Back Around Here CD Review
Chicago Sun Times - August 1, 2010
by Jeff Johnson
Rob Stone hits the deep-in-the-pocket groove that many accomplished blues harpists achieve when they step out front and center with a solo project. He’s got swing, he’s got that de rigueur smoky voice, he’s got a playful, good-time touch and a fine feel for what moves his audience.
Stone’s longtime running mates in his skintight Chicago trio the C-Notes, guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn, share his classic ’50s Chicago blues band sensibilities, although they’re doing some independent projects these days. Together they wrote eight of the CD’s 12 songs.
“Back Around Here” is only Stone’s third solo disc, but he shows remarkable savvy in his segues and instrumentation. You’ll never find two shuffles or slow grinders in a row. Stone’s own Little Walter-inspired harmonica work is augmented by some of the best session players in the Windy City, including pianist David Maxwell and drummers Sam Lay and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. A pair of saxophonists are used judiciously, especially on Stone’s rollicking nocturnal tour of the city, “Chicago All Night.”