A Jam With Reese And His Friends

Bruce Von Stiers

Keyboardist Reese Wynans jammed with Duane Allman and other founding members of the Allman Brothers Band. He toured and recorded with Boz Scaggs. And Reese was with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble for a while. Reese was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Double Trouble. He has also been a session musician and has played with artists such as Buddy Guy, John Mayall and Ana Popovic.

Early in 2019 Reese put out his first solo album. The album is listed as Reese Wynans and Friends. The title of the album is Sweet Release. It was released by Joe Bonamassa's label, J & R Adventures.

Joe Bonamassa was the producer for the album. This was his first try at producing an album. I'd say he did an excellent job. J.J. Blair engineered the album. His credits include albums by Melissa Etheridge, Kelly Clarkson and The Black Eyed Peas in addition to Rod Stewart, June Carter Cash and Bird York. Aside from mixing this album, Ed Cherney has worked on albums for the Rolling Stones, Michael Buble and Willie Nelson.

Each song on the album has a special meaning for Reese, as are the guest performers on the album. Chris Layton played the drums on several songs. He was a member of Double Trouble. Greg Morrow also played drums on some songs. He's been on albums by Amy Grant, Kenny Chesney and Joe Bonamassa. Lamar Carter has played drums on albums by Usher and Joss Stone. He's on drums for a couple of songs on this album.

On bass there was Tommy Shannon, Michael Rhodes and Travis Carlton. Tommy was a member of Double Trouble, Michael has worked with a huge cross-section of country artists along with Joe Bonamassa and Buddy Guy and Travis has played on albums by Steve Perry, John Nagle and Larry Carlton. Nashville session artist Steve Mackie played the fretless bass on one song.

On trumpet was Darrell Leonard. He's worked with Taj Mahal, Percy Sledge and did a little bit with Stevie Ray Vaughn. On saxophone was Joe Sublett. His work includes albums by The Rolling Stone and Eric Clapton. Lee Thornburg did some horn work on the album too. He's worked with Etta James and is a sometimes member of Tower of Power.

Other performers on the album include Paulie Cerra, Mike Farris ,Jack Pearson, Josh Smith, Doyle Bramhall II, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa and Keb' Mo'.

Those familiar with Stevie Ray Vaughan know that one of his trademark songs was Crossfire. Reese pays homage to Vaughan with his spot on rendition of the song. Sam Moore of Sam & Dave fame did the vocals on the song.

On the album's liner notes, Reese says that Say What! was usually the first or second song played at a live Stevie Ray Vaughan venue. This song shows the great talent Reese has on keys and he's helped out by Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

The album has a killer rendition of the Willie Mitchell song, That Driving Beat. Tough saxophone, cool drum and great guitar provide the background for the vocals by Mike Farris and Paulie Cerra. Mike fronted Double Trouble at one point. Paulie has worked with Rickie Lee Jones, Lionel Ritchie and Larry Carlton among other greats. Besides doing vocals on the song, Paulie also played the sax on it.

Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites wrote You're Killing My Love. Otis Rush recorded it and the song became an eventual hit. Doyle Bramhall II did a great job of emulating the vocals that Rush provided on the original song. Besides his touring and recording his own material, Doyle has collaborated with Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow and many other top artists. Mahlia Barnes, Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippins also provided vocals on the song. All three of these ladies have provided backing vocals on albums by Joe Bonamassa.

Reese worked with Boz Scaggs when Scaggs was first starting out. Of the songs that Scaggs had during that time, Sweet Release, was the one that is most memorable for Reese. He chose it for the title track for this album and had some amazing talent providing the vocals for it. Those vocalists were Jimmy Hall, Bonnie Bramlett, Warren Haynes and Paulie Cerra, along with Vince Gill and Mo' Keb'. It is a fantastic almost gospel sounding blues tune. Jade MacRae, Juanita Tippins and Mahlia Barnes provide choir styled vocals on the song as well. Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith played guitar on the song along with some great key work by Reese.

Doyle Bramhall II co-wrote Shape I'm In. It is a rollicking blues tune with come great keys and guitar and some fun, self-effacing lyrics. It features Kenny Wayne Shepherd on lead guitar and lead vocals. He's joined on lead vocals by Noah Hunt, who's the lead vocalist in Shepherd's band.

Reese had always thought that the song Hard To Be would be a great song for Bonnie and Delaney. He got Bonnie Bramlett teamed up with Jimmy Hall for a nice rendition of the song.

A really tough instrumental on the album is Riviera Paradise. It has some super cool keys and a subtle blues groove sound. There are fantastic guitar solos by both Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. There is a group called The Bova Orchestra that provides orchestration for the song.

A rocking blues sound can be heard in Take The Time. Gov't Mule founding member Warren Haynes did a nice job on the vocals for this Les Dudek song. He did a super cool guitar solo on the song as well.

Joe Bonamassa digs deep into the blues with his vocals on the Tampa Red song, So Much Trouble. Grammy winner Mike Henderson helps out the other musicians on harmonica. And Reese has a way cool piano solo on the song.

I've Got A Right To Be Blue is another Tampa Red song. This time it's just Reese on keys and Keb' Mo' on guitar and vocals. It's a blues tune with a lot of feeling.

Although I liked the entire album, Soul Island was probably my favorite. It is a super cool instrumental funk piece that was re-imagined from a song by one of the founding bands of funk music, The Meters.

The album closes with a beautiful piano solo by Reese of the great Lennon and McCartney song, Blackbird.

Reese Wynans has been part of many great music productions. From the Allman Brothers to Boz Scaggs to Stevie Ray Vaughan and beyond, Reese has played and recorded with some of the world's leading artists. Now, Reese has had a chance to shine, leading the way on this new album. Sweet Release is a fantastic way to showcase Reese's talents on the keys. And the artists that he has helping on the album are some of the best around.

Sweet Release can be found at most music retailers.

The official Reese Wynans web site is http://reesewynans.com/ Check it out to learn more about Reese. At the time of this writing, you can download a copy of the Crossfire single from the site.

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers