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Mike Zito – Blues For The Southside

by Edward F. Nesta
Mike Zito - Blues For The Southside
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The latest live release from Mike Zito – Blues For The Southside is a tour-de-force 15-track release. When you think of live Blues music, Mike Zito should come to the forefront as he is not only a master guitarist, a master playing the Blues, but he is a master performing live. The release features guitarist Tony Campanella, Eric Gales, and Dave Kalz along with a band of Blues greats, Matthew Johnson, Lewis Stephens, and Doug Byrkit. So, grab a drink and sit back for an evening of spellbinding live Blues where no reservations are required.


Mike Zito – Blues For the Southside

Mike Zito – Blues for the Southside – Disc 1: Intro – Guy Favazza, Mississippi Nights, First Class Life, Blues for the Southside, Texas Flood, "Mike Speaks," Hell On Me, Back Problems, Makes Blues Not War

Mike Zito – Blues for the Southside – Disc 2: Highway Mama with Tony Campanella, Love Her With A Feeling, Wasted Time, Voodoo Chile with Eric Gales, Dying Day, Life Is Hard, The Road Never Ends with Dave Kalz, Johnnie B. Goode

Personnel: Mike Zito: vocals and guitar, Matthew Johnson: vocals and drums, Lewis Stephens: piano/organ, Doug Byrkit: vocals and bass guitar, Tony Campanella: guitar, Eric Gales: guitar, Dave Kalz: guitar

Mike Zito – Blues For The Southside was produced by Mike Zito and Executive Producer Guy Hale and recorded live at the Old Rock House, St. Louis, Missouri on November 26, 2021, and released on the Gulf Coast Records label founded by Mike Zito and Guy Hale, on February 18, 2022.

Blues guitarist and songwriter Mike Zito has captured the attention of Luxury Experience for many years. Over the years we have had the opportunity to review many of his past releases (Mike Zito and The Wheel – Gone to Texas, Mike Zito and The Wheel – Keep Coming Back , Mike Zito – First Class Life , Mike Zito – Resurrection ) as well as seeing him perform with the band the Royal Southern Brotherhood (Royal Southern Brotherhood at StageOne, Fairfield, CT ).

For Blues For The South Side, Mike Zito returned to his hometown roots, the South Side of St. Louis, and in one evening he laid down a tour-de-force live release of 15-tracks that captures the raw energy of Mike Zito and Blues, which have become synonymous. Disc 1 contains 7 music tracks and kicks off with the track Mississippi Nights which is the table setter for an evening of down-and-dirty Blues. The deep vocals and electrifying guitar work of Mike Zito on Mississippi Nights transports the listener into the audience at Old Rock House for this eventful evening.

The next track, First Class Life rolls out the quintessential Blues base line and guitar riffs, but in the hands of Mike the sound resonates. The title track Blues For The Southside is a lesson in playing the Blues live from a band of Blues Masters. The baseline sets itself and they hold their music line throughout this 6-minute instrumental track which provides a foundation for the amazing impassioned guitar work from Mike.

Mike covers the Stevie Ray Vaughan track Texas Flood and brings in his powerful vocals to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s lyrics which complement his exemplary guitar. Disc 1 rounds out with the tracks Hell on Me, Back Problems, and Make Blues Not War, three down-and-dirty Blues tracks.

Disc 2 opens with the track Highway Mama featuring Tony Campanella on guitar along with Mike. The dueling guitars blaze away setting this track on fire. They transition to the hard driving track Love Her With A Feeling as he sings, "…love her with a felling baby, or there ain’t no reason to love her at all," which is accompanied by some sassy guitar work.

The track Voodoo Chile featuring Eric Gales on guitar is 12-minutes of Blues at its best as the guitarist’s interplay throughout is amazing. The evening is livened up with the track Dying Day and that familiar bouncy Blues beat carried by the organ work of Lewis Stephens.

The track Life Is Hard featuring the engaging piano work of Lewis Stephens brings out the emotional elements to complement the lyrics "No matter how you try, life is hard, then you die. You can’t trust your closest friends," to say this is the Blues is an understatement.

The evening, and Disc 2, closes with the tracks The Road Never Ends featuring Dave Kalz on guitar, and the Chuck Berry classic, Johnny B Goode, but in the fingers of these guitarists the track leaves the audience toweling off after an electrifying evening.

Websites where you can purchase Mike Zito – Blues for the Southside: Amazon, Apple Music, Bear Family, Gulf Coast Records

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