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Floorwalker by Sam Marshall Trio

This album falls into the category of experimental blues. Although the Sam Marshall Trio's all acoustic approach puts it on another shelf so to speak, comparisons could be made to Muddy Waters' groundbreaking Electric Mud album or Buddy Guy's masterpiece Sweet Tea.

The trio keeps the formula simple. The song structure rarely strays from a traditional I-IV-V blues, with drummer Collin Andresen dragging the proceedings into the 21st century with beats that cross Mississippi hill stomp with break-beat hip-hop. Marshall's guitar work is jazz inflected, but rooted in blues tradition and his voice and singing style recall John Fogerty. The use of an upright bass, played ably by Bennett Kling, ads even more of a jazz feel to the band's sound. If a criticism could be made of this album, it might be that the songs all sound very similar. As a composer, Marshall needs to follow his experimental muse and find a way to break out of the traditional blues song structure.

These types of experimentation don't occur enough in the blues genre. No doubt there will be critics of this band, blues "purists" who feel that the music is best left dawdling in the mid-20th century south. A close examination of blues history should show that it has always been about experimentation, all the while keeping one foot firmly entrenched in tradition, which is what this band does with Floorwalker.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Sam Marshall Trio
  • CD Title: Floorwalker
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Self released
  • Rating: Three Stars
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