetening or adjusting the waves of blistering guitar coming off the stage. Harvelle’s was established in 1931 on 4th Street and is the oldest music venue on the west side of Santa Monica. The album was produced by Geiger and Scott Gibson, recorded by Jon Criss, and engineered, mixed and mastered by Scott Gibson. The tunes range from the granite-hard Texas swing of “Bullet” and “Day To Day” to the quasi Robin Trower musical landscape of “I Dream.”

“Feeling Good” opens with solo guitar that best exemplifies Geiger’s “take no prisoners” hard-hitting humbucking aggressive distortion and is matched by a parallel vocal line leading to a ferocious descending chord structure, and hard-hitting bass guitar solo, followed by an almost be-bop passage from Geiger accompanied by just drums. “These Blues” is a stand-out track which wouldn’t suffer from a keyboard supporting the vocals between the solid guitar riffs and the chorus.    

The odd man out on the album is Geiger’s interesting take on the Bill Withers classic song “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The song was never completely finished by Withers, who reportedly composed it in response to watching the 1962 Blake Edwards movie Days Of Wine And Roses in which Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick play a couple trapped in alcoholism.

If you like your blues to feel like a punch in the face followed by a shot of Jack, this album will cure what ails you.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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