The Aiken Rall Band’s latest release Back From The Blues is not your standard Blues record. It transcends a variety of textures and will leave you feeling haunted. The record is a collection of songs written by guitarist and vocalist Hal Akin and percussionist and vocalist Mitch Rall. The songwriting duo are joined by a fantastic support ensemble including a few of Destin Florida’s best musicians with Pip” Pippin on the piano, Michael Czapleski on the bass, as well as the late local treasure Mike Turner on keys for the track entitled RailYard. Back From The Blues is full of grit and longing but it celebrates the return of a lost soul who has found their way home.
The album begins with the title track, Back From the Blues. The song makes a bold entrance. I perceived this song as a declaration of returning from wicked darkness while conveying that a higher power always stands by the weak during times of doubt and insecurity. It is followed by songs that mostly adhere to a similar theme while telling the story through cleverly contrasting motifs.
One of the greatest attributes of Back From The Blues is the contrasting examples of how a well-equipped band can transition from a familiar blues groove to a heartfelt ballad effortlessly. This album packs in three ballads. My favorite ballad from the record is Crying Shame And A Sin. It exhibits a gracefully performed piano solo by Pippin and heartfelt vocals by Aiken. The song is reminiscent of The Beatles‘ Oh Darlin but has a flavor all its own. Of all the songs in the collection I found myself revisiting this one the most.
I also enjoyed Tin Roof another relaxed ballad that shifts to a softer mood. It features Mitch Rall on vocals and showcases cascading piano and dynamic vocal harmonies. Tonight is the most unique track. At first impression, I thought it was somewhat in the realm of Steely Dan. The song radiates towering choruses and paints a picture of anticipation and reunion.
Scene Of The Crime was my most favorite song on the album. It is brazen, and spirited. It also features a fantastic rhythm section and bone-chilling harmony vocals that will stay with you long after the last note fades away.
Back from the Blues was produced by Hal Aiken and Mitch Rall at Snapperhood Studios in Destin Florida. Each track is a memorable performance taking the listener from the darkness to the light. Be sure to catch The Aiken Rall Band live and order your copy of the release from AikenRallband.com Follow them on Facebook @AikenRallBand