Broke Fuse + Friends- Why Should I Be Blue? review

Broke Fuse + Friends Why Should I Be Blue

One-man band Jay Moonah has released a pair of EPs in recent years, and the eight-song Why Should I Be Blue? comes in at just under a half-hour. Succinct, he is.

But also enjoyable.

This time out, Broke Fuse decided that rather than playing all the harmonica, tambourine, suitcase kick drum, acoustic guitars, and kazoo himself, he would invite some of his blues friends over to participate in the sessions. And then the Covid-19 hit. Rather than abandoning plans, Moonah decided to have his compatriots contribute remotely, and the difference is striking.

Why Should I Be Blue has a fuller, more unified sound than the previous EPs The Underground and Broke Down + Blue. Appealing they were, BUT the lo-fi approach may not have held up to repeated listening. With Why Should I Be Blue, Broke Fuse has a recording that should be embraced by a wider audience, one that is more interested in grooves and vibes than in acoustic authenticity.

Naturally, Moonah takes the lead on the album, singing and offering a variety of instrumental contributions including banjolele (on the impressive “Night Before”), bass, ukulele, piano, rhythm guitar, harmonica, and percussion. Via distance, Mike McKenna contributes some slide (“Whisky Bottles,” the album’s strongest track) and lead guitar, with Paul Butters providing memorable guitar parts to the sing-a-lonable “Rack ‘em Up.” Sandra Bouza duets on the soulful ‘let me try to talk myself out of this hole’ litany, “You Know It’s True.” The ballad “Bluffer’s Blues” is provided additional heft via Frank Horvat’s piano.

With a single number (the closing title track) grounding us in Broke Fuse’s DIY aesthetic, Why Should I Be Blue? is a more-than-pleasing recording. Every track offers something different from those surrounding it, making a compelling listen. I recommend it.

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