CD REVIEWS – If You Can’t Be Good, Be Good At It!

The reviews are coming in…

Living Blues

Kolassa’s title track scurries along at a frenetic pace, driven by Jeff Jensen’s scalding lead guitar and floating over a chorus of heavenly doo-wop style background vocals. It’s a good-time song with a nod-and-a-wink message that illustrates Kolassa’s canny ability to match a romping tune with an inspirational message. The song also contains the promise of the remainder of the album, which showcases Kolassa and his band’s meandering journey through a variety of musical styles.

Piercing and soulful lead guitar lines weave around a B3 in the slow-burning, minor chord A Good Day for the Blues, a reflection on the blues being just the right musical vehicle for a day when everything has gone wrong. We Gotta swings brightly with a New Orleans jazz vibe, riding along Marc Franklin’s blaring trumpet and Kirk Smothers’ swaggering sax, while the country blues I’ve Seen rides a shimmering harmonica wrapped around a sprightly violin. The jazz lounge romp Sweet Tea pays tribute to a long, tall glass of the southern drink, and the singer of the languorous Slow and Easy Love makes a promise to his lover of a night she’ll never forget. The album opens with the bright Memphis soul swayer I Can’t Help Myself, while the album closes with the poignant She Kept Her Head Up, Kolassa’s moving tribute to his daughter, Kassi, who’s been fighting breast cancer.

If You Can’t Be Good, Be Good at It! demonstrates that Kolassa has nothing to worry about: he’s both a good musician and songwriter and good at it, too! The songs on the album display his passion for the blues, illustrate the breadth of his musical range, and prove that any time is a good time for a Mick Kolassa album.

~ Henry L. Carrigan Jr.
Living Blues
January 2020, Issue#270

Reflections In Blue

Mick Kolassa is, without question, one of the finest songwriters in the business. He is also a fine guitarist, with a voice that suggests years of marinating his vocal cords in bourbon and fine cigars. His latest release, If You Can’t Be Good, Be Good At It, is powerful, soulful, poignant, and decidedly blues. With the exception of two well-chosen covers, he has written all of the tunes on the album…  MORE >>

Jazz Weekly

I love those blindfold tests when the listener is asked if the artist is black or white. Mick Kolassa, who plays guitar and sings, would have stumped me. He sounds like he came out of a STAX session of the 60s with a rough and tumble voice, particularly when teamed with the horns of Marc Franklin/tp and Kirk Smothers/ts on the funky “I Can’t Help Myself”, the blues jumping “We Gotta” and boogaloo-ing “Sweet Tea”. John Blackmon supplies a 60s drum… MORE >>

The Rock Doctor *****

If You Can’t Be Good was recorded in the middle of the pandemic- doing an album that sounds this together is no easy feat.  Mick and Jensen gathered some musical friends from Memphis and surrounding areas and the results I daresay are pure magic… a blues album for today that also carries a sense of blues history with it… MORE >>