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Steve Azar

Waitin' On Joe – 2002 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Steve Azar

It's been a long time since Steve Azar was heard from - a record at the failed River North label was the last time. But out of the shoot, the Mississippian is doing quite fine with a big hit single, but there is more than one catchy, but quality song on the full length.

Azar, who wrote every song, many with producer Rafe Van Hoy, shines on "Damn the Money." The acoustically-based song , in effect, the guitar player, the bank teller and the story teller to live the way they want without worrying about greenbacks. The bluesy title track makes you think good time music, but the reality is that it covers very sad turf about a brother waiting for Joe to show up to work. Until one day when he can't beat the mornin' train. Azar captures the necessary emotion. The bluesy/zydeco "One Good Reason Why" sounds good as well. Van Hoy's production is a bit bright and polished. A grittier sound probably would serve Azar better.

This is not a perfect album - a bit too contemporary sounding musically, but there's enough here to alleviate waitin' on Azar.