Roadhouse Album Review: John Németh blows up a storm with “Live from the Fallout Shelter”

John Németh  & the Blue Dreamers — “Live from the Fallout Shelter” — Nola Blue Records

It seems like only yesterday that John Németh came blowing out of Idaho with his wicked harp and soulful pipes, but as it turns out, it was a mere 20 years ago.

To celebrate those two decades as a recording artist, singer, songwriter, harmonica cat and all-around good guy, Németh has released a live album from the last show of his spring 2022 tour at The Fallout Shelter in Norwood, Mass.

The Fallout Shelter show also came just before John had jaw surgery in May, 2022, a medical event that prompted his outstanding studio album, “May Be The Last Time.” (You can read my review here, and read about this medical issue here.)

But if you put all that backstory aside for a blues minute, what you get here is a terrific live album from an exciting performer, cranking out the music for appreciative fans.

John is working here with his band, the Blue Dreamers — Jad Tariq, guitar; Jon Hay, guitar; Matthew Wilson, drums/acoustic guitar; and Max Kaplan, bass.

They all come together here for a set of lively tunes that are pure Németh — loaded with crafty songwriting, soulful delivery, eloquent harp work and crisp backup by the Dreamers.

The hard-working “Sweep the Shack” opens up on a funkified note, followed by the torchy “Work for Love,” featuring a terrific harp solo midway. “Come and Take It” is a hypnotic nod to Mississippi Hill Country blues, “Testify My Love” adds acoustic guitar and a background chorus to John’s eight minutes of almost-spoken-word testimony to love that aches with a touch of old-school testifying, highlighted by John’s pleading vocal.

“Elbows on the Wheel” is classic Németh — rocking harp and wry lyrics, “Chain Breaker” is tough blues, “Deprivin’ a Love” rocks hard, and the rest of the set keeps up the intensity — John knows how to build the energy and keep it flowing. “I Can See Your Love Light Shine,” “My Baby’s Gone,” “Feelin’ Freaky,” “Get Offa Dat Butt,” “Country Boy,” and the blazing nearly psychedelic finale, “Fountain of a Man.”

If you’re familiar with John Németh, these live tracks capture him doing what he does best — making exciting music. If you’re not, let this one turn you on.

Here’s a live performance of “Sweep the Shack”:

Track Listing:
1. Sweep the Shack
2. Work for Love
3. Come and Take It
4. Testify My Love
5. Elbows on the Wheel
6. Chain Breaker
7. Deprivin’ a Love
8. I Can See Your Love Light Shine
9. My Baby’s Gone
10. Feelin’ Freaky
11. Get Offa Dat Butt
12. Country Boy
13. Fountain of a Man

John Németh – Vocals/Harmonica
Jad Tariq – Guitar/Harmony Vocals
Jon Hay – Guitar/Harmony Vocals
Matthew Wilson – Drums/Acoustic Guitar/Harmony Vocals
Max Kaplan – Bass/Harmony Vocals

One thought on “Roadhouse Album Review: John Németh blows up a storm with “Live from the Fallout Shelter”

  1. Ann-Margaret Vann February 24, 2023 / 3:41 pm

    Jim, It was lovely to meet you today in Pinellas County. We will be sure to follow your blog, and listen to your recommendations.


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