Art Tipaldi reviewed Latvian Blues Band’s latest release “When the sun goes down” in „Blues Revue” – Issue#127 Jan/Feb 2011.
“The Latvian Blues Band is as accomplished a blues band as you’ll find. The band (originally formed in 1997) recently celebrated its tenth anniversary as the house band for Latvia’s Bites Club in Riga. As such, they’ve backed hundreds of blues men and women who come there to play. Check out the pictures on the walls of this Latvian blues saloon and you’ll see the living proof. Basically, since 2000, the club files in the headliner and this young band backs them for a Friday and Saturday show. Thus, they have assimilated every blues approach from South and West side Chicago to early Texas shuffles to Mississippi soul blues to horn filled arrangements. Most recently, in 2010, this band won the Baltic Blues Challenge and represented Baltic Blues in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge.
The last CD, ‘Unreal’, was produced by Duke Robillard. The band learned its lessons from that session and here guitarist Janis Bukovskis and drummer Rolands Saulietis handled the production duties. What seperates this band from so many other international bands is that all 14 cuts are originals written either solo (three) by Bukovskis or co-written (11) with Saulietis.
What is immediately apparent in these originals is how accurately these Latvians capture the character and color of the blues. Because the band consists of guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a horn section of sax, trombone and trumpet, its music weaves intricate layers of crisp arrangements. The opening cut, ‘Never Meant To Hurt Ya’ features Bukovskis seasoned Albert King bends answered by the band’s sturdy horns. Vocally, singer Bukovskis took his Robillard lessons to heart. There is no distracting foreign accent nor simplistic read of just words; instead he sings with the conviction he learned backing 10 years of blues legends.
The eight-minute standout, “There Are Days”, wrings its slow blues emotion from the rhythmic interplay of guitas and horns. At the same time, Bukovskis delivers his message with powerful restraint. Everything else on the record tightly captures the vast landscape of the blues styles these Latvians embrace. The CD ends with Bukovskis’s instrumental, “For You”, a meditative showcase a good-time record to play over and over and surprise your music friends.”