It's been 20 years since the last Hot Tuna studio album. Founding members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady kept the band afloat through extensive touring and went to a longish acoustic period. They have been playing together for half a century and were key members of The Jefferson Airplane, a band whose sound stood out thanks to guitarist Kaukonen's use of sustain and Casady fluid bass playing. Those two key elements are found on Steady As She Goes, twelve songs of rocking Americana.
Half to the numbers on the album are originals, most of them co-written by Kaukonen and the album's producer Larry Campbell, who also plays guitar, fiddle and organ. Long time Hot Tuna member Barry Mitterhoff add dabs of color with subdued mandolin fills, but the band's secret weapon is drummer Skoota Warner, a jazz cat with a blues rock heart, who know how to swing the band digs deep playing classic such as Goodbye To The Blues and Vicksburg Stomp. And for those who want a bit of Airplane: Teresa Williams does a fine job channeling Grace Slick.
Recorded at Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, Hot Tuna laid down an album that is sounding fresh and warm, instantly recognizable and a worthy addition to their discography. Go see them live if you can. With a bit of luck they will send you home with an expanded version of the slow Second Changes or the funky Mourning Interrupted.
Jorma Kaukonen: electric and acoustic guitar, vocals
Jack Casady: bass
Barry Mitterhoff: mandolin, electric and acoustic octave mandolin
Skoota Warner: drums
Steady As She Goes is released on Red House Records.Tracks:
- Angel of Darkness
- Children of Zion
- Second Chances
- Goodbye to the Blues
- A Little Faster
- Mourning Interrupted
- Easy Now Revisited
- Smokerise Journey
- Things That Might Have Been
- Mama Let Me Lay It On You
- If This is Love
- Vicksburg Stomp
- 04/28 Avalon Theatre, Easton, MD
- 04/29 The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
- 04/30 Oneonta Theatre, Oneonta, NY
- 05/01 Showcase Live, Foxborough, MA