Even though he’s one of the hardest working harmonica wailers on the Chicago blues scene, it’s been seven long years since Rob Stone’s last album. That makes the emergence of his Earwig encore Back Around Here serious cause for celebration. Rob has guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn, his longtime musical compatriots and labelmates, on board, and there’s plenty of hard-hitting Windy City blues in the great postwar tradition, the band swinging with an assurance that only comes with years of sharing bandstands. Rob’s wide-bodied harp tone reflects that of his heroes Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, and the two Sonny Boys, but he brings his own inventions to the proceedings, and his vocals are confident and sure. The all-star band also includes pianist David Maxwell, drummers Sam Lay, Willie Hayes, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and saxist Rodney Brown. Those seven years have made Rob a stronger studio presence than ever!