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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Monday, November 19, 2018

Big Joe and the Dynaflows Are Throwing a "Rockhouse Party" and Everyone Is Invited!






Big Joe and the Dynaflows Are Throwing a Rockhouse Party and Everyone Is Invited!



New Blues/Roots Album Set for February 15 Release on Severn Records



ANNAPOLIS, MD - Severn Records announces a February 15, 2019, release date for Big Joe and the Dynaflows’s new album, Rockhouse Party, featuring acclaimed blues singer/drummer Big Joe Maher. With distribution by MRI/The Orchard/Sony, Rockhouse Party will be released on both CD and vinyl formats. The colorful album cover graphics were designed by Big Joe’s good friend, Marty Baumann, who works for Disney-Pixar Films.



The new album was produced by Big Joe and Kevin McKendree, who also contributed piano and organ on the sessions, which were recorded at McKendree’s Rockhouse Studio in Franklin, Tennessee (hence the album’s title). The rest of the players on Rockhouse Party included three-time Blues Music Award bassist “Mookie” Brill (who also sings lead vocals for the first time on record), plus the talented guitar tandem of Robert Frahm and Yates McKendree, Kevin’s then- 16-year old son (who’s now a ripe old 17). Another teenage phenom, Erin Coburn, adds her tasty guitar licks on one song and backing vocals on three more. The tracks showcase both a number of original songs as well as several cool covers.



Rockhouse Party represents my love of pure blues and R& B,” states Big Joe Maher. “The songs I write come from my heart and tell the same story as all the great blues artists have done for the last 100 years: the story of life!”



Big Joe is also proud and honored to announce that he’s playing drums on Delbert McClinton’s upcoming CD and will be performing for the 15th time on McClinton’s legendary “Sandy Beaches Cruise” in early 2019. Additionally, Maher has been playing gigs with his long-time buddy Anson Funderburgh, and will be performing with him in Europe next month.



Rockhouse Party also reunites Big Joe Maher with Severn Records, the label that released his 2011 CD, You Can’t Keep a Big Man Down, 1998’s I’m Still Swingin’ (which won a Washington Area Music Association award for “Best Blues Recording”) and his 2000 release, All Night Long.



“This album was something I have wanted to do for a while,” relates Maher. “It brings together some of my favorite musicians - the McKendrees for one. I gave Kevin his start in the music business with his first gig with the Dynaflows back in 1987. We have played together off and on since then; and then his genius son, who I have known since his birth, he’s simply the best. Only way I can describe Yates is that he’s a 50-year-old man in a 17-year-old body. I have known Robert Frahm since he was about 17 and now at 37 is a true bluesman on the guitar. I met Tom “Mookie” Brill playing the now-defunct Double Door Inn in Charlotte, North Carolina, in about 1982. From the minute I met him, we hit it off. We are kindred souls who think alike, love great singing and follow the same deal. If you can sing we love you! Tom had never sung solo on a record before and I felt it was my duty to feature him on this project. The end result - he knocks it out of the park!”



Based in the Washington, DC area, Big Joe Maher has been performing blues and jazz for almost 50 years. In his high school jazz band, he was able to play with such jazz greats as Clark Terry, Urbie Green, Mundell Lowe and James Moody, which helped develop his innate style of swing playing that permeates his music to this day. Over time, he’s shared the stage and backed up a diverse group of blues, R&B and soul performers such as Jimmy Witherspoon, Willie Dixon, Lazy Lester, Bullmoose Jackson, James “Thunderbird” Davis, Nappy Brown, Otis Rush and Earl King, among others. In the late ‘80s, after performing (and managing) a nine-piece DC swing band, The Uptown Rhythm Kings, as well as several years as the drummer in the Tom Principato Band, Joe formed his own five-piece jump-blues group, Big Joe & the Dynaflows. In between touring and recording sessions, Joe was musical coordinator for Mick Fleetwood’s club in Alexandria, Virginia, in the mid-90s. His knowledge of local and national blues and jazz performers made him a natural for that gig, and the club was booked with top-notch talent during his tenure. Joe’s also produced a number of blues, jazz and R&B albums, including one by local DC saxophone legend Joe Stanley.



In addition to his previous releases on Severn Records, among the other labels Big Joe has recorded for include Black Top Records out of New Orleans (his Layin’ in the Alley album won the 1994 WAMA award for “Best blues Recording”), as well as the DC-based Powerhouse label, which released his Good Rockin’ Daddy CD.



“I have always loved blues; it’s like an infatuation with me,” Maher proclaims. “I have been blessed to have played with some of the greatest blues and R& B artists ever. All in all, this CD is ME.....this is the music I love and will play till my last breath.....so sit back pour your beverage and let the Rockhouse Party begin !!”


Kirk Fletcher - Hold On - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Hold On, from Kirk Fletcher and it's quite good. Opening with R&B style track, Two Steps Forward, Fletcher shows his power as both a soulful lead singer and excellent lead guitar player. His guitar style is warm like cray, fluid like Clapton and funky like Hendrix but all original. Super opener. Sad Sad Way has a Jimmy Reed style with plenty of enthusiasm, hot guitar riffs, and super backing by Matt Brown on drums and Jonny Henderson on keys. One of my favorite tracks on the release is soulful ballad, The Answer with warm, rich guitar accompaniment over a soft bed of organ and Fletcher's solid vocals. Fletcher really knows how to milk the blues from his guitar and this track is an excellent example of his chops. Really nice. Time's Ticking is a great slower blues/rock number with clever drumming which, with organ tension sets a terrific stage for Fletcher to unleash the fury...and unleash he does. Terrific! Dupree is a super jazzy/blues track in the manner of JG Watson or WW Washington. Excellent! Wrapping the release is a terrific soul track, Hold On with beautiful backing vocals by Jade McCrea and an excellent guitar interlude by Fletcher. Excellent closer. 

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Stony Plain Records artist: Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne - Inspired By The Blues - New Release Review


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Inspired By The Blues, by Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne and it swings. Opening with solid blues opener, I Know I'd Be Playing The Blues, Wayne on piano, organ and lead vocal leads the way backed by Russell Jackson on bass, Joey DiMarco on drums, and Yuji Ihara on guitars. Billy Branch adds some real nice licks on harmonica to spice up this fine opener. Opening it up on Start Rockin' Dave Babcock on sax and Bob Tildesley on trumpet pump up the action and Wayne's piano playing really rolls, balanced nicely against Yuji's guitar. Laying way back on I Like That Woman, Wayne sets a great pace on piano and his vocals are excellent. Jump track, Jimmy and Johnny has great feel with a trumpet solo by Tildesley and really nice piano work by Wayne. Very cool. Lake Country Boogie, led by the warm sax work of Babcock gives Wayne a wide open road to ply his trade. Wayne isn't shy and shows he really is the blues boss and Babcock stays toe to toe with him making this a terrific instrumental. an Old Brick Wall is another great boogie but with rich warm guitar chords and super soloing by Duke Robillard, great organ work by Wayne and power sax by Babcock. One of my favorite tracks, That Raggedy Shack, on the release features a nice paired lead vocal over a solid boogie beat. Babcock hits the sax solo square and the band is tight. Wrapping the release is a traditional take on Georgia On My Mind with solid vocals over electric piano by Wayne, Mati Vaarmann on Hammond, Mait Paldra on bass, Raul Ukareda on guitar, Jevgeni Lamba on guitar and Jaak Ahelik on drums. Veery solid closer for a solid release. 

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