Get this crazy baby off my head!


Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime

Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime - Troublemaker - 2003 - IREN Records

Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime have become one of the leading acts on the Russian blues scene. In April of 2002 the band released their debut album, "Heavy Steppin." It received good reviews and has received much international airplay. "Troublemaker" is now regarded to be one of the best Russian blues records, and was included in the Top 25 albums of the Austrailian "Blues Beat" program in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the band went to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge, astounding listeners at the Blues City Café with their terrific covers of "I Am Ready" and "Dirty Girl", they then rocked the house with blues originals such as "Don't Miss Your Train", and "She's Dangerous." This is a great blues album, highly recommended by A.O.O.F.C, and yet again, proves that the blues is a universal musical language.


1.Troublemaker (A.Shomakhov)
2.I am ready (W.Dixon)
3.Dirty girl (Jimmy Vaughan)
4.T-bone shuffle (Walker)
5.Tick-tock (A.Shomakhov)
6.Don't miss your train (A.Shomakhov)
7.I don't know (A.Shomakhov)
8.She's dangerous (A.Shomakhov)
9.Give me a sign (A.Shomakhov)
10.In the cold light (A.Shomakhov)
11.Troublemaker (slight return) (A.Shomakhov)


Arsen Shomakhov - guitar, vocals
Aslan Zhantuyev - Bass
Sultanbek (Bek) Mamyshev - drums
Grigory Martirosyan - tenor sax 3, 5, 10


I have for sometime now been searching for good blues and blues/rock artists based out of the old Soviet Union, as this is one of the areas not well represented on our web site. While my search has up to now been fruitless, I am pleased to announce that I now have two that I will be recommending to you. The first comes via an excellent tip from one of our readers who sometime back alerted me to the outstanding work of Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime. Arsen Shomakhov is a world class guitarist, and at least based upon his work on "Troublemaker", very much an electric blues guitarist. While most of the modern blues/rock guitarists demonstrate more of a Stevie Ray/Hendrix flavoring, Shomakhov manages to blend these two influences with a huge dose of T Bone Walker, creating a most enjoyable sound. He is supported on this set by the outstanding rhythm section Ragtime comprised of Aslan Zhantiuyev on bass and Sultanbek (Bek) Mamyshev on drums. The 11 tracks on the CD are 8 Arsen Shomakhov original tunes combined with 3 well chosen covers, demonstrating that Shomakhov is also a very capable song writer. The CD is well engineered, varied in tempo and style, contains some of the better electric blues instrumentals I have heard, and in general is excellent from beginning to end. The set opens up with the stinging electric blues number (and Shomakhov original) title track and just continues to build momentum throughout. Along with the title track, some of my other favorites include a wonderful remake of Aaron Walker's "T Bone Shuffle", the fabulous electric blues tune "Give Me A Sign", and a great instrumental track "Don't Miss Your Train". But, as mentioned before, this is a CD well worth consuming from beginning to end. If you are a fan of guitar driven electric blues style music, "Troublemaker" is going to be a MUST OWN for you. "Troublemaker" from Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime receives my highest possible recommendation to you. This is a brilliant artist whose career I will be watching closely and one from whom I expect to see and hear great things in the future. The CD is available online from our good friends at CD Baby (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/shomakhov). You may also visit the band online at www.arsenic.blues.ru. © Tom Branson, Bluesrockers, October 2005

If this were a word association game and I had to respond to "Russia", my impulses would probably lead me to say "Khrushchev", "Cold War", "Communism", "Drago" (Rocky IV), "Vodka or "Red". The word "Blues" would never enter my mind........until now that is. Interestingly enough, had this been the era of the cold war, this CD would have been delivered to me by the FBI instead of the USPS. OK, enough of my idiosyncrasies and on to the music. RAGTIME is a band that has made quite a name for themselves on the Russian blues scene, and now they are being discovered by the American Blues Community. They recently created quite a stir in Memphis, TN as representatives of "blues.ru" at the International Blues Challenge. The band is led by singer/songwriter ARSEN SHOMAKHOV on guitar and vocals and the rest of the band consists of ASLAN ZHANTUYEV on bass, SULTANBEK "BEK" MAMYSHEV on drums and as a guest on several tracks, GRIGORY MARTIROSYAN on tenor sax. The band chose three very well known covers - "I AM READY", "DIRTY GIRL" and "T-BONE SHUFFLE" - to compliment the eight outstanding originals by ARSEN on "TROUBLEMAKER". I compliment their decision to do this and I compliment their choices of covers as well. Doing covers by Willie Dixon and T-Bone Walker requires a bit of guts. Do them bad and you leave a sour sound in some purists ears, automatically making it hard to like the rest of the CD. On the other hand, do them well and you make a statement. RAGTIME made a statement. The band is secure enough with their musical talent to feature four instrumentals and I enjoyed every one of them. "TICK-TOCK" is a slightly progressive, slightly funky number which features lots of great bass by ASLAN. "DON'T MISS YOUR TRAIN" is a hot, fast paced track featuring ARSEN and SULTANBEK putting on a two man show on guitar and drums respectively. To say "SHE'S DANGEROUS" is an all out jam would be putting it mildly. This one features all three of these fine young musicians absolutely on fire. "I DON'T KNOW", in addition to the three previously mentioned covers, is one of the originals on which ARSENS vocals can be appreciated. For a relatively young man and one whose roots do not stem too deep into the genre, he sings the blues with the confidence of a Chicago veteran. His guitar playing also highlights this one. The title track, "TROUBLEMAKER", closes as well as opens the CD. This track shows several different styles of ARSEN'S guitar playing abilities and clearly establishes this fine player as a true guitar virtuoso. His is a name that, one day, could become a household name in the blues community. Too bad, that forty years ago, our countries didn't use blues musicians as ambassadors. Had they, the Cold War would have been non-existent. © Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro, Blues Editor at Mary4Music.com October 2005

Unlike their debut album, the new album of Arsen Shomakhov and Ragtime contains only three covers. The choice itself is quite unusual. "I Am Ready" is a common song in the repetoire of hundreds of blues bands around the world. Arsen has a difficult task to find his own approach to this well-known song; he put aside the aggression of the original and turned it into a viscous and captivating shuffle. Another cover, "T-Bone Shuffle", is not over-played in Russia, but its original version is too well-known. One has to be impudent to choose a song so much associated with the classic, but the way the band plays the song is far from being impudent. Instead, it is full of implicit passion. And the third cover is Jimmie Vaughan's "Dirty Girl", a soft and tasteful improvisation in the manner of cool swing. The whole album represents an original mix of blues shuffles, funky rhythms and jazz concept of improvisation. Arsen sings without accent; also, unlike many of our Russian blues guitarist-singers, Arsen has a very good voice. The album is a high quality blues product, which is so rare for Russian blues. The CD cover made by the guitarist's wife, Zhanna Shomakhova, adds a final stylish touch to the release. Russian experts say that Arsen Shomakhov's blues possess virtuosity, novelty, and high emotional expressiveness. Looks like Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime are going to become big. "Troublemaker" © Andrei Evdokimov (Russian blues journalist)

Arsen Shomakhov hails from Russia and "Troublemaker" is his new 11-track CD album. In his home country he is widely reckoned to be the Number 1 hotshot Blues guitar slinger...on hearing his playing for the first time you soon recognize that you are listening to an extremely accomplished player. Arsen lines up one track each by Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker & Jimmie Vaughan...the remaining 8 cuts are his own compositions, a mix of songs and non-vocal pieces. Notable by their impact & presence are Aslan Zhantuyev (bass) & Sultanbek "Bek" Mamyshev (drums) with very tasteful tenor sax on 3 tracks by Grigory Martirosyan. From swing to shuffle to dirty funk, Arsen Shomakhov & his band have all bases covered. I predict that folks further afield will soon begin to experience Mr. Shomakhov's soulful delivery. "Troublemaker" © Charlie Gray (bluesfreepress.org.)

Being a blues radio DJ for 10 years, you get some great artists that seem to "raise the bar" a few notches, and when you thought you'd heard it all, along comes this Russian bluesman, who goes right over the top. Such is young Russian blues player Arsen Shomakhov, and Ragtime. Blues for me is "feel it in the guts" stuff, and from the first track, that's exactly where it got me. Not only can this guy write great new blues material, but sing it, and put his brand on it as well. Two albums I received, and they haven't left my player (except for airplay). Now, we all know blues is world-wide, boy, and aren't we glad. Russian blues has given us Arsen Shomakhov! If you're still a "non-believer", check out some "sound bites" on his website, and your ears will thank you for it. Arsen, my man, go forth and multiply, more music of this calibre will only enhance the way people perceive our great genre of music that we call "BLUES"... "Troublemaker" © Terry Iredale (blues radio DJ, Australia)

When the blues had its humble beginning in the Mississippi Delta, who would have imagined that its journey would take it to international places like Russia? Don't expect jazz piano from this proficient trio, but rather innovative blues-rock with sophisticated influences. Throughout eleven songs, you will hear everything from rollicking Texas shuffles ("Don't Miss Your Train") to contemporary jazz-fusion ("In the Cold Light"). Arsen Shomakhov's 44-minute release features eight originals and three covers. His versions of "I'm Ready" and "Dirty Girl" are fresh, and welcome you to listen up. The latter is used as a framework to showcase sizzling guitar. Shomakhov seems less inhibited on the original numbers. With five instrumentals, it is obvious he is more comfortable just playing his guitar. This triad comes with a refreshing approach. Their primary focus is the enticing guitar and distinct-ful songwriting of Shomakhov. Perhaps there is too much acknowledgement of Shomakhov's Texas influences, yet you can't deny his controlled guitar work is full of feeling. This Russian doesn't impress with muscle, but rather with substance. Missing your favorite Russian NHL hockey stars this season? Let these comrades cure your blues. "Troublemaker" - © Tim Holck (journalist, Canada, "Blues Beat")


Arsen Shomakhov is a songwriter, singer and guitar player from Russia.brbrArsen Shomakhov Russian guitar player, singer and songwriter Arsen Shomakhov formed the blues band Ragtime (after the E.L. Doctorow novel) in 1991, and after relentless rehearsals in the non-blues town of Nalchik, they subsequently became one of the leading acts on the Russian blues scene. In 2001, their participation in the St. Petersburg Neva Delta Blues Festival led to a series of gigs at the best blues venues of Moscow. April of 2002 saw the release of their debut album, “Heavy Steppin’”, which led to gigs at venues such as the legendary B.B. King Club in Moscow. The album received good press and enjoyed international airplay. A performance at the All-Russia Spring 2003 Blues Festival in Moscow prompted an invitation to the first International Moscow Blues Festival in September of 2003. That same month they released their second album, “Troublemaker”, which they presented at the renowned Forte Blues Club in Moscow in December of that same year. “Troublemaker” is now considered to be one of the best Russian blues records, and was included in the Top 25 albums of the Australian “Blues Beat” program in 2003 and 2004. In February of 2005, the band traveled to Memphis to participate in the International Blues Challenge under the auspices of “blues.ru”, the Russian blues community. Listeners at the Blues City Café were stunned as Arsen tore the place up with his original songs, “Don’t Miss Your Train”, “Too Hot”, and “Dangerous”. To use the American vernacular – he killed. Arsen's third album, "Dangerous", was released on the Blues Leaf label in February of 2006, documenting this young player's ever-expanding prowess on both the guitar and in crafting original songs. Featured on playlists such as "ElectricBlues” and “Blue IceWater” Radio, Arsen continues to impress the West as a talent to watch. His move to Moscow in early 2007 places him at the center of Russia’s white-hot blues scene – the sparks are already flying, and it’s going to be a very good year. © http://radio.artistopia.com/Music/Artists/Bio.asp?ID=1351