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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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Showing posts with label Al Lerman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Al Lerman. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns - Self Titled - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release by Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns and I really like it! Opening with Temperanceville with it's cool New Orleans march rhythm anchored by N. Jay Burr on tuba and Jim Casson on drums, Mike Branton on slide guitar and Wayne Deadder on guitars exchange leads on this making this a terrific opener. Funky, Marshville Station, again has an incredible groove set by Casson and Russ Boswell on bass and with the addition of Brent Barkman on organ and Bernie LeBarge adding solid lead guitar lines over the top, this is a great track. Deadder Branton and Burr are back on The Right Road to Boyle has terrific, easy flowing slide over a solid New Orleans beat. White Pigeon gives Deadder a solid opening to lay down some real nice jazz style riffs and Branton's slide work, doubled with Burrs tuba sets a funk rocky Southern feel. Wrapping the release is The Dream of Chantler with eerie slide work by Branton balanced with the harmonica work of Al Lerman over the keys and sampling of Casson. This is an unusual release and one that you should really check out.  


( What if Dark Orchard (Jim Casson’s experimental music project) and “The Blues” got together in New Orleans and watched Twin Peaks with Daniel Lanois? This is the question that inspired “Davis Hall & The Green Lanterns”. The story – During the COVID19 lockdown, musicians were trying to find ways to keep busy. Drummer Jim Casson was asked to record some backing tracks in his home studio "The Cherry Pit" for his friend, guitarist Steve Grisbrook with bassist Russ Boswell. After recording a few cover songs for Steve, Jim approached Russ to see if he wanted to try to write something original. Russ was game so Jim improvised a drum take while thinking with song form in his head, but with no firm idea of a song, just a funky New Orleans vibe. Jim sent this track to Russ who then added a bass line with chord changes to Jim’s track. They decided that the right person to add a guitar part was their old band mate Bernie LaBarge. Brent Barkman was then asked to contribute an organ part and the song “Marshville Station” was born. Excited at the success of this first experiment, Jim decided to try another one, but this time the same magic was not repeated and the project was shelved. Meanwhile, tuba player Jay Burr was working on a singer songwriter album and had asked Jim to contribute drum parts. Jim decided to ask Jay if he would try to add a tuba part to the shelved project. Jay agreed and it was magic again. They continued to collaborate on several more songs using the same formula of improvised drum takes and then adding form with the tuba. Jim decided that the complimentary instrumentation for this project would be guitar (Wayne Deadder) and slide guitar (Mike Branton). With their additions, the project had a solid foundation. Other contributors to become “Green Lanterns” were Steve Marriner (harmonica), Al Lerman (harmonica), and Stephen Miller (dobro). Jim felt that this album should in some way pay tribute to his home, The Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. “Davis Hall” was the name of the community centre in his hometown where he attended nursery school and “The Green Lantern” was the soda shop in town when he was a kid. All of the song titles are names or former names of villages in the Niagara Peninsula. The “Dark Orchard” element is the addition of samples, loops and spoken word elements into the songs. Everything came together when Jim discovered a recording from 1963 of local disc jockey Bob Bowland from CHOW radio in Welland, the station that was most played in his home while growing up).


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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Al Lerman - Northern Bayou - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Northern Bayou, from Al Lerman and it has a great feel. Opening with Down To The River, a cool swampy track with solid vocals, harmonica and guitar work by Lerman, backed by Alec Fraser on bass, Chuck Keeping on drums and real nice piano by Lance Anderson. My favorite track on the release is country flavored, Dirty Little Secret, with just the right pace. Lerman's vocals are perfect, his harp work inspired, and another great display on piano by Anderson gives it a great boost as well. Shuffle track, Delta Stomp is another great toe tapper with Lerman on lead harmonica, tight rhythm by Fraser, Keeping and Anderson as well as real nice guitar work by Morgan Davis. Very cool. Classic traditional folk/blues track, Deep Ellum Blues is a great choice for this band with it's tight instrumental mix. Wrapping the release is cool Latin flavored pop tune, Hand-Me-Down Hate. This is the definite radio track for the release is it's smooth melody, memorable turnaround and lead vocal/harp by Lerman. 

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Al Lerman - Slow Burn - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the latest release, Slow Burn, from Al Lerman and it's quite entertaining. Opening with a modern shuffle, Don't Push Your Mess On Me, Al Lerman takes the lead on vocal, guitar and harp backed by Omar Tunnoch on bass, Bucky Berger on drums and Jana Reid on vocals. A cool track with a memorable melody, nice opener. On It Takes Me All Night Long, Lerman backs it off a bit with an easy pace. His harp work is smooth and soulful complimenting his vocals nicely. With a light Latin flair, Bad Luck Blues, has a pop sound with Lance Anderson on piano. Lerman steps up with a harp solo with crisp tones giving the track a shot of blues. Gonna Have To Wait is a definite radio track with a catchy hook and solid bones. Rocker, Now That Your Man's Gone, has a real nice southern kind of R&B feel with a guitar hook. This is one of my favorites on the release with just the right groove. With a New Orleans kind of feel and a stumble rhythm, Totally Out Of Whack, is really tight. Lerman's vocals are point on and his harp work works really nicely with Anderson's piano, Fraser's bass and particularly clever drum work by Al Cross. Easy flowing, Younger Than Me, is one of the bluesiest tracks on the release. With sparkling piano work by Anderson, soulful harp by Lerman and warm guitar chords, this track is the spot. On rocker, Any Way You Want, Lerner steps out a bit on guitar with some cool double stop licks and duet vocals give it a cool feel. Country blues style, Better Off Taking Chances, has a Randy Newman sound with it's dusty drums, lyrical delivery and casual delivery. Very cool. Kokomo Arnold track Kokomo is a solid blues driver with a super Chicago style. Lerman sits in the groove with his vocals and tops it off with some real nice harp playing. Wrapping the release is instrumental title track, Slow Burn with a more delta style... tasty guitar and harp. Very nice conclusion to a cool release.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST BLUES/ROOTS ARTIST AL LERMAN RELEASES 'SLOW BURN'


MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST BLUES/ROOTS ARTIST AL LERMAN RELEASES 'SLOW BURN'


June 24, 2016









Al Lerman has worn many hats in his forty-plus years as a career musician. He leads the 2X Juno Award winning band Fathead, plays saxophone & harmonica in the Maple Blues Revue, and more. In addition to being a bandleader and sought-after sideman, Lerman is a master songwriter and tours regularly as a solo acoustic artist. On Slow Burn his third solo release, Lerman shines on harmonica and vocals while showcasing his song writing abilities and solid guitar work. Playing both amplified and acoustic harmonica​ on this outing, the warm, rich, woody tone of a seasoned pro is clearly evident. ​

Recorded and mastered at Grammy Award-winning engineer Peter J. Moore’s E-Room studio in Toronto, the sessions were produced by Alec Fraser, one of the most respected roots producers/musicians on the scene today. With a fresh batch of newly written songs Lerman gathered some of his favourite musicians, booked the studio time and recorded for two days. With guitar in hand, he sang live while being backed by two different rhythm sections; Alec on bass with drummer Al Cross, and Fathead’s Omar Tunnoch with Bucky Berger. (Tunnoch, who also paints, contributed the artwork that was used for the front cover). Lance Anderson added some piano on a handful of tracks to round things out. The result is a vibrant recording catching some seasoned hands doing what they do best. 

This 12-song set features all original material, save for a first take, kick-ass reworking of the delta blues classic “Kokomo”. The disc opens with the rollicking “Don’t Push Your Mess On Me”, a gospel tinged rocker helped along by Jana Reid’s powerful backing vocal. “It Takes Me All Night Long” is Lerman’s tongue-in- cheek take on aging as he sings “….to do the things I used to do all night long”.  The Latin-tinged standout track “Bad Luck Blues” grooves wonderfully as he recounts the events of an infamous bank robbery that happened long ago in the tiny village of Havelock, Ontario where he now makes his home. Another standout track is the radio-friendly and catchy “Gonna Have To Wait” while “Tattoo Like You” explores a swampy, voodoo feel along with a touch of humour, while the title track instrumental “Slow Burn” highlights Lerman’s guitar and harp, getting low down and dirty.

“He is unique”, says producer Alec Fraser. “Every song is a big idea. Lerman sounds like Lerman. This album is a real gem.”


RIYL: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Fathead, Morgan Davis, Keb' Mo’, Paul Butterfield

Slow Burn Track List

1. Don't Push Your Mess On Me 
2. It Takes Me All Night Long
3. Bad Luck Blues 
4. Gonna Have To Wait
5. Now That Your Man's Gone
6. Totally Out Of Whack
7. Younger Man Than Me
8. Any Way You Want
9. Tattoo Like You
10. Better Off Taking Chances
11. Kokomo
12. Slow Burn


Upcoming performances

May 19 - Ironwood, Calagary, AB*
May 20 - Yardbird Suite, Edmonton, AB*
May 21 - Yardbird Suite, Edmonton, AB*
May 22 - Dan/Lyn Studio House Concert, Sherwood Park, AB*
May 24 - Mikey's Juke Joint, Calgary, AB*
May 27 - Vernon Folk Club, Vernon, BC*
May 28 - Dream Cafe, Penticton, BC*
May 29 - Brother Rat Concert Series, Edgewood, BC*
* With Tim Williams

June 22 - Hugh's Room, Toronto CD Release Party 







Monday, June 17, 2013

Live At The Acoustic Grill - Al Lerman - New release Review

I just received a copy of the new release, Live At The Acoustic Grill, by Al Lerman. Lerman, a super harp player, singer and guitarist has assembled an all acoustic set including such classics as Close To You, It Hurts Me Too and Good Morning Little School Girl which is one of the cooler of the guitar tracks. Charmalene is a cool track with a particularly nice harp solo. Move On Up is another of my favorites. Lerman hits a nice stride on this track with crisp guitar and harp work. My absolute favorite track on the release is an original style arrangement of Cocaine. Kept simple and straightforward, this track really really sits tight and Lerman's harp work is particularly vocal in nature. Don't Leave Me Baby is a real nice heartfelt contemporary blues track. Slippery Slope, a fast paced boogie has driving acoustic guitar rhythm complimenting Lerman's vocals and his harp work on this track adds to the dynamics. On Slim Harpo's Miss You Like The Devil, Lerman digs in on the groove and although he keeps the soloing somewhat contained, he still produces a strong foot stomper. A really nice version of Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out allows Lerman to shine on vocal, harp and guitar. Clean recording, crisp playing technique and super sensitivity makes this a particularly nice track. Take A Little Time For Yourself is a great choice for the final track with Lerman becoming a little more aggressive on the guitar. His vocals are simple and strong and paired with his clean strumming makes a really nice finale. This is a cool acoustic set and one that Lerman should be proud of.  

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Friday, February 24, 2012

New Release: Al Lerman - Crowe River Blues - Review


I just received and have had the opportunity to review the new release by Al Lerman. Lerman is considered one of Canada's top harp players having earned several Maple Leaf Award nominations for both his sax and harmonica playing. He is founder and leader of 2 time Juno Award winning Fathead touring regularly. Crowe River Blues is Lerman's first solo venture with 10 of 13 tracks being originals. Lerner sings and plays guitar on this release and carry's his weight well. The recording opens with Suitcase Blues, an early Texas style blues but with a more acoustic type feel. Strong harp tones ooze from this cd. Chugging the Blues is a harp driven song and one you won't want to miss. Gypsy Feet, more of a country infused blues ballad is well written and has a nice vocal duet. Nobody But Myself To Blame gets the place jumpin' with a Texas swing style track. Instrumentation is particularly interesting on this track featuring harp, sax and piano. Blues So Bad I could Write a Country Song is destined for airplay. It is well constructed, has the story and a great feel. You're the one shows Lerman venturing into Chicago and a good opportunity to give the harp a ride. Harmonica Gumbo is a definite hit on Mardi Gras season with a nice instrumental exploration of Nawlins (loosely based on Iko Iko). She Calls Me River is a funk infused blues song with cool rhythms, keys, and harp. The release finishes up with Solar Power Man, another Nawlins funk based song. In this case vocals added and cool instrumentals to carry you to the end of the cd. Very good first solo!
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