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!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Lightning In A Bottle Records artist: The Mick Schafer Band - Back To The Blues - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, and it's a cool raw edged blues. Opening with Over In The Corner, Schafer on lead vocal and guitar has the feel of Tom Waits. With Jimi Bott on drums, Timmer Blakely on bass, and Willie Scandlyn and JT Thomas on guitars, a cool opener. With broad, shimmery guitar chords Virgin Mary has just the right flavor of country western. Schafer's vocals, worked with the guitar soloing of Scandlyn and Thomas and a warm fiddle solo by Tom Esch makes this my choice track of the release. On Astara a rumbling bass intro by Blakely and tight rhythm by Johnny Moore on drums leads nicely into Schafer's vocal lead and some real nice guitar soloing and clean fiddle work by Esch. Wrapping the release is swampy, Rich Boy, with Schafer shouting the lead and Scandlyn and Thomas pairing with some real nice guitar riffs. Blakley and Moore hold a tight ship and really nice guitar soloing by JT and Willie makes this an excellent closer. 


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Monday, December 6, 2021

8th Train Records artist: Tom Craig - Good Man Gone Bad - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Good Man Gone Bad, by Tom Craig and it's solid blues rock. Opening with I'm Working Too Hard, Tom Craig on lead vocal and guitar sets a firm pace with Dave Gross on bass and Vin Mott on drums. With it's melodic guitar lead and bluesy edge, a solid opener. What's A Man Gotta Do has great drive along the lines of Willie Cobb's dynamic, You Don't Love Me. With tight drum patterns, strong guitar lead and with the addition of Mikey Junior on harmonica, a super track. On Chicago style blues track, Treat Your Daddy Nice, Craig really gets the band revved up. With a great guitar vamp and Big Daddy Lamberson on harmonica, this is a strong track. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Change My Way Of Living with it's easy sway and soulful vocals by Craig. Of particular interest is Craig's smoking guitar blues and addition of Doug James on bari sax, Hailey Brinnel on trombone and Mike Scott on tenor sax. Very cool. Headhunter is another cool track with a real nice twist. With it's funky rhythm, Brinnell, James and Scott on horns and a great bottom, this track really rocks. Wrapping the release is R&B ballad, My Turn To Cry, featuring Craig's smooth vocals, Bill Heid on piano and Doug James on sax. This is a real solid release with plenty of flavorful playing.


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Friday, December 3, 2021

Delmark Records artist: Dave Specter - Six String Soul - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Six String Soul, a double cd release by Dave Specter and it's great. Celebrating 30 years on Delmark, with remastered recordings from throughout his career and celebrating many guests. Opening with Buzz Me Specter on guitar, is joined by Barkin Bill Smith on vocal and Ronnie Earl on guitar as well as Ken Saydak on organ, Dez Desormeaux on sax, Red Groetzinger on sax, Mike McCurdy on bass and John Hiller on drums. Very cool. Specter really stretches out nicely on solo guitar on slow blues, Railroad Station. Smith, on lead vocal does a real nice job and Bob Stroger on bass anchors the track. Saydak's piano is a nice accent and sax soloing by Groetzinger is really nice. I really like instrumental, Specter's Walk, with it's deep jazz groove. Specter cruses on guitar, Desormeaux's sax solo is rich, and Saydak's organ work is strong. Tad Robinson has lead vocal on Sweet Serenity. I've always been a fan of Robsinson's vocals and Specter really gets this track swinging on guitar. Very nice. West Side Stroll is another terrific instrumental, showcasing Specter's dynamic guitar style. Backed by Mike McCurdy on bass and Mark Fornek on drums, another great track. Seventy-Four is a strong slower blues with Willie Kent on lead vocal and bass. This is the style of track that really gets Specter in the slot. His lead soloing is tops and with Fornek on drums, another highlight of the release. Lynwood Slim has the mic on Get Back Home, a strong shuffle. Mike Scharf on bass, Barrelhouse Chuck on piano and Fornek on drums hold a tight bottom and Specter nails it on guitar. Very nice. Kenny Lynn really adds depth to the release with his powerhouse vocals on Blues On My Mind and Rob Waters' organ solo is dynamite. Low slung, In Too Deep, features Sharon Lewis on lead vocal and Specter's guitar doing his talking. With Brother John Kattke on piano, Harlan Terson on Bass and Marty Binder on drums, this is a great shuffle. The Blues Ain't Nothin' features a cool pairing of Specter and Jorma Kaukonen on lead guitars with Harlan Terson on bass, Marty Binder on drums, Kattke on keys and lead vocal, Mars Williams on sax, John Janowiak on trombone and Ron haynes on trumpet. Wrapping the release is Ballad of George Floyd with Specter on guitar and vocal with Billy Branch on vocal and harmonica backed by Danny Shaffer on acoustic guitar and Brother John Kattke on organ. This is a really terrific retrospective and a great addition to your collection. 


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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Netjams Music artist: Bill Breen & Friends - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Bill Breen & Friends from Bill Breen and it's a cool mix of blues, jazz and fusion. Opening with Bohemian Grove Jam, a funky fusion track, Breen on guitar is joined by Joe Martone on keys, Mike Pryor on bass, Sean Peck on percussion and Charles Wright on sax guitar with a special appearance by Oz Noy (second solo). Very cool. On classic, Thrill Is Gone, Mark Wilson joins on vocal with a powerful delivery and Breen's guitar phrasing is sweet and his tone is crisp and clear and Martone's organ adds nice warmth. On AWB's Pick Up The Pieces, Breen takes the horn part on lead guitar with Martone on organ, Gus Velasquez on bass and Sean Peck on drums. Velasquez picks up a heavy thump on the turn around and Breen cuts loose with a real nice guitar solo for a strong cover. On T-Bone Walker's classic, Stormy Monday, Gary Lee Jones is upfront on lead vocal and is a "Allman like" arrangement, Martone's organ adds a solid bottom. With Mike Pryor on bass and Eddie Redd on drums,  Breen is free to solo out on guitar, using his own voice rather than the common copy of Duane's improvised lines, giving the track fresh feet. Very nice. Cathleen is a really nice guitar ballad with Breen taking the lead, backed by Martone, Pryor and Lupe McLoops on drums. The melody is strong and Breen's intuitive phrasing solid making this my favorite track on the release. Wrapping the release is a funky alternative to the opener, Bohemian Grove Jam. Velasquez really digs in on bass and Charles Wright's sax guitar solo is cool. Breen soars with some real nice fusion like guitar phrasing making this a real solid closer. 


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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Willie Jackson - All In The Blues - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, All In The Blues, from Willie Jackson and it's a full house of pop, rock rhythm and blues. Opening with easy shuffle, I'm Your Landlord, Willie Jackson shows pure style on vocal, backed by Lomax Spaulding on guitar, Trosky Lane on bass, Jimmy Brown on horn, and organ and drums by Eric L Winbush and with backing vocals by Suzanne El-Habre. One of my favorite tracks on the release is funk fused boogie, Stranger In My Hole. Twin Jackson's drum work really anchors this track with cool flute work, some smoky riffs on guitar by Lane and some of Jackson's best vocals on the release. Chicago style blues, She Needs Satisfied, has a solid groove set by Lane on bass and the addition of Ace Anderson on harmonica really sets this track off nicely. Another Chicago style shuffle, Coon Hound Nose, has a great groove with solid vocals by Jackson and real nice harmonica by Anderson.  Wrapping the release is R&B track, Brother I'll Take Her with a soulful horn lead by Jimmy Brown and a perky bass line by Lane and organ by Earl Lane, this track sets up Jackson for a solid closer. 


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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Nina Simone and Her Friends' deluxe reissue coming from BMG; four tracks from 'Little Girl Blue' recording session in 1957

 

 

 

 

ON DELUXE REISSUE OF 

NINA SIMONE AND HER FRIENDS,

A BRAND-NEW STEREO RE-MASTER SHOWCASES

A LEGEND ON HER ASCENSION TO STARDOM

 

Set includes four tracks from the Little Girl Blue recording session in 1957

along with songs by jazz-vocal greats Chris Connor and Carmen McRae

 

Available from Bethlehem Records/BMG

December 3 on vinyl, CD and digital platforms 

Stream the “African Mailman” re-mastered track here (hyperlink tk)  

 

 

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Originally released by Bethlehem Records in 1959, Nina Simone and Her Friends was a compilation album comprising the few remaining unreleased tracks from the 1957 Little Girl Blue recording session plus songs recorded by two other former Bethlehem artists, the powerhouse jazz vocalist Carmen McRae and the elegant song stylist Chris Connor. 

An RSD-Essentials exclusive “emerald-green” limited-edition 180-gram LP will be available, along with CD and digital/streaming versions (high-definition and standard) on December 3, 2021. The reissue features a fresh stereo master done by four-time Grammy winner Michael Graves as well as a vinyl remastering by the renowned Kevin Gray. Grammy winner Cheryl Pawelski produced the set, which includes a new essay by Daphne A. Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution.

 

As Brooks explains in her essay, “Bethlehem clustered their work — tracks that had previously appeared on the label’s Girlfriends compilation — together with the younger, upstart Simone’s and essentially offered up a collection of songs that span a range of genres — folk, jazz, pop song staples, and torch song laments, plus a couple of provocative original compositions by McRae and Simone. Each track is a reminder of the clear-eyed independence, verve, and confidence of three artists whose music, taken together, brims with the majesty and the assured talents of the late 1950s women artists who led with conviction and invention as musicians and song interpreters.” 
 

Available today, October 20, as a sneak-peak, “African Mailman” is an instrumental track recorded during the Little Girl Blue sessions, showcasing Nina Simone’s incredible piano playing. At the time, Simone was in her mid-20s and still aspiring to be a classical concert pianist. As Brooks describes it: “A magisterial original composition of Simone’s which, as she recounts it, ‘was made up on the spot in the studio and recorded in one take,’ finds her moving across an Afrodiasporic terrain of percussion, leading at the keyboard, rolling and tumbling, building waves of contrasting chromatic depth and spinning, ethereal flight.”

 

NINA SIMONE AND HER FRIENDS

TRACK LIST:

1.     Nina Simone – “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” 

2.     Chris Conner – “Someone to Watch Over Me” 

3.     Carmen McRae – “Old Devil Moon” 

4.     Nina Simone – “I Loves You, Porgy” 

5.     Chris Connor – “I Concentrate on You” 

6.     Carmen McRae – “You Made Me Care” 

7.     Nina Simone – “For All We Know” 

8.     Chris Connor – “From This Moment On” 

9.     Carmen McRae – “Too Much in Love to Care” 

10.   Nina Simone – “African Mailman” 

11.   Chris Connor – “All This and Heaven Too” 

12.   Carmen McRae – “Last Time for Love” 

   

# # #

 

Watch the "African Mailman" single: https://youtu.be/40yr9iuv__Q

Linkfire for the “African Mailman” single: https://music.bmg.com/ninaam

 


Catn' round Sound artist: Carolyn Lee Jones - Christmas Is Here - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Christmas Is Here, from Carolyn Lee Jones, and it's a jazzy approach at contemporary seasons greetings. Opening with one of the season's top songs, The Christmas Song, Jones is bright and tight on her vocal lead with crisp piano soloing by Brad Williams, Jonathan Fisher on bass, and Tom Burchill who lays in some tasty lead guitar. Strong opener. Charlie Brown's favorite, Christmas Time Is Here is given a straight ballad cover with crystal clear vocals, piano and warm cello backing by Jonathan Fisher. Very nice. I particularly like Tony Baker's trombone solo on Warm December, a bouncy pop track. Johnny Moore's Merry Christmas Baby has a solid boogie woogie beat with Keith Jordan on trumpet, Tony Baker on trombone, Dave Monsch on bari, Lynn Seaton on bass, Dennis Durick on drums and Todd Parsnow on guitar and a fat sax solo by Mario Cruz. Santa Baby has gotten so much airplay over the past few years it's hard to pull it off, but with an horn rich backing, Jones does a nice job and a lush sax solo by Mario Cruz is cream on the top. Wrapping the release is an easy swinging take on Berlin's, Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep). Jones really hits the pocket on this one and with strong piano work by Williams, a real nice bass solo by Lynn Seaton, and tight orchestration, this is a solid closer. 

 
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Monday, November 29, 2021

Mean Old Fireman and the Cruel Engineers - Dumpster Fire - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Dumpster Fire, from Mean Old Fireman and the Cruel Engineers, and it's a solid block of traditional blues. Opening with Tour 3 funky blues rocker with a heavy bottom, Ned Bolle is upfront on lead vocal and slide guitar  with Joey Pafumi on drums, Rick Plourde on bass and some nice harmonica by Dana Andrews. Cool opener. McArthur's Cunning Ruger is a cool. extended Southern style blues rocker with some really sweet slide guitar work by Bolle. His vocals blend nicely with this styling, joined by Christina Lacoste, Shockwell Morency and Chat De Rouelle on backing vocals. On traditional blues track, Stack O Lee, Bolle's vocals have just the right amount of grit and with a New Orleans drums style by Pafumi and John Wadkins on keys, Bolle's slide work makes this my favorite track on the release. Toby Soriero opens up on electric guitar a bit on Got No Spoons and Bolle is right there with him on slide. This is a real cool track nicely supported by Wadkins on organ and Pafumi on drums. Wrapping the release is blues rocker, Outrun the Blues. A cool jam featuring Bolle on guitar,  Plourde on bass, Marty Phillips and Wadkins on keys, this is a solid closer. 


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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Lilli Lewis - Americana - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Americana, from Lilli Lewis and it's versatile and enriching. Opening with My American Heart (Prelude), this release immediately comes alive with the rich sounds of acapella voices. Lilli is joined on this intro by Kyshona Armstrong and Mikayla Braun. Very nice. Copper John is an country rocker with a soft easy rhythm, wailing pedal steel by Richard Comeaux, guitars by Wade Hymel, bass by Bryan Webre and strong vocal lead and harmonies by Lewis (Think Marshall Tucker Band). Very nice. Piece of Mine is a beautiful folk tune in the vein of Wayfaring Stranger but with the richness of a gospel tune. With Josh Paxton on keys, Hymel on guitar, and Gina Forsyth on acoustic guitar, backing vocal and fiddle, this is a very strong track. Everyday has a bright jazzy feel with a snappy rhythm by Doug Balote on drums and Webre on bass and Sam Kuslan's key work is really solid with Lewis' lead vocal style, backed by Braun on harmony. Contemporary ballad, Coffee Shop Girl, has a simple but nicely progressive melody. A clean piano accompaniment by Lewis and percussion by Hymel along with Kenny Murphy on backing vocal and bass makes this another really nice track. Wrapping the release is My American Heart (Benediction), a quiet ballad with a solid melody. Lewis' vocals are pure and clear, accompanied by acoustic guitar (Hymel), Gina Forsyth on fiddle,  Dave Easley on pedal steel, Rick Nelson on cello and James Walsh on bass. This is a solid closer for a really warm release.  


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Monday, November 22, 2021

Stony Plain Records artist: Colin James - Open Road - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Open Road, from Colin James and I really like it. On James' landmark 20th release, James covers some classic blues tracks and adds some of his own. Opening with Tony Joe White's As the Crow Flies, James cranks out a real driving boogie with stinging lead guitar, backed by Geoff Hicks on drums, Norm Fisher on bass and Simon Kendall on keys. Strong.  Albert King's Can't You See What You're Doing To Me, is up next and with Chris Caddell on rhythm, Steve Hilliam on sax, this is another potent track with excellent phrasing by James. Magic Sam's That's Why I'm Crying fits in perfectly with it's slower pace, giving James a chance to stretch a bit with soulful vocals and nicely crafted solo lead. Excellent! James original, When I Leave This House, has a country rocking honky tonkin feel that will get you moving. James really plays guitar to this one with a nice flair and the addition of Jesse O'Brien adds real sauce. Very cool! Otis Rush's It Takes Time, a long time favorite on the blues rock scene, gets a moderate workover and James it right there with his guitar to add the spark. Fisher really lays heavy on the bass which is great and the addition of harmonica by Steve Marriner and bari sax by Jerry Cook, cooks the track. Another original James track, There's A Fire, really brings the pace down but turns up the heat. James' vocals are really strong and his lead guitar work is smoking. This is definitely one of my favorites on the release and likely to be a fan favorite in concert. A really cool take on Bob Dylan's It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry brings to mind Leon's redo of this track back in the 70's. I don't think anyone's come close since but this is a real nice deal. The rhythm is loose and slinging and with James on slide, and some hot sax work by Hilliam, a great track. Wrapping the release is Eddie Floyd's classic,  I Love You More Than Words Can Say, again really parlaying the strength of James' soulful vocals and includes a brief but potent dash of guitar edge. This is a fine release and one I really enjoy listening to.



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Friday, November 19, 2021

Vidiclity Records artist: Bill Filipiak - Medicine I Need - New Release Review



I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Medicine I Need, from Bill Filipiak and it's a cool mix of blues, country, bluegrass, rock and folk. Opening with When The Blues Comes Calling, a rock shaped blues track, Filipiak backs his  own vocals with electric guitar, resonator and harmonica. Country style vocals and slide guitar, overlaid with bluesy resonator and harmonica is the trick on Fearing the Dawn. Nicely interwoven and heavily textured, cool track. Home To Baby is a cool boogie rocker with a great beat, driving rhythm and bluesy harmonica under a solid vocal lead. Most likely radio track on the release. I like Thirty Hearts High with it's blues twist on Are You Ready For The Country. Slide resonator, drums and piano by Filipiak really work well with his vocal lead. Wrapping the release is somewhat funky, Hope in Your Heart, with it's chunky drum line and raw slide resonator. Filipiak nicely blends this rhythm with a solid blues guitar lead crafting a cool rocky closer. 


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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Arabesque Recordings artist: June Bisantz - 7 Shades of Snow - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the  most recent release, 7 Shades of Snow, from June Bisantz, and it's a bright and cheery look at seasonal music. Opening with The Merriest, an easy shuffle featuring Bisantz on vocal and backed by The Jon Burr Sextet (Jon Burr on bass, Mike Eckroth on piano, James Chirillo on guitar, Marc Pfaneuf on sax, Brandon Lee on trumpet and Alvester Garnett on drums) this is light radio jazz. A nicely phrased trumpet solo by Lee gives the track a real nice perk for a solid opener. Classic jazz styling on Hang Them On The Tree, makes it my favorite with well poised vocals by Bisantz and a real nice piano solo by Eckroth and a warm guitar solo by Chirillo. Title track, Seven Shades Of Snow is the best showcase for Bisantz's vocal styling on the release. Her vocals are smooth and rich with a well balanced  orchestration from JBS. Wrapping the release is Winter's Got Spring Up It's Sleeve, a solid ballad with complex sax/trumpet blending from Lee and Pfaneuf. This offers a nice break from many of the contemporary holiday tracks that you're likely to hear on the radio. 


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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

M.C. Records artist: Corey Harris - Insurrection Blues - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Insurrection Blues, from Corey Harris and it's particularly strong. Harris, who has released 20 albums during his career is up with a new one and this time on M.C. Records, inspired by the recent events in Washington and certainly influenced by his year long stay in Africa. Opening with Twelve Gates To The City, Harris really pours on the heat. I'm uncertain who wrote this track but I know it as a Rev Gary Davis track and a powerful version of the track with Harris at his vocal blues best. Terrific! Mama Africa could have been written and played on the Continent. The African influences are so evident and beautiful. Harris' singing and playing is top notch. Sunjuta is a traditional song, with a cool arrangement instrumental by Harris. His sensitivity to the African musical style is terrific. John Jackson's Boats Up River has a great, up beat, finger picking blues style and By and By again pulls heavily on Harris' traditional delta style singing. Excellent! Phil Wiggins on harmonica joins Harris on Afton Mountain Blues giving you a solid helping of country style blues. This is a real nice acoustic jam with great feel.  Wrapping the release is Harris' Scottsville Breakdown, a country finger picking blues. If you ever want to know where the original/traditional blues lies in todays world, you need look no further than Cory Harris. Excellent job!


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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Bible & Tire Recording Co. artist: Elder Jack Ward - Already Made - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Already Made, from Elder Jack Ward and it's full of the spirit. Opening with high energy title track, The Way Is Already Made, with Carla Ward, Francis Ward, Cecila Garrett and Johnny Ward on vocal ( The Elder Jack Ward Company Singers), Will Sexton on guitar, Mark Stuart on bass, George Supplick on drums and Matt Ross - Spang on guitar. Solid opener. R&B fused track, Lord I'm In Your Care, has a real nice feel. Ward's vocals are smooth as silk and the Company Singers are tight and melodic. Very nice. Highly soulful, God's Love is slow gospel at it's best with lush overlaying of voices and organ underpinnings. Excellent! Bluesy, Without The Lord, has a nice slow pace, clean blues riffs by Sexton and a nice warm organ bed by Alex Greene setting a strong bottom for Ward and his troop to harmonize. Very nice. Wrapping the release is I Feel Better Since I Prayed. I have my own feelings about gospel and spiritual music and it's my own thing. If it delivers the word, the vocals are lush and the basic music warms your feelings. It's good. This release checks all of the boxes! 


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Monday, November 15, 2021

Big O Records artist: Joseph and the Velozians - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Joseph and the Velozians and it's way cool. Opening with Pretty is as Pretty Does, bassist and songwriter Joseph Veloz lays down a really funky bass line, complimented by Jim Alfredson on keys, and Donny Brown on drums and percussion. Larry McCray has lead vocal and guitar and does an outstanding job, with trumpet punctuation by John Rickert. Nice opener. Contemporary makeover of Morganfield's Got My Mojo Working features Thornetta Davis on lead vocal and Carlton Washington on guitar as well as some smoking organ work by Alfredson. Then throwing a changeup moving into a Chicago blues/gospel closing.  Great hot redo. The Velozian Shuffle is one of my favorites on the release with solid guitar lead by Washington, a real nice piano solo by Phillip J Hale, strong organ work by Alfredson, Dave Marcaccio on drums, and of course Veloz on bass. Excellent! Just Jammin' Again is a cool, funky, jazz style jam with a great groove. James Anderson and Dave Marcaccio setting the pace. Phillip Hale's piano work is tight and Carl Washington lets it all hang out on guitar over the ultra funky lines of Veloz. wrapping the release is Up In My Ear featuring Veloz on bass and vocal and bluesy guitar riffs by Drew Abbott on guitar. Strong closer. 


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Friday, November 12, 2021

Shakey Trill - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the newest self titled release, Shakey Trill and it's an interesting mix of raw blues and folk music by Mike MacDonald and Tyler Pantlin. Opening with I Love That Woman, MacDonald on lead vocal sets a great fingerpicking lead and Pantlin lays in solid harmonica accents. Lighthouse is a terrific original blues by MacDonald really showcasing MacDonald on slide resonator and Pantlin on harmonica. Very nice. On Morganfield's classic, I Can't be Satisfied, Pantlin has the lead on vocal and MacDonald really works the slide plus the addition of Alec Fraser on bass. Excellent! Lonely is another really solid delta style blues track with balanced contributions between Pantlin and MacDonald on harmonica and guitar. This is a particularly nice showcase for Pantlin's blues styling and MacDonald's vocals are rock solid. Guitar boogie track, Hold On To It has great pace and bound to get you nodding your head. I really like MacDonald's vocals on this track and Pantlin's harmonica work really works nicely. Wrapping the release is Sailing, a bluesy rocker with a contemporary feel. With MacDonald on lead vocal and guitar and a healthy harmonica response from Pantlin, the duo maintains a blues format in a rock delivery. This is a solid release with some great tunes. 


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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Zoho Records artist: Alexis Cole - Sky Blossom - Songs from My Tour Of Duty - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Sky Blossom - Songs From My Tour Of Duty, from Alexis Cole, and it's geared to mainstream listeners with a mature taste. Opening with Clifford Brown's Joy Spring with it's classic "big band" attack featuring John Castleman, Vito Speranza, Josh Economy and Rich Johnson on trumpet, Dan Poerce, Ron Fleischman, Jason Miller and Teddy Arnold on trombone, Mike Reifenberg, Derrick James, David Loy Song, Jay Malone and Xavier Perez on sax, Scott Arcangel on piano, Mark Tonelli on guitar, Brandon Nelson on bass and Scott Drewes on drums. Cole's vocals are light and springy with plenty of scat and a cool solo by Castleman on trumpet makes this a power opener. A solid rendition of Miles Davis' All Blues is a strong addition to the release with a really strong sax solo by Derrick James pushing this one this one beyond it's big band formality. Cole pares the band back on Lennon and McCartney's terrific ballad, Across The Universe. Her vocals are crisp and clear and the band is lush. Classic 50's track, Social Call, is as cool as it gets on this release with Cole singing with the ease of Washington. I really like Bob Sheppard's solo on this track, punched up just right by the horns. Very nice. Wrapping the release is contemporary ballad, American Anthem, showcasing Cole, accompanied by Jaehun Kang on piano. Cole has put together a solid set of vocal tracks and swings end to end. 


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