Offbeat Review - "Live at the Spotted Cat"
Where Yat? Review, "Mix It Up!"
"Washboard Chaz” Leary is a Frenchmen Street icon whose raw blues style transports the listener back in time and place, to the Mississippi Delta “Crossroads” cotton country, circa 1940s. On this CD, Chaz assembled a formidable trio, consisting of himself on his namesake washboard, Roberto Luti (of Roberto & Lissa) on dobro guitar, and Andy J. Forest, a leader of his own band, on harmonica and backing vocals. The record’s fifteen tracks are nearly all short pieces (generally three minutes and under), but they pack a lot of action and emotion into each of the selections.
Offbeat Review, "Mix It Up!"
Mix it Up is the sound of a well-oiled machine. Instead of sounding like three instruments, the trio sounds like one complex instrument, one that recalls a fight between Sarge and Beetle Bailey in the comic strips. Instead of an arm or leg emerging from the dusty ball of cartoon bodies, a harmonica part jumps out for a moment before disappearing back into the ball of sound, then moments later, the same thing happens to a slide guitar lick or the bell on Chaz Leary’s washboard. Everybody plays rhythm, everybody plays lead, and new songs by the band, harmonica player Andy J. Forest and Alex McMurray sit comfortably next to songs by Bill Broonzy, Furry Lewis and Skip James. Read full the Offbeat Review.
Best of New Orleans Review, "Mix It Up!"
The constantly gigging Washboard Chaz Trio is one of the most reliable good times to be had in New Orleans, and on this latest release, Mix It Up, thankfully, he doesn’t. Mix up a good formula, that is. The album features 15 solid tracks of rollicking party blues that cheerfully careen along, propelled by Chaz’s skittering washboard and punctuated by his trademark bicycle bell. A few tracks veer slightly off the junk-blues formula. The cut ‘Summer’s Gone” was penned by Chaz’s Tin Men bandmate Alex McMurray, whose easy melancholy could have been plucked from Tom Waits’ Closing Time. Skip James’ ‘I’m So Glad” gains a spooky touch from Roberto Luti’s ominous guitar. And ‘Dodge,” with Andy J. Forest on lead vocals, has Dave Alvin-style country-rock horsepower. The good-time atmosphere is plumped up by the surprisingly large sound three guys can make with just washboard percussion, guitar and harmonica. Chaz can make his instrument sound like a junkyard symphony, and combined with Forest’s harmonica honk and Luti’s expert picking, the album shakes up the classics with grace and good vibes. Article by Allison Fensterstock, Best of New Orleans, April 15th, 2008.