Blues rocker stirs up spicy, swamp stew

Dave Kalz — Relish

Even though, Relish is Dave Kalz’s debut album, I could tell he’d been around and switched notes with some of the best.

To start with he recorded the songs at Texas-based Gulf Coast Records, which is co-owned by Mike Zito, one of my go-to bluesmen.

“I’ve known Dave Kalz for 30 years,” Mike said. “He is an inspired guitarist and musician full of heart and soul.”

“When I first met Mike Zito, he was working at Metro Guitar Shop in St. Louis and playing in a country band with a DJ from a popular St. Louis radio station,” Dave said. “I was playing in a St. Louis band that had become very popular on a local level. Mike and I immediately hit it off. We heard a lot of the same tones in our heads and listened to a lot of the same music; we saw the world from similar points of view … .and we shared a love for Fender Telecasters. We’ve been friends ever since, and when I knew I was going to put out this record, I wanted to do it with Mike. It was never a question of ‘if,’ just a question of ‘when.’”

I love Dave’s sound - spicy mix of blues and swamp rock. At times, he comes across as ZZ Top with a little Tony Joe White thrown in to add some Cajun. As I write reviews, I try to throw names in of other musicians they hang with, that’s usually a good gauge to see if they fit your wheelhouse.

From 1998-2000 and 2005, Dave Kalz was a founding member of Devon Allman’s Honeytribe, which toured as the opening act for Devon’s father, Gregg Allman, and also performed shows with The Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts, Chuck Berry, Little Feat, Molly Hatchet, Night Ranger, Gregg Rolie and many others.

If you’re Southern and don’t like the Allman Brothers, Little Feat and Molly Hatchett — you’ve got something worse than Covid — the no boogie flu. I’m not sure there’s a cure for that.

In 2018, Dave formed Anthology – an Allman Brothers Tribute band. It featured former members of Gregg Allman’s 1978 touring band, Danny Liston and Richard Steltenpohl (also founding members of Mama’s Pride), Mike Zito, the late Grammy Award-winner Yonrico Scott, formerly of Derek Trucks Band and Royal Southern Brotherhood, James Jackson (George Benson, Level 42), and Tom Denman (formerly of Mama’s Pride).

It’s that mix of Dave’s that started the journey, knowing he’d trolled around Milwaukee, Chicago, New Orleans, and the desert vistas of Arizona and New Mexico.

All of us are familiar with Route 66, but Dave has a tune called “Route 666” and it’s one of my personal favorites. By the way, there actually was a route 666. US Highway 666 ran from Gallup, New Mexico, to Cortez, Colorado, the gateway to Mesa Verde.

“I’m a huge classic car nut, thus also a Route 66 aficionado. On top of that, I’ve always loved and appreciated the sounds and songs of Billy Gibbons and ZZ Top. Especially the old classic albums that sound like they were laid down live in the studio. I’m also a big Twin Peaks/David Lynch junkie. This song pays homage to all of that, while throwing in a little dash of classic cult horror movie stuff,” Dave said.

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