September 26, 2023
Tomislav Goluban – 20 Years On The Road

Tomuslav Goluban – 20 Years On The Road

Blue Heart Records

14 Tracks – 52 minutes

Croatian harmonica player Tomislav “Little Pigeon” Goluban has previously released 13 albums since making his first professional appearance twenty years ago. More importantly, he has made a lot of friends across the globe, including in America, who guest on this album.  This fourteenth album is released in celebration of the anniversary of his professional life. The fourteen songs contained on this album were recorded live in the studio in Croatia and Austria with three different sets of musicians and eight different vocalists performing songs from Tomi’s deep catalog. One cover and four previously unreleased songs are included in the mix of songs on the album.

The album kicks off with the jumping instrumental “Express Ride”. Tomislav’s harmonica rides high behind the twin guitars of Peter Prammerdorfer and Mike Diwald from The Tobacco Road Blues band.  Tomislav’s theme song “Blow Junkie Boogie” follows with Tomislav’s harmonica backing his raspy vocals on one of his two vocal performances. On the song, which was the title song from his sixth album, he proclaims his addiction to the blues.

Chicago vocalist Skylar Rogers sings she is “Searchin’ for My Baby” “and my baby still can’t be found.” Tomislav’s harmonica offers response to he her pleas and Tomislav Kusar offers strong keyboard support. She returns later on the jump blues “Forhill’s Boogie”. which she says, “just feels so good” and everything gets moving with some rollicking piano.

Mark Cameron provides guitar and vocals on the rocking “Party Time Blues”. The song is a strong rock & roll number featuring slide guitar from Hrvoje Funda. Think something that Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis might have recorded. Mark returns later on “Gambler’s Blues”, which he notes that “sometimes I win, sometimes I lose” no matter if he is “picking red or black, rolling the right numbers, or being dealt the two cards for blackjack”.

British vocalist Malaya Blue‘s smooth vocals match the harmonica on “Electric Lights”, which Tomislav attributes some e lyrics as coming from Robert Johnson. She asks “what you gonna do when the lights go out, when the car no longer runs, and you cannot call home.” Ryan Donahue’s baritone tells the tale of the man who tells the woman in the bar “No Means No”, a western swing number with a big band arrangement and Tomislav’s harmonica trading off with the horns.

Kelly Zirbes, who collaborated with Tomislav on his previous album sings that “Hittin’ the Road Again” makes a musician “feel alive”. Later Kelly sings about political strife on “Everyday’s Fear”, where she states that she “just cannot believe the world we are living in” with “someone killing someone else in someone else’s war”. She pleas “Drop the weapons, they do you no good.”

Gregg “Mac Daddy” Martinez’s smooth tenor slides alongside a swampy harmonica on “Disappear for Good” as he sings “that you keep saying you will soon be gone…but I don’t believe that no way.” Texas’s Teresa James offers a fast-beating rhythm on a “Speedin’ Train”. and that train keeps building steam as it moves along.

California’s Crooked Eye Tommy, 2020 IBC finalists, provides the instrumental backing to Tomislav’s harmonica in a shuffle as Tommy advises “you are just a mean and evil woman” and “I Can’t Take It Anymore”.

The album concludes Sonny Terry’s “I Love You Baby”. Tomislav provides the vocals in a tribute to Sonny, who Tomislav attributes as being his first influence to learn the harmonica.

While it is easy to focus on the guests, Tomislav’s harmonica is the star of the show alongside numerous top notch instrumentalists offering driving piano, guitar, and solid rhythm throughout. If you love the harmonica, but don’t know Tomislav, take a chance on the album. You will become an immediate fan.

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