Piazza's music ready for bigger audience
All the ingredients are there for a major breakthrough. Good looks, great music, hard work. And still it isn't happening for Rod Piazza, at least not on a level he and his crew deserve.
Piazza and his Mighty Flyers are one of the very hottest West Coast blues bands ever. Piazza's driving, soaring harmonica can still send audiences into ecstasy, his wife Honey Piazza remains one of the best boogie woogie pianists, and guitarist Rick "L.A. Holmes" Holmstrom has the hollow-body sound down pat. Bassist Bill Stuve and drummer Steve Mugalian are rock-steady on rhythm.
In short, the music cooks. Tough, swinging blues with a strong streak of rock 'n' roll tossed in. These guys should be all over the airwaves instead they're still playing one-nighters in clubs all over the country, some 30 years after Piazza started out.
Is their new album, "Tough and Tender," their best ever? Hard to say that would kind of denigrate their earlier efforts, too. It's sure as hell a lot better than 99.99 percent of what's on the radio, though. Piazza's chromatic harp playing is in top form, and he continues to get better as a singer more confident, more comfortable, better able to grab hold of a song and own it.
The songs are top-notch; accessible and pop-oriented while still every bit the blues. It's a winning formula that has to pay off some day if not for Piazza and the Flyers, then for the millions of people out there whose souls are starving to death on Top 40 radio.
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