January 22, 2022

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Review: Do Right, Say Right by Mississippi MacDonald


Do Right, Say Right by Mississippi MacDonald, album cover

Mississippi MacDonald

By Mike O’Cull

Three-time British Blues Awards nominee Mississippi MacDonald puts down an energized and authentic set of soul-infused blues on his new record Do Right, Say Right. The album hits the bricks November 19th, 2021 on APM Records and contains one impressive performance after another from the London-based guitarist and vocalist. Produced by Phil Dearing at L Sound in London, Do Right, Say Right rocks nine new original MacDonald tracks that show off a high-level understanding of organic American music styles and the fluency needed to weave them together. MacDonald’s songs are expressive, creatively written, and not loaded down with cliches. He’s also a strong and genuine singer who puts his lines across with fervor and belief. Combine that voice with a bold and tasty guitar style and you get a winner every time.

Mississippi MacDonald has been building his name, fame, and brand in the blues business since his first album dropped in 2014. He’s created an ever-expanding body of work that shows him to be a consciously-evolving artist functioning within a roots music frame. MacDonald is backed by a tight and able band made up of Phil Dearing (keyboards and guitar), Elliot Boughen (bass), Mark Johnson-Brown (drums), and Lucy Dearing (backup vocals), a wonderful crew of musicians who seem to intuitively get the sound MM is after. He grew up as a blues kid in the Nirvana 90s and remains true to the music and his calling to play it in everything he does. His straightforward, unpretentious ways are refreshing and believable and deserve a prime spot in your regular rotation.

Do Right, Say Right opens with the convincingly penitent, horn-enhanced shuffle “I Was Wrong.” It’s a powerful song about someone who let go of someone they should’ve kept and realizes their mistake. MacDonald pleads his case through his lyrics and his open-hearted show of emotion builds up and propels the song well. His stinging guitar licks are sweet and lowdown and he executes them with a vintage tone that fits the arrangement like a pair of snakeskin shoes. Right away, he hooks you in and checking out the rest of the record becomes an immediate need.

“I Heard It Twice” is a hard-nosed shuffle that exposes some downright vicious opinions one particularly cold-hearted woman had to offer about our man MacDonald’s ability to play the blues. “She said I don’t like your blues, I heard it twice the first time,” he sings, after listing his faults according to her. Every performing artist gets this treatment sooner or later, because you just can’t please everyone, and the worst of it often comes from those they thought were on their side. MacDonald slips the critique by making a song about it and letting her negativity drive him. His vocal take is bone-chilling and his guitar licks are well-seasoned and unafraid. We should all handle our critics so well. Pay attention because school is in session.

Mississippi MacDonald slows things down with the vibe-filled “Drinker’s Blues.” His unhurried vocal delivery and interaction with the background singers on the track keep an undercurrent of soul cooking beneath this muscular slow blues. Horns and organ riffs expand the song’s arrangement and give MacDonald the platform he needs to speak and play his troubles to all of us. It’s a showcase cut for the entire group and is arguably the best song on the record.

“That’s It I Quit” is a cracking shuffle with a Texas feel to it that describes some of the many frustrations involved in living the gig life. MacDonald slings more hot guitar over the band’s big beat and overflows with confidence and style. Other cuts to cue up include “Keep Your Hands Out Of My Pocket” and the closer “Your Wife Is Cheating On Us.” Mississippi MacDonald is a large talent who sounds like he’s finding his mode and blowing things up. Pick up Do Right, Say Right and make your own day. Highly recommended.

Watch “It Can’t Hurt Me”

 
Mississippi MacDonald website
 





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