Joe Moss Band at Smoken Joe’s BBQ – A Last Bastion Of The Blues In New England

Joe Moss Band Plays The Heart Of The Blues – Smoken Joe’s Brighton, MA

Joe Moss plays Smoken Joe's BBQ, Brighton, MA
Joe Moss plays Smoken Joe’s BBQ, Brighton, MA
The night started out with Joe noodling on the guitar signaling the rest of the band to fall into place. They did effortlessly, playing a Memphis shuffle. Greg Sefner, (keys), offered up a screaming solo, right out of the gate, but after the first song, Moss needed to halt things for a moment because he couldn’t hear himself. Wendy, the owner, came to the rescue to set the monitor right and there was a lot more guitar and reverb in the room. They hit it nice and funky with “Freedom.”

The band played through some originals and standards – numbers that appear on their recordings, like “Cold Hearted,” “Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” and “Black Boots.” Later on, Moss said that the home of the blues may be Chicago, but the heart of the blues was in New England, and charged us with helping keep the blues alive by writing to the new mayor of Boston. Smoken Joe’s Barbeque in Brighton is in danger of closing, and needs help. He wanted us to know that venues like this were few and far between and this is one of the only one’s in Boston.

With his custom flying-V guitar, Moss offered up incredible runs then settled into a nice soulful number that reminded me of Sam Cooke. Followed by “Ain’t Got No Money,” featuring the rhythm-section of Dana Thompson (drums) and Mike Zabrin (bass). Zabrin got fancy with some slappy stuff that sounded like seventies sexplotation movie music, his head bobbing back and forth to the beat, and Thompson was phenomenal taking it from a slow shuffle into a high fevered pitch and then bring it back down again and handing it back to Moss and Sefner for a slow walk with high runs that ended abruptly. Suddenly, they were into a groovy cover of “Dirty Low Down.”

Moss walked out into the audience and played his guitar suggestively for beautiful women in the club. Singing, “the first time I met you baby, I knew you were the one for me.” Moss did his trick of playing the guitar behind his neck a la Jimi Hendricks and again reminded the audience to write to the mayor on Joe and Wendy’s behalf to keep Smoken Joe’s open. Friends of the band passed a tip jar making it feel like a down home revival with Thompson’s gospel drumming. They ended the set with a terrific version of Freddie King’s “Hideaway.” Buddy Guy has called Moss “Energetic, a strong guitarist, and always a crowd pleaser.” And he’s not wrong.

Catch them touring while you can.