With a crash of drums, a swirl of organ, and a driving guitar, 'So Far So Good' opens with ‘Done With Bad Luck’. Peter Veteska declares his intent to find better fortune down the track, and that is what the listener gets over the next rocking 12 tracks; great luck in finding an album to stir the soul and to make your feet move. Eight of the songs are Veteska originals, and it is a reflection on the quality of the writing that it is nigh impossible to differentiate between the self-penned and classic tracks.
Veteska is backed by the Blues Train of Alex D’Agnese on drums and Coo Moe Jhee on bass. I’m not sure if Jeff Levine is an official member of the band, but his keyboards are all over this release, presenting a colourful soundscape for Peter’s fretboard skills to stand out, shine, and glisten. For a genre that originated in melancholy and sadness, there is a real joy and vitality here. Stellar support from fine musicians abounds with some standout performances.
Jenny Barnes trades vocals on two tracks – the raunchy ‘I Miss You So’ provides great entertainment with a bickering couple coming to a loving agreement. The exchange between Jenny and Peter smoulders – wrongs admitted, recriminations and reconciliations made… all in 5 minutes 16 seconds. Jenny returns on ‘You Give Me Nothing But The Blues’, again providing a powerhouse foil to Peter’s strong, stirring, growl set alongside some glorious horn playing. This is a real highlight on an album studded with them.
Peter and the band really mix it up on the album. Slow-burning numbers such as ‘Low Down Dirty Blues’ afford longer solos from Peter and the aforementioned Jeff Levine on Hammond, while the almost honky tonk sound of ‘Baby Please’, ups both the ante and the tempo. The title track crackles with a loose, lascivious feel, held together with some magical playing on harmonica and keyboards before Peter takes charge with a trademark solo. The album closes with ‘Can’t We All Get Along’.
When I was young, played my guitar and sang a simple song. We talked like fools, broke all the rules, but we always stood as one. Can’t go on much longer, something gotta change. Can’t we all get along and find some common ground. It don’t seem right, no end in sight. Can’t last one more round.
It’s a message that is so on point in these difficult days when there is so much division throughout society. I stumbled across Peter’s last album, ‘Grass Ain’t Greener On The Other Side’, almost by chance but I am so glad I did. I’m having so much pleasure tracking down his past catalogue and reveling in a new chapter in my musical education and enjoyment. Peter is a true custodian of the blues. Within that genre, he will push the envelope, redefine
structures and produce new sounds, but always within and retaining the unique energy and honesty of the music.