CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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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Friday, September 29, 2017

Sweetspot Records artist: Al Basile - Quiet Money - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Quiet Money, from Al Basile and it has great body!  Basile, hot cornet player and legendary first trumpet with Roomful of Blues is back with Duke Robillard on guitar, Mark Teixeira on drums, Brad Hallen on bass, Bruce Bears on piano, Doc Chanonhouse on trumpet, Rich Lataille on tenor sax and Doug James on tenor and bari saxes. Opening with Blues Got Blues, Basile and Robillard lead the way with balanced lead lines making for a solid opener. On Simple Ain't Easy, Robillard lays out some really tasty lead work under Basile's vocals giving it great feel. Basile steps up with muted cornet and plays off the tempo for super accent. On title track, Quiet Money, James has the bari out and the heft really sets the track. With an easy swing, Basile's vocals ride the groove on this laid back number. Put Some Salt On It, a prime 12 bar number, Basile lays in a real nice cornet lead, complimenting his vocals and Robillard's guitar work is stinging. Jump track, The Time Is Now, has a snappy pace and loose, flamboyant guitar riffs by Robiolard, and well punctuated cornet lead by Basile.  Swing track, I Woulda Been Wrong is one of my favorites on the release with signature guitar riffs by Robillard and some of Basile's best vocals on the release. Robillard really digs deep and lays out some of the most expressive riffs on Not Today.  James really steps up with a fat sax solo on True To Form paired nicely with solos by Robillard and Basile. Wrapping the release is ballad, Who's Gonna Close My Eyes? Featuring the vocals of Basile deep bari work by James, Bears piano finesse and a melodic solo by Basile, this is a solid closer to a solid release.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trevor Sewell - Calling Nashville - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Calling Nashville, from Trevor Sewell and it builds on his last release, Calling Your Name. Opening with Some Day, singer /songwriter and guitarist, Sewell crafts a track with traces of pop, Charlie Daniels and Jeff Beck for his new release backed by Kellen Michael Weinrich on fiddle and Trevor Brewis on drums. Janis Ian has the floor on Fade To Grey in a vocal duet with Sewell and piano on this cool jazz number. Blues rocker, Matter Of Time has a taste of Dire Straits with grinding guitar tones and ultra  cool vocals. With a quick shuffle, You Ain't What I'm Looking For has a super feel and snappy guitar riffs. Stand Next To Him pulls in flavors of western styling and the sounds of the range. Sewell's guitar finesse and the fiddle work of Weinrich pull this off nicely with bass by Justin Kimball and Brewis on bass. Very cool. Wrapping the release is ballad, Shadows, featuring Janis Ian on piano and Sewell showing his vocal prowess. A solid track, a good closer for a solid release.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

American Blues Artists Group artist: Dudley Taft - Summer Rain - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Summer Rain, from Dudley Taft and it's a powerhouse. Opening with Flying On Love, a power blues rocker, Taft is back with a vengeance.
Heavy overtones, distortion soaked guitar riffs, pounding drums and beefy bass is the ticket. Taft on lead vocal and guitar, is backed by Kasey Williams on bass, Jason Patterson on drums and Reese Wynans on organ. Title track, Summer Rain, is a strong rocker with a memorable melody, strong guitar riffs, nicely harmonized vocals and super drumming by Mike Taponga. I particularly like Edge Of Insane with it's simple vocal and guitar pairing and cool hook as well as some of the best vocals on the release. One of my favorites on the release is Live or Die with it's tone saturated guitar riffs and classic Robin Trower like, rock overtones. This is a track that players will dig into. Very cool. Another standout track is Don't Let It Fade with it's lumbering bop groove, warm vocals, smoky guitar riffs and cool organ. Very nice. Come With Me is another track with a lot of oomph. A wall of sound, great guitar lines and a super melody gives this track just the right feel. I Lost My Way has a haunting melody giving it the right foundation for a super guitar fed melodic solo and a cool rock ballad. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Find My Way Back Home, a heavy footed rocker with nicely blended vocals and strong blues rock roots. This is a strong, evenly balanced release and possibly Taft's best effort.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lucky Bear Records artist: Rob Lutes - Walk In The Dark - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Walk In The Dark, from Rob Lutes and it's quite good. Opening with folk/blues track, A Little Room, Lutes weaves his tale, singing and playing acoustic guitar, joined by Rob MacDonald on guitar, Mark Nelson on drums, Andrew Horton on bass and Bob Stagg on piano. One of my favorite tracks, There's No Way To Tell You That Tonight, is a blues infused rocker with solid guitar soloing and includes Guy Belanger on harmonica. A strong melody and Lutes solid vocals give this track substantial girth. Another particularly cool track is Rocky Mountain Time, a simple ballad with a waltz time. Lutes has a way of telling a story and composing a tune that just sits right. Think JJ Cale and Mark Knopler. Country western / bluegrass styling makes Rabbit another standout track featuring the violin work of Josh Zubot and Joe Grass on mandolin. Very nice. A happy feeling track, Believe In Something, will have you bopping in your seat with loose vocals and flashy, hot club style picking on the guitar. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Better Past, a bluesy shuffle but retaining that rural bluesy feel. This may be one of those releases that you have a hard time putting your finger on why you like it...but you really do. Super job.



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Monday, September 25, 2017

Root Tone Records artist: Dennis Johnson - Rhythmland - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Rhythmland, from Dennis Johnson and it is a slide player's dream. Opening with Walkin Blues, Johnson shows that super smooth sliding technique that he's know for on this updated and fast tempo'd remake. Featuring Tim Metz on drums, Jonathan Stoyanoff on bass and Craig Long on keys, this is a smooth opener. Timbale has a cool, Latin beat and a nice pop melody. Fillmore Street is a clever blues rocker with a snappy shuffle beat. Johnson's vocals and super slide work, coupled with Long's piano work makes for a really cool track. My favorite track on the release is High Heel Shoes with it's driving beat and smoking slide work. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Revolution, a stripped down rocker with some of my favorite vocals and basic rock rhythms. A super closer for a solid release. 

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Nola Blue Records artist: Benny Turner - My Brother's Blues - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, My Brother's Blues, from Benny Turner and it's great! Benny pay homage to his big brother and best friend, Freddie King and does it with style. Opening with Big Legged Woman, Benny is on lead vocal and bass, showing excellent vocal style and tone. A punchy horn section featuring Barney Floyd on trumpet and Jason Mingledorff on sax really sets the track off and the solid foot pedal of Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander and the riding organ work of Keiko Komaki plays nicely with rhythm guitar fills by Derwin "Big D" Perkins and lead guitar runs by June Yamagagishi. Excellent! Have You Ever Loved A Woman is a definite highlight on this release with soulful vocals by Turner, backed by Earl Smith and suppressed but critical horn work and organ by Davell Crawford, and Jack Miele plays some real tasty guitar lead to ice the cake.  Swinging I'm Tore Down features Otis Clay, Turner and Marva Wright on lead vocals and it's a powerful threesome. June Yamagishi has lead guitar on this one and with Freddie King like flavor, the track rocks. Another of my favorites on the release is You've Got To Love Her With A Feeling when Turner's vocals are particularly strong and Floyd and Mingledorff are so tight it hurts. Joe Krown's piano and organ work is super and Yamagishi is pure in the slot. Mingledorff really shines on sax on See See Baby, a cool laid back boogie. Carolyn Wonderland sits in on Mojo Boogie with some great slide guitar and Krown's piano work is stellar. On Wee Baby Blues, a low slung blues Wonderland and Kathy Murray join Turner for the richest vocals on the release. Turner has lead guitar on this one and solo lap steel is handled by Roosevelt Collier. Very nice! BB King's Ghetto Woman is another super track with super bluesy guitar lead by Yamagishi and super horn reinforcement by Floyd and Mingledorff. Again, Turner's lead vocals are strong and undeniable. Wrapping the release is a powerful rendition of Don Nix's Same Old Blues. Turner is at his most soulful backed by the gospel like piano styling of Chizuko Yoshihiro. Tracy Griffin on trumpet and Greg Dawson on sax add real fullness and Yamagishi's lead guitar work is inspired on this super closer for a strong release. Very cool!

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pretty Good For A Girl Records artist: Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers - The Eastwest Sessions - New release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 15, 2017), The Eastwest Sessions, by Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers and it's a lot of fun. Opening with Vinyl, a high stepper with a rock solid bottom, Mindi Abair has it going on lead vocal and hot sax. Backed by Randy Jacobs on guitar, Rodney Lee on keys, Derek Frank on bass and Third Richardson on drums all joining Sweet Pea Atkinson on backing vocals. Droning bass line and pumped up sax shows the way on instrumental Not That Kind Of Girl. Pop track, Play To Win has a solid melody line and shows Abair's vocal strength.  Pretty Good For A Girl has got to be Abair's trademark track with it's practical lyrics, blistering sax work and hot contributions from Joe Bonamassa. My favorite track on the release, Let Me Hear It From You, features Sweet Pea Atkinson on lead vocal. Excellent soul tune with nice backing vocals and real soul town sax soloing. With the feel of Jr Walker, Live My Life has a lot of spank with sassy sax work, some real spicy guitar riffs from Jacobs and a funky bottom. Bluesy, She Don't Cry No More has a super New Orleans deep feeling with warm backing vocals and featuring singer/songwriter Fantastic Negrito on vocal and Abair on wailing sax. Very nice! Wrapping the release is I Love To Play The Saxophone is a lighthearted pop tune along the lines of "Don't Worry, Be Happy". With an almost Boots Randolph tone, this "girl" wails. This is a cool release. Check it out. 

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

OUT THIS FRIDAY (9/22): EIlen Jewell has the 'Down Hearted Blues' on Signature Sounds




EILEN JEWELL STEPS BACK IN TIME
FOR DOWN HEARTED BLUES,
RELEASING SEPT. 22 ON SIGNATURE SOUNDS
Sax great Curtis Stigers contributes to renditions of unearthed blues treasures
by Otis Rush, Memphis Minnie, Howlin’ Wolf and other favorites

Eilen Jewell (photo by Joanna Chattman)
BOISE, Idaho — Eilen Jewell laughs when told her label’s president called her a musicologist. But she confirms she and her husband and bandmate, drummer Jason Beek, have a passion for studying American music.
 “We really love to uncover the past. It’s almost like digging for buried treasure,” she says. “For me, that’s where music is at. I like all kinds of music as long as there’s the word ‘early’ in front of it.” For her new album, Down Hearted Blues, releasing Sept. 22, 2017 on Signature Sounds, she and Beek unearthed 12 vintage gems written or made famous by an array of artists both renowned and obscure, from Willie Dixon and Memphis Minnie to Charles Sheffield and Betty James. Then, like expert stonecutters, they chiseled them into exciting new shapes and forms, honoring history while breathing new life into each discovery.
Known for what allmusic.com describes as a “country-flavored and blues-infused version of contemporary folk (which also can include healthy doses of rockabilly and surf),” Jewell’s discography includes several albums of original material and one of Loretta Lynn covers. Jewell has also recorded two albums with her eight-piece gospel-group side project the Sacred Shakers. But this latest effort, which she and Beek co-produced, with engineering by pianist/banjo player Steve Fulton and Pat Storey, is her first collection of blues — despite the fact that she credits the genre for igniting her musical curiosity in the first place.
That’s because, even though she’s dreamed of recording a blues album since discovering Howlin’ Wolf as a Boise, Idaho, teen, Jewell had to convince herself she could — and should.
“I’ve always had this sense of self-doubt about it,” she admits. “Like, who am I to sing the blues? I’m a white girl from Idaho. I don’t know if I have a right to do that.” But she also remembers an old friend’s advice: “Everyone has the right to do what they love in this world, regardless of who they are and what background they come from.”
Finally, she tired of waging her internal battle and decided to let the “do what you love” side win. It was a wise choice — particularly because she’s hardly appropriating or imitating anyone’s style; on the contrary, Jewell makes each song her own, while paying homage to her beloved inspirations. It also should be noted that American blues music, like its country of origin, is a melting pot of influences, and that all music evolves from what came before — and that, by recording these songs, she’s helping to strengthen the legacy of those who created and popularized them.
Some of them she heard while listening to her husband’s Radio Boise show, Spoonful. The pair also cite John Funke’s Backwoods, on Cambridge’s WMBR-FM, as a source of discovery. In fact, the couple’s mutual attraction to musical obscurities led directly to their relationship. A friend who knew of their common interest made the introduction, correctly guessing they’d hit it off. 
That happened in Boston, where Jewell lived for nine years after leaving Boise to attend college in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then migrating to Los Angeles and finally, to the East Coast. Jumping into Boston’s roots-music scene, she began hunting for a guitarist. Beek pointed her to Jerry Miller, a bona-fide Boston legend known for his versatility. They’ve been playing together ever since; she chose some Down Hearted Blues tracks, such as “Crazy Mixed Up World,” a Dixon tune recorded by Little Walter, and Albert Washington’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” to showcase Miller.
On the latter, his notes bend around her supple, dramatic minor-key vocals, which slide in after a punchy sax and bass intro. Jewell, who titled a previous album Queen of the Minor Key, says its “scary, creepy” tone fit right in with so many songs they’ve done, it already felt like an old friend the first time she heard it. That horn, by the way, comes courtesy of Curtis Stigers, a fellow Boisean who had several soul hits before segueing into jazz. A fan who pumps her music through the PA before his own shows, he also sits in with her band when they’re both in town. (Jewell and Beek moved to Boise in 2012 to be closer to her family and start their own.)
“He played with us at a local festival and we loved what he did so much we asked him, very spur of the moment, to come to the studio and record with us. He literally dropped what he was doing and said, ‘I’ll be there in 15 minutes,’” she recalls, marveling about how he created a horn section with overdubs — chartless, on songs he’d never heard.
He’s also on “You Know My Love,” another Dixon tune popularized by Otis Rush. Jewell’s torchy rendition emphasizes its spooky message: “You think you’re gonna get on with your life, but there’s this thing between us that will never die; it’s always gonna come back and haunt you. 
Laughing, she says, “I can definitely attest to that being a real thing in life.”
Other picks, such as Dixon’s “You’ll Be Mine,” have a more personal connection. She came to it through Howlin’ Wolf, whom she found while rooting through her dad’s garage-stashed album collection. The minute she heard him, she says, “I knew what I was supposed to be listening to.”
By then, she had absorbed the classics — Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Doors — and noticed her favorite rockers had something in common: they were influenced by early blues artists. Down the rabbit hole she went, finding Bessie Smith, represented here via the Lovie Austin and Alberta Hunter-penned title tune Smith turned into a hit, then Memphis Minnie (“Nothing in Rambling”) and “Big” Maybelle Smith (“Don't Leave Poor Me”).
“I’m always drawn toward anything that women accomplish in the musical world, especially of previous eras,” Jewell says. “It was amazing that women could do anything back then, when it was so frowned upon.” 
Jewell, who also plays guitar and Hammond organ on these tracks, claims she’d be happy singing nothing but Big Maybelle songs — if they weren’t such a heavy vocal workout. On the propulsive “Don’t Leave Poor Me” she practically dares her voice to leap up high and swoop down low before stepping aside for the pulsating guitar-and-percussion bridge.
Her easy glide from note to note on the back-porch picker “Nothing in Rambling” contrasts with that style — and with lyrics expressing the difficulties of life on the road (a life that now includes daughter Mavis, already a world traveler at age 3) — further highlighting the smooth/raw dichotomy inherent not only to this album, but the genre itself.
While Jewell doesn’t exhibit whiskey-scratched vocal tendencies, she can certainly make a gutbucket lose some splinters — or beguile with silky sexiness. It’s as if she’s doing a one-woman play, slipping into a different persona with each song — a feat that becomes even more impressive when she reveals these tracks were recorded in only two days, live, and that Miller and upright bass player Shawn Supra hadn’t even heard some of them beforehand. That’s how spontaneous it actually was. They just happened to book some studio time during a free day in Boise, and had so much fun playing these songs they decided to make an album.
“It really felt serendipitous, like what was supposed to happen was happening,” Jewell says. “I finally gave myself permission to do what I wanted to do, and the universe supported me.” 

EILEN JEWELL U.S. TOUR DATES
Thurs., Aug. 10  Bellingham, WA   Subdued Stringband Jamboree
Fri., Aug. 11  Portland, OR  Mississippi Studios
Sat., Aug. 12  Ashland, OR West Coast Country Music Festival
Wed., Aug. 23  Woodbridge, NJ  Woodbridge Wednesdays
Thurs., Aug. 24  Fairfax, VA Evenings on the Ellipse
Fri., Aug. 25  Raleigh, NC Stag’s Head; co-bill with Jeffrey Foucault 
Sat., Aug. 26  Black Mountain, NC  Jam in the Trees
Sun., Aug. 27  Decatur, GA  Eddie’s Attic
Wed., Aug. 30  Charlotte, NC  Neighborhood Theatre
Thur., Aug. 31  Richmond, VA  The Tin Pan
Fri., Sept. 1 Kennett Square, PA  Kennett Flash
Sat., Sept. 2  Jim Thorpe, PA  Mauch Chunck Opera House
Sun., Sept. 3  Hudson, NY  Club Helsinki
Mon., Sept. 4  North Truro, MA  Payomet Performing Arts Center
Wed., Sept. 6  Portland, ME  One Longfellow Square
Thurs., Sept. 7 Exeter, NH  The Word Barn
Fri., Sept. 8  Turners Falls, MA  The Shea Theater
Sat., Sept. 9  Collinsville, CT  Bridge Street
Fri., Oct. 6  Mifflinburg, PA  Rusty Rail Brewing Company
Sat., Oct. 7  Blairstown, NJ  Roy’s Hall
Sun., Oct. 8  Ithaca, NY La Tourelle
Tues., Oct. 10  Boston, MA City Winery Boston; matinee show (4 p.m.)
Thurs., Oct. 12  Washington, DC  The Hamilton
Fri., Oct. 13  Philadelphia, PA  World Cafe Live; w/ Miss Tess 
Sat., Oct. 14  Piermont, NY  The Turning Point
Sun., Oct. 15  New York, NY  City Winery
# # #
HEAR NOW: PopMatters premiered title track, "Downhearted Blues": 

"Listen"




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Bruce Katz Band on Tour, Kicks off Headlining Big Buggs Island Blues Bash




BRUCE KATZ BAND HIT THE ROAD FOR FALL EAST COAST TOUR; HAMMOND B-3 KEYBOARDIST/IN-DEMAND SESSION PLAYER IS 4-TIME BMA NOMINEE LATE OF BUTCH TRUCKS & THE FREIGHT TRAIN, ALLMAN BROS SPIN-OFF BAND LES BRERS

Performs Locally: BIG BUGGS ISLAND BLUES BASH - Sat., Sept. 30



  (Clarksville, VA) -Bruce Katz, legendary Hammond B-3 organist/keyboardist and four-time Blues Music Award nominee, and his Bruce Katz Band, hit the road for a Fall East Coast Tour, with their first date headlining the 3rd Annual Big Buggs Island Blues Bash, the Lake at Robbins Ballpark, 104 Woodland Dr., Saturday, September 30. 2pm-10pm. Tickets $30. in advance, $35. at the door. Info: (919) 451-4356 or visit www.bbibb.org.

     In addition to leading the Bruce Katz Band, Katz has performed with the Delbert McClinton Band, Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, and John Hammond, the latter whom he still plays with on occasion. This past Summer found Katz bringing his cool 'jam-band' sounds to Riverfront Fest, Roots Rhythm & Blues Fest, and famed BB King's Blues Club in New York City. Katz - who was a member of the Gregg Allman Band from 2007-2013 - continues to tour as a member of Les Brers, featuring former members of the famed Allman Bros. band, and was a full-time member of Butch Trucks and the Freight Train, fronted by the legendary ex-Allman Bros. drummer who passed away last January.






   

Cassie Keenum & Rick Randlett - Hauntings - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (9/23/17), Hauntings from Cassie Keenum & Rick Randlett and it's aninteresting mixture of blues, gospel and country. Opening with Seventh Day, Keenum is upfront on lead vocal adding acoustic guitar and Randlett adds interesting lap steel work. One More Last Time gets a Latin/rock feel with the addition of Little Mike's cool harp work, Rusty Valentine on drums and Nicole Wagner on bass. Shuffle track, All Along has a cool guitar solo to compliment Keenum's powerful vocals. Not a big fan of Leonard Cohen, but Randlett's slide work on his Hallelujah is pretty cool! On She's Gone, a duet by Keenum and Randlett is my favorite track on the release with just the right blend of texture and tension. Minute Man is a cool swinger with tidy guitar riffs by Randlett. With it's up tempo shuffle feel and laid back soloing, it hits the mark. Wrapping the release is hill country style blues track, How Long, with a modern feel.



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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tone Center Records artist: Jing Chi - Supremo - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the to be released (October 27, 2017) recording, Supremo, by Jing Chi. After a 13 year break Jing Chi, featuring Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip and Vinnie Colaiuta is delivering their 4th record for Tone Center Records and it's a doozy. Opening with The Majestic, this band is off the hook with a fusion sound made in heaven. Ford has incredible chops and Colaiuta (who coincidentally grew up only a few miles from my childhood home) is one of the best drummers on the planet. On a who's who list of drummers, it's easier to list who he hasn't played with... even Jeff Beck! Haslip sets a great bottom, doing what most great bassists do... setting a great foundation for the track while playing incredible lines that would blow you away if you just listened to them without the band. Mike Haynes on trumpet adds tight trumpet work as well. Powerful opener. Showtime is a super track with a strong bass line and various time changes. With clean guitar lead and punchy horn work by Jeff Coffin and Haynes, this track has great texture. Secrets has a strong underlying R&B feel supported by soulful horns but with contemporary lines and powerful bluesy guitar lead by Ford. One of the nicest tracks on the release is easy going, Casablanca, with it's almost waltz like flow. Warm chords by Ford, with light percussion and bass set the stage and as the track opens Ford lays out some beautiful improvisation lead perfectly appointed by Colaiuta's remarkable sense of drum rhythm.  Excellent! Vegas has a country feel with a tight bass line and twangy jazz guitar riffs by Ford. At The Apollo has a real nice groove with a power horn feel.  Coffin and Haynes carry the melody set by Haslip and Ford takes the front as the track develops with more adventurous exploration of the theme. Fat rich guitar tones and powerful drum rhythm by Colaiuta anchor this track. Wrapping the release is title track, Jing Xi with a jagged rhythm pattern giving Colaiuta a real opportunity to show his stuff. Anyone who has seen him play would immediately recognize his sound and with masters like Ford and Haslip to work with, this blues infused track is a great closer. If you want to hear something that isn't mainstream but really hits... this is it! 

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Alt 45 Records artist: Big Joe Shelton - Ridin' A Chicken - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Ridin' A Chicken, from Big Joe Shelton & The Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors and it's real cool. Opening with Put The Chairs In The Wagon, a driving rocker, Big Joe Shelton is up front on vocal and harp with firm backing by Bob Damm on percussion, Ed Swan on bass and Ben Ferrell laying down some real strong riffs on guitar. Title track, Ridin' A Chicken, has a real Latin flavor and the tight percussion work of Damm is nicely complimented by Bobby Shannon on keys. Shelton shows solid vocals and Swan lays solid footing under the adventurous guitar soloing of Ferrell. Very nice! Got So Hot is a smokin' blues rocker with shifting keys, nice guitar work and strong percussive punctuation. With a walking bass line and a familiar Sonny Boy Williamson form, Just Let Me Breathe has a great feel. Shelton's vocals are solid and rich key work by Shannon is nicely complimented by the flowing guitar riffs and a nice sax solo by Doug Thomas. No Man's Land is a hot rocker with Shelton leading the way on vocals, tight riffs by Ferrell and cool sax by Thomas. Low slung blues number, Pool Hall Red, features some real nice harp work by Shelton and stinging guitar riffs by Ferrell over percussive key work of Shannon. Heavy bottomed, Too Wet To Plow has super blues roots with the rock edge of Led Zep. A great rock groove and powerful harp work, this is one of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is country flavored, My Future Lies Behind Me Now with it's ballad sensibilities and subtle pedal steel work of Susan Alcorn Lobato. Very nice.



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Friday, September 15, 2017

Hamilton Loomis - Basics - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Basics, from Hamilton Loomis and it's really great! Opening with blues rocker, Sugar Baby, bassist, Sabrina LaField also takes the mic. With just a bit of swish in the tail this is a snappy rocker with Loomis on harp and lead guitar joined by Armando Aussenac on drums. Getting into a super funky groove, If I Would've, Loomis is back up front on vocal, guitar and harp creating a purely infectious track. His electrifying guitar riffs and bass lines are tight. Super! With an easy sway, Candles and Wine has just the right feel featuring tasty guitar riffs and cool vocal backing by Aussenac, Fabian Hernandez and Chris Eger. Ain't What It Ain't is a solid rocker with cool vocal blending but what really sets this track apart is super harp and hot slide riffs from Eger. Bluesy ballad, Breaking Down, is pure Loomis and it's a thread that you can trace from release to release. Rich composition, super vocals and warm interwoven instrumentation with Loomis' certain hand on guitar soloing makes this one strong track. a really hot sax solo by Fabian Hernandez bouncing back and forth with Loomis on lead guitar coupled with strong vocals makes Looking Into a Dream another of the top tracks on the release. Funky, Cloudy Day has really nicely arranged instrumentation, punchy sax work, great rhythm and vocals. Another super Loomis creation.  Quiet ballad, Prayer, has strong R&B bones, featuring Loomis' beautiful lead vocals with rich backing vocals and a slick melodic guitar solo. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Funky Little Brother with Sarah Kimberly on keys and trumpet, Reagan Kimberly on drums, Austin Morris on guitar and Daniel Holder on bass with Loomis on lead vocal and guitar and Alex Mckown, Zach Person and Michael Bryan-Harris on guitars. Almost getting into Sly world, this is a great funky rocker and a super closer for a super release. Excellent!

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Out of the Past Music artists: Steve Howell & Jason Weinheimer - A Hundred Years From Today - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, A Hundred Years From Today, by Steve Howell & Jason Weinheimer, and it's quiet and soothing. Opening with Fats Waller's Lulu's back In Town, Howell shows his clean acoustic finger work and holds down lead vocal while Weinheimer is on bass. Rag style Kansas City Blues has smooth flow and nice tempo. Lightning Hopkins' Going Back To Florida is somber and bluesy with solid vocal emphasis staid guitar accompaniment. Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins has super tempo and tight guitar riffs. Blues standard, Basin Street Blues, has an easy pace and nicely articulated guitar lead. Limehouse Blues / After You're Gone has a 20's sound with springy pace and light vocals. Wrapping the release is Hoagy Carmichael's Rocking Chair with a light jazzy sound. Nicely presented chords and lightly peppered fingering by both men make this a cool closer for this release. 

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Supersonic Blues Machine Return with CALIFORNISOUL on October 20 - Featuring Special Guests Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather, Eric Gales, Walter Trout and Robben Ford


SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE ANNOUNCE THE GLOBAL RELEASE OF 
CALIFORNISOUL ON OCTOBER 20 VIA MASCOT LABEL GROUP / PROVOGUE

ALL-STAR CAST INCLUDES BILLY GIBBONS, STEVE LUKATHER, ERIC GALES,
WALTER TROUT AND ROBBEN FORD

Los Angeles, CA – Supersonic Blues Machine, featuring Fabrizio Grossi (bass / producer), Lance Lopez (guitar / vocals) and Kenny Aronoff (drums) has announced the global release of CALIFORNISOUL! On October 20 via Mascot Label Group / Provogue Records.  The title, available on CD, double vinyl, download and streaming, presents the sound the band spent much of 2017 sharing with audiences from Texas to Holland and India to St. Petersburg, Russia, picking up right where the they left off on their well-received debut record, West of Flushing, South of Frisco. Grossi shares, ““CALIFORNISOUL! That’s exactly what it is. It’s the missing soundtrack to a summertime drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1971!”

Recorded at Fab’s Lab in North Hollywood, California, the repertoire is all about great songs.  “Cry” is a soul searching, simmering piece of poetry and Lance Lopez preaches it in the most righteous way. “I Am Done Missing You” is another number that reaches down deep with a message that will resonate with both spurned lovers and those who have left their bad habits and ways in the past. Californisoul is a study and celebration of the human condition, and “This Is Love” could be the lovechild of Bob Marley and War with some stinging guitar action spread on top. We’re living in times in which it’s hard to keep on keeping on, and it’s easy to fall prey to habits, vices, and distractions - “Elevate” takes a close look at the “high” life, and how one must raise above the temptations and tribulations if the music is to be made.

Fabrizio Grossi talks about a soundtrack for an imaginary road trip up the California coastline in the heady, halcyon days of the early 70s, and that really captures the vibe and mojo that is Californisoul. The songs Grossi has written for this album are as top notch as they are diverse. This machine covers a lot of ground. As the ever-tighter core of Lopez, Grossi, and Aronoff comes together with the elite of the modern-day blues rock community, this is much closer to Woodstock and Watkins Glen than it is to a cut and paste A-list vanity session. This is about friendship, the brotherhood of the blues, and bringing the blues up to this moment in time.

Lance Lopez is once again at the front and center.  His guitar work is as hot and gritty as anything ever cooked up down in Texas, and his singing evokes memories of the great soul, blues, and rock vocalists. You’ll hear the influence and heritage of Bobby “Blue” Bland, the funk of Sly Stone, and the world-weary rumination of the late, great Gregg Allman, but Lopez never really sounds like anything but himself. Kenny Aronoff is truly one of the most in-demand drummers on the planet, and his work on the album is one of the ingredients that make the record so special. Aronoff has also brought along his substantial arranging and compositional skills to great effect.   Whether performing with John Fogerty, BoDeans, Sir Paul McCartney, John Cougar Mellencamp, The Smashing Pumpkins or Supersonic Blues Machine, he is simply one of the best players on the planet.

Guests on the album include Billy Gibbons, who returns with pen and guitar (“Broken Heart”), Steve Lukather (Toto / Ringo’s All-Starr Band) throws down some stunning licks (“Hard Times”), Eric Gales is back in the fold (“Elevate”), Robben Ford brings his bag of soulfully sophisticated chops (“Somebody’s Fool”), Walter Trout brings some silky slow blues (“What’s Wrong”), and the party is rounded out with Alessandro Alessandroni Jr. on keyboards, Serge Simic (co-writer and background vocals on “Love” and “Hard Times”), and Andrea and Francis Benitez Grossi (background vocals). You may come for the stars, but you’ll stay for the whole show.

Fabrizio Grossi adds, “Lots of people have been saying to me ‘why does Supersonic Blues Machine always bring guests around? You guys can stand your own ground’, and there are three answers to that – first, we’re all super friends and we're having a blast; second, most of them don't give lessons and for us it's only way to learn their secret "ways"; and thirdly, because the inspiration and the challenge they bring to the table!”  Supersonic Blues Machine is truly a family as well as a band, and these guests don’t mail it in, they stay for dinner. The community aspect is very real, and one of the band’s great treasures.


The complete track listing features: “I Am Done Missing You,” “Somebody’s Fool” (featuring Robben Ford). “Love,” “Broken Heart” (featuring Billy Gibbons), “Bad Boys,” “Elevate” (featuring Eric Gales), “The One,” “Hard Times” (featuring Steve Lukather), “Cry.” “The Stranger,” “What’s Wrong” (featuring Walter Trout), “Thank You,” “This Is Love.”

The Wailin' Jennys premiere a song from their new album "Fifteen" out 10/27



Acclaimed folk trio The Wailin' Jennys announce the release of "Fifteen"

Fifteen, their first new album in six years, will be out on October 27
Select Live Dates Announced 



September 12, 2017: One of today’s most respected folk groups, The Wailin’ Jennys are releasing their first new recording in six years, Fifteen. This long-awaited follow-up to Bright Morning Stars finds the trio bringing their passion and stellar musicianship to a carefully curated collection of some of their favorite songs, including tracks by Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. Billboard is premiering the trio's delicately beautiful version of Tom Petty's "Wildflowers," long an audience favorite, and features an interview with Wailin' Jenny Nicky Mehta. For members Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse, Fifteen celebrates a 15-year musical partnership that has created three award-winning, Billboard-charting studio albums and one magical live recording and brought them a loyal worldwide fanbase.


Steeped in the artistry and elegance that has defined their career, Fifteen presents The Wailin’ Jennys at their very best. Opening with their stark-yet-exquisite rendering of “Old Churchyard,” sung a cappella over a single droning viola tone, the album then shifts to a gorgeous full-band acoustic version of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers.” Other highlights include their moving interpretation of Emmylou Harris’s “Boulder to Birmingham,” their update of Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock” (from a women’s point of view) and songs by Jane Siberry, Warren Zevon and Patty Griffin. They also do an achingly beautiful a cappella version of Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” that resonates as a call to hope in these troubled political times.  

All three of the Jennys now have young children and — coupled with living in two countries and different sides of the North American continent — making the time to record has been a challenge. 

“We are all mothers now, living in different cities, so we knew we couldn’t spend a month in the studio the way we used to,” Moody says. “Nicky and Heather could only be away from their boys for a week, which gave us five days! So we decided to do something that was true to our live show. Arranging other people’s songs has been something we’ve enjoyed doing since the beginning, so we thought that a covers album would be fun to do, especially given the time restraints. Even so, it was a little nuts: We were arranging harmonies on the fly… my son was just shy of three months old and I was feeding him every couple of hours… Nicky had a bad cold which made things tricky for her. But we just went with it, and trusted that it would all work out; maybe that’s the thing we’ve gotten better at as mothers.”

Produced by The Wailin’ Jennys and engineered by Joby Baker, the album also features additional musicians Richard Moody (Ruth’s brother), Sam Howard, Adrian Dolan and Adam Dobres.

NPR wrote of their last Newport Folk Fest appearance, The Wailin' Jennys are more than just impeccable bluegrass harmonizers; they're also terrific bandleaders who give their traditional roots music a sense of real reverence.” It’s this respect for their craft, as well as the Wailin’ Jennys heartfelt, impeccable vocal performances, that has cemented the trio’s reputation in folk and roots music circles.

More information about The Wailin’ Jennys tour schedule and the members’ solo dates can be found at www.thewailinjennys.com or www.redhouserecords.com.

Pre-order links:
iTunes
Amazon


The Wailin' Jennys Tour Dates:
SA  11/18          Colorado Springs, CO - Stargazers Theatre
SU  11/19          Boulder, CO - Boulder Theatre
SA   12/16         Rocky Mount, VA - Harvester Performance Center
MO  12/18         Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
TU  12/19          Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere

2018 Dates 
TH  2/01            Greensboro, NC - Carolina Theatre    
FR  2/02            Wingate, NC McGee Theatre (The Batte Center)        
SA   2/03           Raleigh, NC  Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts    
TH  2/15            College State, PA - The State Theatre    
FR  2/16            Bethlehem, PA - Zoellner Arts Center (Lehigh University) 
SA  2/17            West Long Branch, NJ -  Pollack Theatre (Monmouth University)  
TH  2/12            Interlochen, MI - Interlochen Center for the Arts (Corson Auditorium)    

FR  2/13            Saugatuck, MI - Saugatuck Center for the Arts       US
SA  2/14            Clinton Township, MI  - Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
SU  2/15            Goshen College – Sauder Concert Hall