Lisa Theo, Kim Field and the Titans of Twang
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Lisa Theo, Kim Field and the Titans of Twang

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Country Americana




"Review of "Black Diamonds" CD by Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone by Mark Dalton"

There are several good reasons to review these two CDs together – they were recorded at about the same time, by two men who were playing together in a band at the time (although the personnel on the two CDs are different on most tunes). The two CDs even share a song (Eric Daw’s “You’re the One”) in versions that offer a good comparison of these top-flight Northwest musicians.

The two CDs were also recorded in the same studio (Seattle’s Orbit Audio), both with an emphasis on an uncomplicated, live-in-the-studio, rootsy sound. Both these artists are comfortable as bluesmen, but both have a wider musical view. Influences from classic country music, 60’s soul music, and from the rise of rock and roll are evident here.

Of the two, Kim Field is the experienced master; possessed of a long and rich career as a performer, song writer, recording artist and graphic designer – and an internationally known music historian who literally “wrote the book” on the development and history of the harmonica. In his book Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers, Kim traces his chosen instrument from its humble origins as a pocket instrument for cowboys and hoboes, to the highly amplified, soaring electric instrument launched by the likes of Little Walter and George “Harmonica” Smith into the front lines of modern improvisational music.

The younger man, Eric Daw arrived on the Seattle music scene less than a decade ago, and his rapid development as a guitarist -- first as a dedicated sideman, seemingly popping up everywhere you looked, to a smoking instrumentalist and increasingly dazzling soloist, to a confident vocalist and a competent songwriter – this development has been a joy to watch and a pleasure to hear.

Kim Field’s album, Black Diamonds, represents a solid return to form by Kim as a songwriter. Kim has always pushed himself well beyond the clichés that so many roots music songwriters fall into. “Endless boogie” crowd pleasers are notably absent here, although the Titans can rock with the best of them. What you get from Kim are finely crafted songs – both musically and lyrically – songs that often plunge deep into the heart of human relationships. In addition to calling up the spirits of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and their delta predecessors, Kim’s influences by later R&B and country music geniuses like Sam Cooke, Arthur Alexander, and Merle Haggard have added a richness and complexity to his work that sets this CD apart form any other area artist currently on the scene.

Kim’s CD opens up with one of the highlights of the set, “My Heart is Still My Own,” a rocking statement of survival in the face of romantic turmoil, followed by “The Language of Love” with the great line “don’t look to the Good Book, or the customs of Japan, if you want my touch, you got to put it in my hand.” “So Dark in Here” follows, a fine soul ballad reminiscent of the classic work of Dan Penn, followed by another of Kim’s rockin’ Cajun tunes (this one written with Henry Cooper), “Dis Pas Ca.” Other highlights of this excellent set include Kim’s signature harp instrumental, “Heavy Breathing,” his rollicking take on Eric Daw’s “You’re the One,” mentioned earlier, and the very dark “She’ll Bury You (In the Hole She Dug For Me)” here with Kim on delta style guitar. A reworking of the Slamhound Hunter’s “The Snake Sheds it’s Skin” might make your skin crawl, and the title tune, “Black Diamonds,” is a minor blues coming straight out that desperate 3am hour, with Kim’s huge harmonica tone flowing out of the speakers like black, bitter honey.

The musicians on this CD are all top-flight, with a special mention of Billy Spaulding’s rock-solid drumming throughout. As James Ellroy would say, DIG IT.

Eric Daw’s CD opens with the title tune, “Hey Now!” a Jimmie Vaughan-style instrumental shuffle which let’s you know right away that you are in for some treats with this collection! The personnel on this cut and several others make up another band that Daw stands out in during appearances around the area – The Satellite Four, a Booker T. and the MGs style instrumentals-only band featuring the amazing Jeff Conlin, who has quickly become my favorite area organist, as well as a solid rhythm section in Johnny Horn and David Hudson on bass and drums. If you like what you hear on this track, “Ricky’s Revenge,” and “Under Control,” you need to get out and see The Satellite Four live! They will blow you away, guaranteed.

There’s plenty of great guitar scattered all over this set – Daw is an imaginative player who covers a lot of territory, all done with true feeling and a lot of style.

Eric has a lighter touch with his singing, but again, this man is growing by leaps and bounds before our eyes and ears, and he carries this initial solo CD very well as a frontman. His vocal touch on “You’re the One” calls up the classic Hollywood rock-a-billy of Ricky Nelson, and had my wife dancing around the room singing along. Expect more great things from Eric Daw – ‘cause we’re gonna get ‘em!

The best idea, of course, is to get out and see these cats live and pick up these CDs direct from the source, but if need be, you can get either one or both from You WILL be glad you did!

- Blue Suede News

"Review of "Black Diamonds" CD by Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone by Malcolm Kennedy"

"Kim Field tosses in a lot of different styles on the Titans' sophomore effort and first studio release, "Black Diamonds"--with a pair of ballads that hark back to the '50s or '60s ("So Dark In Here" and "Sleep Baby Sleep"), a lively New Orleans-style romp ("Dis Pas Ca"), acoustic Delta blues on which Kim plays the guitar ("She'll Bury You (In The Hole She Dug For Me)"), and one track that could be a movie theme ("The Snake Sheds Its Skin"). "I've Got Your Secret" features Little Bobby Sumpner on organ and Steve Yonck on some wicked lead guitar. The Titans rock it out on the Texas shuffle "He's Got A Gun" with Eric Daw on lead guitar and Al Kaatz on rhythm. The title track is a slow, smokey tune with some searing guitar leads by Al and raw harp by Kim. Field can play any style with finess and golden tone and he displays that remarkable talent on "Black Diamonds"--another rare gem." - Washington State Blues Society

"Review of "Blue Smoke" CD by Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone"

This collection of jumpin’ West Coast and Texas blues, recorded live at the Highway 99 blues club, will knock your socks off—and then may make you slip them back on, lace up your shoes, and hit the dance floor. These guys have more than a century of collective experience in the best Northwest R&B bands, and are led by semi-legendary Northwest harp man and singer Kim Field, who literally wrote the book on harp. (It’s called “Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers: The Evolution of the People’s Instrument,” and it’s one of the essential books about the harmonica.) They certainly live up to their band name. Field has impeccable tone, as he proves on Freddy King’s “It Hurts to Be in Love,” Ray Charles’s “Unchain My Heart,” and his self-penned numbers—“Dis Pas Ca,” “Hard Work,” and “Heavy Breathing.” Field, guitarist Eric Daw, and drummer Billy Spaulding trade hard-working vocals on forgotten R&B gems such as Pee Wee Crayton’s “Texas Hop,” Johnny Guitar Watson’s “That’s the Chance You’ve Got to Take,” and James Brown’s “Good Good Lovin’.” Throughout, Spaulding and bass player Brady Millard-Kish lay down a slate pool table of richly syncopated rhythm, on top of which guitarists Daw and Steve Yonck caress the far corners of numbers like Ray Charles’s “A Fool for You” and Albert King’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” with its tastefully Kingly string-bending. Field’s chewy, soulful harp on the title tune is, again, all about the tone, not the note flurries. It’s an object lesson for any aspiring R&B player—just like the rest of this fine and feisty CD. - Mark Hoffman, Blues To Dos Magazine

"Review of "Blue Smoke" CD by Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone"

The Northwest in recent years has been a hotbed for new blues talent. However, Kim Field and his Mighty Titans of Tone have been plugging away as barnstormers on their own and in various bands in Seattle for well over 30 years. Musicianship is the supreme element and talent in this band. Normally, dual lead guitars in a blues band frighten me a little as it leaves plenty of room for some wanking to occur. You'll get none of that here. In this album full of mostly covers and usually touted as classic cuts, it leave no room for said guitar vomit and the musicians prove it. Field has a pure harmonica tone and his voice instantly reminded me of Kim Wilson with its deep, rich baritone and emotion. Steve Yonck and Eric Daw are about as solid, tasteful and refreshing as they come when it comes to the guitar. Just listen to the opening two instrumentals, Pee Wee Crayton's 'Texas Hop' and Albert Collins' 'Don't Lose Your Cool' and you'll understand. Billy Spaulding and Brady Millard-Kish, and drums and bass, sound like they've been playing together for years. With only one track running just a smidge over seven minutes, you won't be bored with any senseless and endless jamming. The arrangements, like the band, are tight and to the point without losing any of its entertainment power. The band is tight and Field is in his prime or better. Look for them as they branch out on a nationwide tour this year to support the album. - Ben Cox, Illinois Blues

"Review of "Blue Smoke" CD by Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone"

Recorded live at the Highway 99 Club, this tight unit, backing one of the region's premier vocal and harmonica talents, amply displays why they have been BB Award nominated for 'Best New Blues Band' and why Kim Field is so deserving of his nomination for 'Best Harp.' Just give a listen to the Kim Field-penned title track 'Blue Smoke' and you will see. The 15 tracks contain mostly obscure covers with four originals interspersed. Some notable moments include the clean-toned solo Steve Yonck takes on Johnny Guitar Watson's 'That's The Chance You've Gotta Take,' Billy Spaulding's meter on drums for 'Oh Pretty Woman' and his vocals from behind the kit on 'You Belong To Me,' Eric Daw's guitar and vocals on the Ray Charles gem 'I'm A Fool For You,' and the final cut, a lively instrumental Kim wrote called 'Heavy Breathing.' The spectacular pairing of young guitarists Eric and Steve beside the pocket-defining engine room of Billy abnd Brady Millard-Kish and the veteran harp and front man Kim Field proves to be a band to be reckoned with. This is a tough CD from start to finish that I am certain will stand the test of time. I recommend it highly. - Malcolm Kennedy, Washington State Blues Society Newsletter


Lisa Theo:
"Western Dream" (Ranch Romance, Sugar Hill)
"Live? In Seattle" (Mel Cooleys)

Kim Field:
"The Isaac Scott Blues Band" (Isaac Scott, Red Lightnin')
"4/1 Mind" (The "Slamhound Hunters, Satin)
"Private Jungle" (The Slamhound Hunters, Satin)
"Black Diamonds" (The Mighty Titans of Tone, Harmonotone)



Lisa Theo (vocals, mandolin, guitar) was a founding member of two beloved Seattle-area bands, Ranch Romance and Mel Cooleys, and has shared the stage with the likes of Riders in the Sky, Western Swing legend Johnny Gimble, guitarist Scott Nygaard, and banjo virtuoso Alison Brown. With Ranch Romance, she toured across Canada and throughout the US West Coast with k.d. lang, and performed in major folk festivals and venues across the United States and Canada. She and her bands have opened shows for Tammy Wynette, Robin and Linda Williams, Guy Clarke, Joe Ely, and Delbert McClinton.

Kim Field is an internationally celebrated singer, harmonica player, and guitarist. Field spent several years fronting the Slamhound Hunters, whose performances and two albums for Satin Records, 4/1 Mind and Private Jungle, were strongly received in both Europe and the United States. He currently performs with Lisa Theo and with the Mighty Titans of Tone. Over the years Field has appeared on bills with such rhythm and blues legends as Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Gregg Allman, James Cotton, Otis Rush, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, the Righteous Brothers, Walter Horton, and Big Mama Thornton. He has appeared at the San Francisco Blues Festival, performed on New Year’s Eve in New York City’s Central Park, and was a featured performer at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival seven years running. Field’s songwriting has been highlighted in the soundtracks of two feature films, The Killoff and The Lawless Land. He was nominated for a 2012 B.B. Award for "Best Blues Performer" by the Washington State Blues Society.