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REVIEW from Bill BEntley & PK Mayo, Simple Search for Truth How is it earthly possible to find new truths in the blues, no matter how ancient or modern it’s played. It’s like a puzzle without a solution, but there are those who still find a way to make that music of reality come alive. PK Mayo is one of them. Born in the Minnesota mining town of Eveleth, Mayo got on the guitar train early and has stayed there, focusing on blues as the bedrock foundation while he puts his own muscular spin on it. Luckily, the guitarist knows where to take the sound from there, and when he goes spiraling off on solos they always go to a new place. Still, the core of what PK Mayo is really all about on his new release is songwriting. No matter where the guitar goes, it has to go on the strength of the songs or it can end up like someone practicing. And Mayo’s music always has a deluxe destination. Whether it’s “Levee of Lies,” “Truth,” “Road of Love” or “Solace,” this new release is obviously one where everything waited until the songs were truly ready. Then Mayo and co-producer Christopher Furst took a stellar trio into Studio 65 in Ham Lake, Minnesota and recorded the album the musician has likely been waiting his whole life to make. In many ways it’s obvious the search for the truth can take awhile, but once it’s found it’s found for good. Extra Mayo please.
Simple Search for Truth
A vet folkie with blues underpinnings amps it up and puts heavy detail into the writing here. A road warrior of long standing, he’s inspired to pull the various pieces tight here and the cohesion shows. A solid set for anyone that wants to hear a story backed by some stinging riffs, this is a heavy duty after hours set to jam with on the back porch when the neighbors are away on vacation.
– Chris Spector
PK Mayo, Simple Search for Truth
Three decades plus musician PK Mayo (Paul K. Mayasich) holds his rightful place in both the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame. He is noted guitarist both on acoustic and electric slide, having been inspired at an early age from Duane Allman’s solo on “Statesboro Blues.” That inspiration has carried him to stages worldwide as he continues to gig (in non-pandemic times) at a rate of 200+ shows a year. This record is special – and perhaps his career best – thanks to Mayo’s focus on songwriting. He claims to have invested much time writing these songs because, he said “In the past, I tended to use the lyrics as a bridge between solos.” He insists this a no-frills album commensurate with its title: “Two guitars, bass and drums recorded in one room for most of the record.” His band is bassist John Wright, guitarist/mandolinist Steve Lehto, and drummer Noah Levy. He opens with the autobiographical “Blues and Me,” trading guitar licks with Lehto, and delivering several cutting lines. “You Don’t Know Jack” is an ebb and flow instrumental where guitars sound like keyboards and the major lead that comes two minutes in is phrased like a horn solo. “levee of Lies” features the mandolin and has a true roots feel, a swaying groove, and harmony vocals from Lehto and Levy, making it one of the standout tracks. About 60% through, as if to make one contemplate the line “how does it feel?” the music almost comes to a standstill before the slide guitars build to a dramatic close. A heavy, insistent beat propels the potent “It Ain’t Workin’ for Me No More” which has more than its share of explosive, angst-driven guitar work. “Truth” rumbles in with train-like riffs and takes on a slash-and-burn North Mississippi Hill Country vibe with the slide sharp enough to cut through a thick board. Requisite calm follows in the resonator-infused, country blues of “Road of Love” while “Somewhere Between You and I” stays in similar vein, imbued by the combination of resonator, mandolin and harmony vocals, another standout. “Solace” closes out a string of three primarily acoustic, well-crafted songs, as if the album, a mere eight songs, has two distinct halves – Mayo’s fiery, electric side, and the second half revealing his songsmith side. Spend a little more than a half hour with this blues master. he’s the real deal, a triple threat as they say. ~ Jim Hynes
The record is a showcase for a guitarist, singer, and songwriter at the peak of
vintage Guitar Magazine review of Threads
His amazing abilities playing slide guitar (acoustic and electric) – his rare touch, feel and dynamism on the instrument – place him as a peer among the masters of today and yesterday. . .
Red House Records review of Threads
This little disc contains some of the very finest slide guitar playing I have heard