Eric Schenkman: Who Shot John?

J. Poet on May 6, 2019
Eric Schenkman: Who Shot John?

Spin Doctors guitarist Eric Schenkman has always loved the blues, and he gives full reign to that side of his playing on Who Shot John? With the support of drummers Cody Dickinson and Van Romane, and bassist/co-producer Shawn Kellerman, Schenkman turns in a solid, modern blues album. The opening track, “I’m Alright,” could have been cut at Chess Studios, if Chess had access to modern technology. It’s a mean, clean, old-school kiss off that lets his ex know that she won’t be missed. The solid rhythm section supports his exuberant vocal and slashing guitar work. On the title track, the bass and drums alternate between a sharp rock beat and a brisk second-line rhythm that’s straight out of a Mardi Gras march. Schenkman adds to the rhythmic delirium by layering on a fast, stuttering, almost out of control ska-like backbeat to the proceedings. Special guest Brent Barkman offers some sustained notes on the Hammond B-3, bringing a little Stax/Volt soul to “Sign of the Times.” Schenkman croons the lyric. The hot shuffle of “Agent Orange Blues” closes the album with a not-so-subtle jab at the current occupant of the White House. A brief, ripping bass solo from Kellerman sets up Schenkman’s snarling vocal as he sings about the “weird Agent Orange on TV,” who may “make the world gonna blow.” He ends the song, and the album, with a scream of rage and resistance.