Blues-rock guitarist Dudley Taft’s latest release, Screaming in the Wind, on his American Blues Artist Group label was produced by Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge, best-known for his work with Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi, George Thorogood and Johnny Winter, and recorded at The Switchyard and Rendering Plant in Nashville, as well as Taft’s new Muchmore Studio in Cincinnati. The recording facility is part of the house and property Dudley recently purchased from legendary guitarist Peter Frampton.
The new CD features a dozen songs, most of which are originals penned by Dudley Taft, including several co-written with Tom Hambridge (who also plays drums on a couple tracks) and Richard Fleming, plus scintillating covers of songs by Skip James (“Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”) and Freddie King (“Pack It Up”).
“Screaming in the Wind is my third solo effort and the first album I’ve done produced by someone outside the band. Several songwriting sessions in Nashville with producer Tom Hambridge and songwriter Richard Fleming helped the songs take shape before recording them,” says Taft. “It was refreshing to work with other great songwriters for the first time, and it gives Screaming in the Wind a different flavor.”
Taft’s regular band of John Kessler on bass and Jason Patterson drums is augmented by the addition of former Stevie Ray Vaughan keyboard player Reese Wynans on the sessions. Other special guests on Screaming in the Wind include the acclaimed McCrary sisters, who bring their smooth gospel harmonies to the song “Barrio,” while the Muscle Shoals Horn Section shines on “Pack It Up.”
“So far, I have done a Freddie King song on every CD, and this was no exception,” states Taft. “I love the funky vibe and tight arrangement of ‘Pack It Up.’ We poured gasoline on it and lit a match.”
The title track of the album started as a custom instrumental riff and may have turned out to be one of the strongest on the album. Tom Hambridge and Taft worked hard to find the key imagery in the lyrics to tell the story.
Dudley Taft cuts loose on the instrumental track, “Red Line,” demonstrating why he’s been dubbed one of the hottest guitarists on the planet. Fans of classic ZZ Top riffs will be smiling from ear-to-ear when they hear Taft “spanking the plank” on that one.
“The riff from Skip James’ ‘Hard Time Killing Floor Blues’ got stuck in my head last year,” Taft remembers. “I thought giving it a Led Zeppelin ‘Black Dog kind of interpretation would make it fresh.”
The final song on the CD, “Say You Will,” has what Taft calls “an epilogue, where the gears shift and a David Gilmour influence surfaces, taking the listener off into oblivion. That was such a fun track to record!”