Onstage, with the high energy of fellow musicians and cheering fans, Boyd's compositions take on a totally different life. Blues songs pick up speed, folk songs become more countryfied and danceable, and Boyd's loose, fuzzy structure lets band members improvise as the spirit moves them. John Latini's pedal steel is especially helpful in filling out Boyd's musical vision, and Pat Knight's warm, wide bass tones are a perfect complement. After a few years of practicing since he made the CD, Boyd's harmonica work is much improved. And with Jim Carey on drums, he also seems comfortable branching out into crowd-pleasing covers the Rolling Stones' "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?" or Carl Perkins's "Honey, Don't" that are as hip and happening as anything on the local dance-band scene. A new CD is well overdue, and, happily, it's on the way.
Mike Boyd and the Genesee Ramblers are at the Old Town on Sunday, February 8, and at the Blind Pig on Saturday, February 28.
[Originally published in February, 2004.]