Living Blues - pp.44-45
"BACKBONE AND GRISTLE kicks off with the catchy groove of 'Giddy Up'....'Blow Till You Blow' is a vigorous jump blues instrumental....Arnold's songwriting and personal passion make this a memorable disc."
As the years pile up, we seem to be losing more and more authentic bluesmen. But one remaining virtual blues goldmine is Mac Arnold, a gentleman who over the years has played with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters (and even has ties to soul/R&B, having played in a high school band with James Brown). Despite his impressive musical r‚sum‚, Arnold had never issued an album of his own until the arrival of 2006's Nothin' to Prove. Perhaps making up for lost time, he promptly issued a follow-up two years later, Backbone and Gristle. Like its predecessor, Arnold's sophomore effort features a backing band that sounds more akin to such blues rockers as Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jeff Healey than the aforementioned early blues icons. Case in point, such tracks as the title track and "Gitty Up," among others. Also of interest is "Gas Can Story," a voice/guitar ditty which sees Arnold recount how his "gas can guitar" was created (a picture of the instrument can be seen on the front cover of the album). Overall, Backbone and Gristle proves to be an interesting merger of both modern day and authentic blues sounds. ~ Greg Prato