West Coast Toast
LABEL: Delta Groove Music
RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2016
CATALOGUE NUMBER: DGPCD174
UPC NUMBER: 850021001964
Mitch Kashmar: vocals & harmonica, claves (2)
Junior Watson: guitar
Fred Kaplan: piano & Hammond organ, cabasa (2)
Bill Stuve: upright bass
Marty Dodson: drums
01. East of 82nd Street (3:06)
02. Too Many Cooks (3:32)
03. Young Girl (4:50)
04. The Petroleum Blues (4:47)
05. Mood Indica (5:44)
06. Don’t Stay Out All Night (3:38)
07. My Lil’ Stumptown Shack (2:54)
08. Makin’ Bacon (4:29)
09. Alcohol Blues (4:23)
10. Love Grows Cold (3:31)
11. Canoodlin’ (7:41)
Produced by Jeff Scott Fleenor
West Coast ToastArtist: Mitch KashmarGenres: Harmonica Blues, West Coast Blues.
In the golden era of post-war blues, Chicago was the home and proving ground for many of the legends of blues harmonica. Over the years, as the popularity of modern blues traveled from coast to coast and beyond, so did the players. By the late 1950s, one of the true pioneers of blues harp, George “Harmonica” Smith, had settled in Southern California, where his presence on the flourishing Los Angeles blues scene would have a tremendous impact in subsequent years on up-and-coming players such as Rod Piazza, William Clarke and Kim Wilson. Little could Smith have known that he would spawn a whole new offshoot of the blues harmonica tradition, helping to create what is now known to fans world-wide as ‘the West Coast Sound’, a hard-swinging, sophisticated, and distinctly different offshoot of the amplified harp sounds familiar in Chicago.
As time has gone by, a handful of masters of this new California sound have risen to the top of the heap and become influential and pioneering in their own right. One of the best of those on the scene today is Mitch Kashmar. Mitch has not only thoroughly absorbed the lessons of the masters, he’s developed his own unique voice in the blues idiom, and not just on the harmonica. He’s hands-down one of the heaviest and most soulful singers ever to emerge from the modern West Coast scene, and an engaging and witty songwriter, in addition to his virtuosic skills on the harmonica (it’s those harmonica skills that earned him a spot touring for several years with the legendary rock/soul/funk band War). Kashmar has been one of the leading figures in West Coast blues for over three decades now, heading some of the tightest contemporary blues outfits you’ll ever hear, and earning the respect and admiration of his peers, his elders, and a school of protégés with a tireless schedule of performances and series of stellar releases. Mitch delivers the complete package, and then some.
“West Coast Toast” heralds the arrival of Mitch Kashmar’s long-awaited third studio album from Delta Groove. Although fans had the live recording “Live at Labatt” (2008) and a CD reissue of his early ’80s era LP “100 Miles to Go” (2010) to tide them over, it’s been ten years since his last full studio effort, “Wake Up & Worry” (2006). This time out, Mitch pays tribute to his legacy, tipping his musical hat to the unique sounds of West Coast blues with a program of well-chosen covers mixed in with his own original compositions, all filtered through his own individualistic approach to the blues, and distilled down into the essence of what the blues is today. Along the way, Mitch Kashmar, together with the stellar backing musicianship of Junior Watson (guitar), Fred Kaplan (piano), Bill Stuve (bass) and Marty Dodson (drums), ably proves that the golden era of West Coast blues harmonica isn’t behind us – it’s still happening right now!
“What you have with West Coast Toast is a keeper of a recording that you’re going to want to place next to all your favorites. It’ll grow consistently on you with each listen and you’ll easily feel it belongs among the best go-to discs in your collection. Hands down, Mitch Kashmar has created a remarkable album that is sure to stand the test of time.” – Cascade Blues Association
“This one hits right from the git go…” – Mark Thompson / Blues Music Magazine
“…Californian Kashmar bursts out…drawing intensity out of original material about women and drink as skillfully as anyone emoting through Marine Bands today.” – Downbeat
“This toast goes out to Mitch Kashmar and company for making an album that sits comfortably next to the finest recordings ever made on the west coast or anywhere else for that matter. West Coast Toast receives my highest recommendation and is an obvious contender for BLUES JUNCTION album of the year.” – David Mac / BLUES JUNCTION Productions