Reviews and What They're Saying

Bman's Blues Report

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues On My Shoulders, from Peter Ward and it's quite good. Opening with solid shuffle, She Took It All, Peter Ward on guitar and lead vocal sets a great pace with Mudcat Ward on bass, Neil Gouvin on drums and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. Excellent opener. Surf rocker, Which Hazel, is a solid rocker along the lines of Chuck Berry with a strong surf twist. Clever lyrics and guitar riffs by Ward give this track a lot of gas. On title track, Blues On My Shoulders, Anthony Geraci adds nice piano and I particularly love the guitar work by Monster Mike Welch. Collaborate is all about lush chords and sassy sax and Ward's guitar work with Sax Gordon Beadle's sax work is just that. Excellent! Shuffle track, It's On Me is another outstanding entry on the release with a hot sax solo from Beadle and hot fingering from Ronnie Earl and Ward. Very nice. Southpaw is a hot number with a smoking B3 solo from Rusty Scott, solid bass work from George Dellomo, and hot guitar riffs by Ward.  One of my personal favorites on the release is jump track, Kansas City Blues featuring great vocals, a strong bass line by Joe Delia and really nice soloing by Ward. Wrapping the release is Drummin' Willie, about Willie Big Eyes Smith with Neil Gouvin on druma, Mudcat on bass and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. This is a strong release with a lot of cool surprises. Check it out. 

http://www.bmansbluesreport.com/2017/12/gandy-dancer-records-artist-peter-ward.html

BestofWNY.com

Peter Ward longtime New England area guitar ace and touring guitarist for Muddy Water's Legendary Blues Band has stepped forward with his first solo album titled Blues On My Shoulders a thirteen song collection. Some of the musicians helping out in the studio include former Roomful of Blues guitarist Ronnie Earl, harp player Sugar Ray Norcia, Anthony Geraci on piano, Sax Gordon Beadle on sax, Monster Mike Welch on guitar and Ward's own brother Mudcat Ward slapping the upright bass. Outstanding cuts include "She Took It All", the title track "Blues On My Shoulders", "Collaborate" with Sugar Ray handling vocal duties, "It's On Me" and a jazzy cover of the Jim Johnson chestnut "Kansas City Blues". A poignant moment comes in the form of the instrumental "Shiprock" Ward's ode to his late wife renown Boston blues DJ Mai Cramer who passed away from breast cancer in 2002. One other note about Ward, he spent a considerable amount of time playing with legendary Rochester guitarist Joe Beard in the late 70's in that city's clubs. For more information about Peter Ward and his album Blues On My Shoulders check out www.facebook.com/Peter-Ward-Electric-Blues

 

http://www.bestofwny.com/entertainment/

Jazz Weekly

Peter Ward delivers plenty of blues hues with a rotating crew of buddies which include Ronnie Earl/g, Sugar Ray Garcia/harp and Sax Gordon Beadle/sax as well as a rhythm team of Bob Berry-Joe Delia-Mudcat Ward/b, George Dellomo-NeilGouvin/dr,  Anthony Geraci-Rusty Scott/key and Monster Mike Welch/g.

The mix of boogie-ing guitar and harmonica meld well as the team shuffles on “She Took It All” and “Drummin’ Willie” while Ward delivers some Dick Dale licks on the Western Swinger “Which Hazel.” Scott’s Hammond oozes smoke on “Southpaw” and Earl taps into his inner Ventures with Beadle on “On the Ropes” while Ward takes you to the Delta swamp on “Colletta.” Ward’s strings clip of slick licks on “Shiprock” and produces a 60s feel on the twangy title track. This one’s a Strat Frat special.

http://www.jazzweekly.com/2017/12/peter-ward-blues-on-my-shoulders/

Living Blues Magazine

Aquarian Weekly

Blues Blast Magazine

Blues Blast Magazine – Nov. 9, 2017 

Peter Ward - Blues On My Shoulders

Gandy Dancer Records

13 songs - 51 minutes

www.facebook.com/Peter-Ward-Electric-Blues-528200010587280/

When New England-based singer-guitarist Peter "Hi-Fi" Ward decided to step into the limelight after decades playing in support of other musicians, he didn't mess around. He enlisted the aid of Ronnie Earl, a former roommate, Gordon "Sax Gordon" Beadle and Sugar Ray And The Bluetones, including his brother, bassist Michael "Madcat" Ward, to get the job done.

A native of Lewiston, Maine, he, Mudcat and younger brother Jeff played the blues in a family band as teenagers after schooling themselves with LPs and exposure to Muddy Waters, Taj Mahal, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells in concert. Still underage, he played bass behind legendary drummer Ola Dixon in New York before moving to Boston, where he backed several major touring artists, including Jimmy Rogers, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and Lowell Fulson. And he commuted on weekends to Rochester, N.Y., where he worked with guitarist Joe Beard, the man credited with influencing Son House to perform after going "missing" in the late '30s.

In the early '80s, Peter toured with the Legendary Blues Band in a lineup that included several of Muddy's former sidemen, appearing on their first two albums, Life Of Ease and Red Hot 'n' Blue. Always working, but in the background, he stages an annual fundraiser for breast cancer research in memory of his late wife, blues deejay Mai Cramer, with headliners who've included Lurrie Bell, Jody Williams and Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson. In 2010, he and Herb Remington, an original member of Bob Wills And The Texas Playboys, co-produced the album Goodbye Liza Jane: Hello Western Swing.

An avid, often humorous, songwriter and stylish guitarist, he's penned all but one of the 13 tunes on this disc, delivering a solid set of traditional, old-school blues in the process. Peter handles guitar and vocals backed by a rhythm section that includes Mudcat, Bob Berry and Joe Delia on bass and George Dellomo and the Bluetones' Neil Gouvin on drums. Neil's bandmates -- harp player/vocalist Sugar Ray Norcia, guitarist "Monster" Mike Welch and keyboard player Anthony Geraci -- all contribute on multiple cuts, as does Beadle. Eric Kilburn sits in on mandolin for one song, and Rusty Scott provides Hammond B3 organ on two others.

Ward's laid-back vocals play call-and-response with Norcia's harp to open "She Took It All," a steady-walking blues that describes a woman walking away with just about everything -- even his goldfish. But he insists he's not bothered at all. "Which Hazel" is up next and has nothing to do with the topical astringent. Instead, the medium-fast rocker, a tip of the hat to Chuck Berry, deals with a romantic interest in two women as different as night and day but sharing in the same name.

The feel continues for the title tune, "Blues On My Shoulders," with the distinct contributions from Welch and Norcia before Sugar Ray takes command of the mike to deliver the melodic slow blues "Collaborate," Peter's tribute to Lonnie Johnson and Robert Lockwood Jr., which is loaded with truly tasty, smooth lyrics that could have come straight out of the '50s and features stellar horn and harp solos.

The instrumental "Shiprock," a tribute to his late wife influenced by a trip they took to Navajo land, puts Ward's guitar skills on display before he questions "What Can I Do To You?" as a clerk just hired to work in a downtown store surrounded by beautiful female customers. Earl makes his distinctive first appearance for "It's On Me," a horn- and guitar-propelled promise to pick up the tab even though the singer has very little money.

The keyboard work of Scott is featured throughout the instrumental, "Southpaw," Peter's ode to lefthanded swing guitarist Dickie Thompson, before the slow blues, "A Little More," features a full arrangement featuring Monster Mike as Ward sings about realizing why his woman left -- because she always wanted more than he could deliver. Earl and Geraci trade licks on "On The Ropes," an instrumental with a Duane Eddy feel, before the acoustic "Colletta" recounts a bad marriage. An uptempo cover of Jim Johnson's familiar "Kansas City Blues" follows before "Drummin' Willie," Peter's aural slow-blues tribute to Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, who kept the rhythm for Muddy and Legendary and drove the band across country before fronting bands as a harp player, brings the CD to a close.

Available through Amazon, CDBaby and other retailers, Blues On My Shoulders is a pleasing taste of what music used to be before pyrotechnic guitarists took command of the airwaves. Strongly recommended for both its original material and musicianship throughout.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.

The Rock Doctor

 

Music Reviews by the Rock Doctor – Nov 4th, 2017

 

BLUES ON MY SHOULDERS Peter Ward (Gandy Dancer) ****

This is the first solo project for Boston-based guitarist Peter Ward, and it’s a beauty.  With an unhurried, improvisational style he picked up from his heroes in The Muddy Waters Blues Band, Ward has fashioned a casual masterpiece.

Blues On My Shoulders is a pretty easy going slice o’ blues that relies on loose playing from Peter as well as guests like former roommate Ronnie Earl on guitar, Sax Gordon Beadle on sax, and the guys from Sugar Ray & The Bluetones.  This disc has the feel of a bunch of guys gathering in the studio, just to see what might happen- coming out with an album almost as if by accident… though these songs and performances are intentional, it has that vibe.  It’s like Billy Gibbons once said when talking about the intro to La Grange; “The best things happen when you’re not paying attention.”

As a teenager growing up in Lewiston, Maine, Peter and his brother Michael listened intently to blues records and went to see Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal and Hubert Sumlin whenever they performed in the area, and I’m sure those guys would be pleased to know that Peter is carrying on their blues traditions in his own way.  “In the Big Apple, I was thrilled when Otis Rush told me I played chords like an old man” Ward remembers fondly.  In that way, Blues On My Shoulders is a record that straddles generations; though it just came out October 20th, it has that classic feel that makes all those classic old blues sides musically relevant today.

There’s something about the uncomplicated, unhurried vibe of this disc that reaches the soul, that makes me want to pick up my acoustic guitar and learn some blues- I think I will, and learn the chords as I go.  Though not as loaded with guitar firepower as the blues records I consistently rate this highly, Blues On My Shoulder is inspiring.

KEY CUTS:  Which Hazel, It’s On Me, Southpaw

 

donandsherylsblueslog

Growing up in Lewiston, Maine, guitarist Peter “Hi-Fi” Ward, and his bass-playing brother, Michael “Mudcat” Ward, absorbed all the blues recordings they could find, learning the licks and chord structures that would serve them thru a lifetime of music.  Peter often sat in with Ronnie Earl, and later toured with the Legendary Blues Band of Pinetop, Fuzz Jones,  Jerry Portnoy, and the backbeat of it all, Willie Smith.  They instilled in Peter an unhurried appreciation for the blues, as well as giving him some life experiences that could never be equaled.  Those influences are all over his latest for Gandy Dancer Records, “Blues On My Shoulders.”  Many of Peter’s old friends drop by for this party, including Monster Mike Welch, Sax Gordon Beadle, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray Norcia, Anthony Geraci, Neal Gouvin, and brother Michael.

The twelve original songs and one cover on this set capture the feeling Peter and Michael undoubtedly had during their formative  years listening to their heroes, and several styles are represented.  The set starts with a humorous ode to a lover who departed, and, sho’ nuff, “She Took It All,” even down to “my records, my CD’s, and my MP3’s!”  Sugar Ray lays down some cool harp, too.  Sugar takes the lead vocal on the jazzy “Collaborate,” with Gordon on sax, and features virtually every possible combination of words that rhyme with the song’s title.  “Shiprock” is a pastoral instrumental done in tribute to a region in Navajo country that Peter and his wife visited prior to her untimely passing from breast cancer in 2002.  Another jazzy instrumental is dedicated to swing guitarist Dickie Thompson, and is entitled “Southpaw.”  It features some mighty fine B-3 work from Rusty Scott, too.

We had two favorites, too.  Peter always enjoyed the music of Chuck Berry, and pays the ol’ duck-walker a nice tribute with the clever tale of twin sisters with the same first name but vastly different agendas, begging the musical question, “Which Hazel should I choose?”  And, Peter closes the set with the deep, slow-blues story of one of the greatest blues drummers ever, “Drummin’ Willie.”  This one details Peter’s time spent with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and the other members of the Legendary Blues Band, sung from the heart of a man who obviously had a lot of fun during this time in his life.

Peter “Hi-Fi” Ward has been concentrating on his songwriting of late, and the results are in the fine material that makes up “Blues On My Shoulders.” Add in excellent musicianship from all the players, and this is one fine collection, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

https://donandsherylsbluesblog.wordpress.com/

Midwest Record of Chicago

Some warm, winning stuff from a white boy with the blues that's been slinging his guitar for 40 years as a sideman and now steps out in to the light. With a bunch of leaders rounding out his crew, this is one sweetie of an after-hours set that brings the blues without bringing you down. Contemporary while being traditional, this is a set that'll get you paying attention and not wanting to miss a beat. 

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How nice to come home from a road trip to find Musicians Making the USPS Great Again! This time, it's Blues on My Shoulders, the new CD from New England's Peter Ward (his first, I think). I met Peter more than 30 years ago, in Ithaca, NY, when he performed there with the Legendary Blues Band. This CD is full of fine blues, with some side trips into rock and roll and other hip styles. Good stuff and sharp songwritng! 

"Killer disk!" WBRS-FM

"Warm, winning stuff from a white boy with the blues that's been slinging his guitar for 40 years as a sideman and now steps out in to the light. ... This is one sweetie of an after-hours set that brings the blues without bringing you down. Contemporary while being traditional, this is a set that'll get you paying attention and not wanting to miss a beat" —  Midwest Record of Chicago. 

 

 

"Wholeheartedly recommended"

"A veritable super session" — Mike Greenblatt, Aquarian Weekly, New Jersey.