"Achilles Tenderloin is Joe Augustin, a folk-blues singer/songwriter/guitarist from Indiana. His music is influenced by pre-war blues artists like Skip James, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, and Tommy Johnson, but it also reflects jazz sensibilities, especially vocally, best illustrated by vocalists like Billie Holliday and Nina Simone. His own lyrics are highly personal and sometimes emotionally charged.
For his latest CD, Stronger Than Wine, Augustin offers six original songs, along with four diverse covers. “Cold Morning Blues” invokes Skip James with its gentle guitar work and Augustin’s forlorn vocal. “Let The Good Times Roll” is a bit more upbeat, and is complemented by Aaron Nell’s muted trumpet, which also makes an appearance on “Daisy May.”
Nell also adds fiddle on a pair of original tunes, the John Henry tale, “Steel Hammer Blues,” and “Doppler Blues,” and a couple of the cover tunes, which include an intense remake of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Can’t Keep From Cryin’,” Leadbelly’s “In The Pines,” Tommy Johnson’s “Cool Drink of Water,” and an off-the-charts redo of the Toadies’ “I Come From The Water.”
It’s interesting to hear these classic pre-war tunes revamped and revitalized in this manner. Augustin’s vocals and the various instrumental flourishes make you look at them in a different way. These interpretations, plus the compelling original songs make Stronger Than Wine a fascinating and innovative interpretation of the blues. File this one under “Brave New Blues.” To check out Achilles Tenderloin’s music, visit their website at achillestenderloin.bandcamp.com
--- Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes, Sept 2014
released August 30, 2014
Joe Augustin: Guitar, vocals
Aaron Nell: Fiddle, trumpet, percussion
Chris Yakopcic: Producer
All songs written by Joe Augustin, except:
Track 3, Can't Keep From Cryin', by Blind Willie Johnson
Track 8, In The Pine, by Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter
Track 9, I Come From The Water, by Todd Lewis (The Toadies)
Track 10, Cool Drink Of Water Blues, by Tommy Johnson
All tracks recorded May 31, 2014
Street Sounds Recording Studio, Dayton, OH, USA.