Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jon Tiven: Yes I Ram

Jon Tiven has been strictly a behind-the-scenes guy as producer and songsmith (he’s contributed tunes to albums by Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jonny Lang and Robert Cray). On Yes I Ram (New West 6009; 54:36), Tiven steps comfortably into the spotlight, cranking out hot licks and greasy grooves with his working band, which also just completed work as the core band on Wilson Pickett’s first album in 12 years, It’s Harder Now. Treading a fine line between blues and soul with nostalgic nods to new wave (“Jessie”) and Stones-ish raunch ‘n’ roll (“Badmouth Mama”) along the way, Tiven brings a keen ear for pop production values to this versatile project. And like both Vince Converse and Popa Chubby, he isn’t afraid to stomp on the fuzz and wah-wah pedals when the mood strikes, as he boldly demonstrates on “All You Ever Give Me Is the Blues,” “Alcohol” and “Like a Radio.” The resulting album is smart, earthy, hooky and full of strong playing. Alan Merrill handles the vocals with gritty conviction. A host of guests includes Jim Carroll, Billy Squier, Felix Cavaliere, Michael Shrieve, Noel Redding, Syd Straw, Vernon Reid, Muzz Skillings and soul icon Sir Mack Rice.

Originally Published