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Levi Parham

These American Blues – 2016 (Music Road)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Levi Parham

The third release from Oklahoma-based singer/songwriter Levi Parham is mostly rhythm and blues with elements of rock and country. Parham's soulful vocals drive the tunes with good results, particularly with effective ballads such as "Ain't the Man to Tell Ya So" and "Wrong Way To Hold A Man."

Perhaps the strongest ballad is "Waiting Game" in which Parham expresses modest expectations for the evening ahead ("Honey we can slow talk/You ain't gotta take your clothes off"). Another highlight is "Held In High Regard" in which Parham contemplates the quest for success as a musical performer ("Nobody gives a damn except you and me/Till everybody knows your name").

There are some good up-tempo moments as well such as "Back On Central Time" and "I'm Behind You." The opening title track is a pleasant bluesy rocker with a bit of social commentary on the prevalence of social media in modern society ("Ain't nobody out there but friends with fake names" and "So easy to find you babe/I read your profile").

Parham wrote all but 1 of the 13 tracks, the lone cover being an effective rendition of fellow Okie performer Wink Burcham's haunting "Chemical Train" about the hazards of drug abuse. The country blues of "Don't Care None (But I Used To)" provides some of the lighter moments ("Well I got me a job but ain't got cash/Any time I run I just fall on my ass").

Produced by Jimmy LaFave for the label he co-founded the musicianship is stellar throughout, in particular some hot guitar licks from the likes of Tim Easton, Phil Hurley and Seth Lee Jones (though the credits do not specify who plays on which track). After two previous self-released efforts, Parham proves with "These American Blues" to be a promising singer/songwriter.