Guitarist Mark Turner's Homebrew is less a band than a platform upon which a swarm of Denver's best-known (and best) blues and R&B players can cut loose. And despite the disc's title, smoke and mirrors aren't required.

The sounds on display here aren't of the gutbucket variety. Instead, the disc presents brassy, frequently up-tempo showtime blues designed with crowd-pleasing in mind. A few of the tracks try too hard to be endearing -- particularly "Infrastructure Blues," a coy number about T-Rex traffic, and the overly cutesy "Down the Tracks." But Erica Brown, one of the area's most underappreciated belters, elevates the raucous "Bad Suspicion" and "Fandango in Paris," a slinky tune that pits her against Turner's string-bending. And A.J. Salas's "Sweet Tooth/Hobcam" is a captivating change of pace that segues from New Orleans-style piano striding to full-fledged blues-rock blowout.

Homebrew goes down smoothly, but it's got quite a kick.


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