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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 Connor Ray Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Connor Ray Music. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Connor Ray Music artist: Trudy Lynn - Blues Keep Knockin' - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues Keep Knockin', from Trudy Lynn and it's solid blues. Opening with two stepping, Blues Ain't Nothin' featuring Bob Lanza on guitar, Steve Krase on harp, Terry Dry on bass, and Matt Johnson on drums. With powerful vocals and a driving bottom, a solid opener. On Jimmy Rogers track, That's Alright, Lynn gets into a solid groove and Randy Wall on piano and Krase on harp lay down nice solos. One of my favorite tracks on the release is One Monkey Don't Stop No Show with clever lyrics, and hot horn work by Dan Carpenter on sax and Jim brady on trumpet. Another powerful track, I Sing The Blues finds Lynn really digging in vocally, with clean guitar work by David Carter. Again Bob Lanza's tasty guitar work comes into play on Pitiful, a super slow blues number. Lynn milks every drop of juice out of this track, working Lanza into a nice guitar frenzy. Very nice.  Hot sax work by Carpenter and smart piano soloing by Wall give this When I Been Drinkin' real juice. Wrapping the release is Would It Make Any Difference, a country style ballad. Lynn's pure vocal styling, supported by Krase and featuring Carolyn Wonderland on guitar make this a solid closer for another solid release from Lynn.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Teen Blues-Rock Guitar Sensation Ally Venable Brings Her "Puppet Show" Spectacular on New Connor Ray Music CD Due April 13

Teen Blues-Rock Guitar Sensation Ally Venable Brings Her Puppet Show Spectacular on New Connor Ray Music CD Due April 13

Special Guests on New Ally Venable Band CD Include Gary Hoey, Lance Lopez, Eric Steckel and Steve Krase

Houston, Texas – Award winning blues-rock guitarist Ally Venable will release her new CD, Puppet Show, on April 13 from Connor Ray Music. The Ally Venable Band consists of Ally - guitar and vocals; Elijah Owings – drums; and Bobby Wallace – bass. Special Guests on Puppet Show, which was produced by Rock Romano, Steve Krase (who also plays harmonica on the sessions) and Ally Venable, include guitarists Gary Hoey and Lance Lopez, as well as  keyboardist Eric Steckel.

Puppet Show, Ally’s second album for Connor Ray Music, was recorded at Red Shack Studio in Houston, and features eight original tunes written and composed by Venable, along with two blues classics that compliment her rockin’ blues sound.

“I had an amazing time writing and creating Puppet Show for the people with my closest musician friends,” says Ally Venable. “I look forward to putting this album out for all the blues-rock lovers and I hope they enjoy it as much as I loved making it for them.”

Puppet Show is all about songs that connect. It radiates a sense of soul through the songwriting and guitar playing, as well as the vocals that are laid out throughout the album. The disc opens up with a haunting riff for the song “Devil’s Son,” which features Gary Hoey on lead guitar along with Ally Venable on guitar and vocals. Together, they stir a powerful tune that will stay on repeat. The next track, “Bridges to Burn” strikes an unforgettable melody within the song, with guest artist Lance Lopez and Ally playing in harmony together to resonate a powerful statement with their guitar playing. “Sleeping Through the Storm” is another number that portrays the message of conquering one’s struggles and persevering through the storm that approaches us in our lives. With compelling lyrics and strong blues rock guitar playing, Puppet Show represents the future of the blues.

“I had a blast guesting on the song, ‘Devil’s Son,’” says acclaimed rock guitarist Gary Hoey. “Ally has a maturity as a song writer beyond her years and her guitar playing and singing are the real deal. ‘Devils Son’ is a bad-ass song with a haunting riff; I had a blast playing my Highway 61 Dobro guitar on it. Bravo Ally!”

Adds Lance Lopez, who’s been a mentor to the 19-year-old Venable, “Ally has been working very hard to become the young Guitar Slingin’ Senorita she is. It’s been such a pleasure to share my knowledge with her and watch her grow!”

A powerhouse singer and guitar player, Ally Venable has ignited excitement on the Texas blues scene. She began singing at an early age in church and then in recent years picked up the guitar and found her true passion. A protégé of Lance Lopez, with her songwriting and onstage performances, this teen musician packs a punch. Ally was the 2014 and 2015 East Texas Female Guitarist of the Year. The Ally Venable Band also won 2015, 2016, and 2017 honors as East Texas Blues Band of the year.

Ally Venable Band TOUR Dates

*Pre-Release Shows:

March 9 - poor David’s Pub- Dallas, TX

March 16 - The Oasis – Midlothian, TX

March 17 - The Texas Musician’s Musuem. irving, TX

March 30 - Big beats, Dallas, Tx

March 31 - Green oaks Tavern, humble, TX

April 7 - BackPorch – kilgore, TX

*CD Release Shows:

April 13 - DArwin’s Burgers & Blues- Atlanta, GA

April 14 - thirsty Turtle – Millbrook, AL

April 20 - Keys Lounge – Fort Worth, TX

April 21 - Six springs Tavern – RichardSon, TX

April 27 - Germanfest – Muenster, TX

May 6 - Dallas international Guitar Show- Dallas, TX

May 12 - Porchfest – Kilgore, TX

May 26 - Mudbug madness - Shreveport, la

June 16 - Apline Country blues Festival, Apline, AZ

June 23 - Backporch – Kilgore, TX

July 7 - Tall city blues Fest –Midland, Tx.


Contact Ally at: / /

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Acclaimed Houston Blues Singer Trudy Lynn Signs with Piedmont Talent for Booking Representation; Nominated for Blues Music Award

Acclaimed Houston Blues Singer Trudy Lynn Signs with Piedmont Talent for Booking Representation

Trudy Lynn Just Nominated for a Blues Music Award in Traditional Blues Female Category

HOUSTON, TX – Connor Ray Music artist Trudy Lynn, whose latest CD is drawing rave reviews and substantial radio airplay for I’ll Sing the Blues for You, has been signed by Piedmont Talent for booking representation. Trudy was also just announced as a nominee for the Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female) by the Blues Foundation in Memphis for the upcoming Blues Music Awards in May.

“Piedmont Talent is honored to add Blues/Soul legend Trudy Lynn to our roster,” said Piedmont Talent CEO Jay Stollman in making the announcement. “Trudy’s profound talent and acclaimed musical history clearly define her as the ‘real deal’....a standout among the field of Blues vocalists, past and present. Simply put, Trudy Lynn sings the Blues as the Blues deserves to be sung....with heart, soul, passion and authenticity!”

The new CD from the acclaimed Houston-based blues singer features 10 tracks dripping with blues, soul and R&B, and includes her unique takes on songs from Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulsom, Memphis Minnie and Johnny Copeland, among others, as well as the funky original, “Thru Chasin’ You,” destined to be a fan favorite. Backing Trudy on the new album are Steve Krase on harmonica, David Carter on guitar, Terry Dry on bass, Randy Wall on keyboards and Matt Johnson on drums.  

“Choosing material for this album was quite an adventure,” Trudy said about I’ll Sing the Blues for You. “In my musical career, there are so many blues artists that I have been inspired by.”

In the new album’s liner notes, Trudy explained how its title came about. “As I’ve said in a previous recording of mine, ‘Everybody’s Got a Blues Song to Sing.’ One day my daughter gave me a gift of business cards, and on the top of each card was, Trudy Lynn: I’ll Sing the Blues for You! As I was looking at the cards, she said, ‘Mama, that’s what you do. You sing the blues for everybody.’ During so many of my performances, a fan will come up to me to say, ‘You were singing that song for me. That’s why I came!’ I take these compliments as stars in my crown, like flowers in my garden.”

I’ll Sing the Blues for You is Trudy Lynn’s 12th solo album and her third release on the Connor Ray Music label, following up on 2014’s Royal Oaks Blues Café, which hit #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart; and 2015’s Everything Comes with A Price, which spent four months on the Living Blues Radio Chart. Trudy is also a five-time Blues Music Award nominee and was inducted into the Houston Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
Trudy Lynn was born Lee Audrey Nelms in Houston’s Fifth Ward, where she began singing as a teenager. After high school, Lynn went to visit her aunt in Lufkin, where a club called the Cinderella needed a singer. She decided Lee Audrey Nelms wasn't going to cut it as a stage name. The club had a bunch of cartoon character names painted on the wall and she noticed “Trudy,” which she quickly paired with Lynn. “Lynn was something in those days,” she recalled. “Gloria Lynne, Barbara Lynn. I thought, ‘I’m going to be one of those Lynns, too, baby.’”

Prior to striking out on her own, Trudy was the vocalist for such Texas greats as I.J. Gosey and Clarence Green, where Trudy spent five years as the vocalist for his band. Green was a stern mentor, but Lynn credits him with helping her become a professional. “He molded me well,” she says. “He's still in me because of what he taught me. It takes that.” After leaving Green’s band, Lynn began performing on her own. For years she struggled to get recorded in a manner deserving of her talent, until 1989 when Trudy signed with John Abbey’s famed Ichiban label and provided the opportunity for her to tour the world and perform at the most prestigious festivals, including Lucerne and the Chicago Blues Festival. While at Ichiban, producers had a strong hand in directing her recordings. Since joining forces with harmonica wizard Steve Krase and the Connor Ray Music label in 2014, Lynn has played curator for herself. She has been writing original songs that blend nicely with the vintage material. The songs are mostly about good times and bad men. “Each one of these songs means something to me,” she states. “I truly understand something about each one of them.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

Connor Ray Music artist:The Mighty Orq - Love In A Hurricane - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Love In A Hurricane, from The Mighty Orq, and it's packed full of energy. Opening with Sweet In Between, a cool rocker with dynamics, quiet melodic vocals and powerful slide riffs, this is a super opener. Falling Down has a cool hook and smooth vocals by Orq, backed by Jimmy Rose on drums, Barry Seelen on organ and Terry Dry on bass. Pack It Up has a boppy funk to it, and Orq shows that he really is a tune master. With clever slide riffs and a crafty dance beat, this track is a strong radio player. Say It With Silence has a cool soul attack with Dry's bass emphasis focusing the beat and Orq again shows his solid radio appeal with smooth vocals and clean guitar solos. Title track, Love In A Hurricane, has traditional ballad lines featuring Orq's strong vocal attributes, an extremely clean acoustic guitar riff, tight drums and solid key work. The Possum Song has a low slung blues rock feeling with a driving rock guitar rhythm, nice organ work and a a driving drum beat. Carry Me Home is a quiet vocal ballad accompanied by piano and acoustic guitar. Carry Me Home is a real nice easy country rocker with a sweet melody, tight harmony and compact guitar solo. Made for the radio. You're In Love (That's Alright) has a real nice New Orleans flavor with super snare work, Seelen showing his accordion skills and a good time feel. One of my favorites on the release. Big Boat lays out the funk with cool percussion from Rose and real nice phrasing from Orq. Stepping up with a slick guitar solo and cool organ backing this track is tight! Very nice! A real rocker, Let Me Have My Fun, is driven by Seelen's piano work and a great rocking guitar riff. Very nice! An unusual take on Son House's Death Letter Blues, has as primary backing to the lead vocal, only drone note and minor atmospheric guitar sounds. Very interesting. Wrapping the release is Cannon Ball, a somber, acoustic guitar piece. It is captivating and well done.

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  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Connor Ray Music artist: Mark May - Blues Heaven - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (May 20, 2016), Blues Heaven, from Mark May and it's quite entertaining. Opening with Boom Boom, comes out kicking and with his guitar screaming. With a cool bass riff by Tim Keefe and a stiff snare drum rhythm, this track is off and running. May handles lead guitar and vocal duties. With it's soaring guitar lead and backing horn work by Ted "Teddy Boom" Basinger on trombone, John "Johnny B" Bonham on trumpet and Joe "Smokin' Joe" Reasoner on sax, this track is a hot opener. Sassy blues number, Money, sets up really nicely with solid bass line, supporting horns and and tight drums giving May space to lay out some really grinding guitar solo lines. Very nice! Two stepper, She's A Keeper, has country rock styling blended with a Louisiana flavor. Greg Martin slips in with some real nice slide work warming up the track. Title track, Blues Heaven is a simple ballad with a sweet melody. Matt Mees has the drums on this track and John Popovich on B3 adds nice texture. Some of May's nicest vocals on the release are on this track blending nicely with sax work by Eric Demmer. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Put Down That Poison with Ed Durante on rhythm guitar and Steve Krase on harp. May gives his picking a little country flair and Reasoner adds some really rich bari sax worh making this track a real standout. Shuffle track, Leaving Houston, has a smooth groove with May really settling on on vocal and guitar. Low octave baritone guitar work punched by the horn section is particularly effective on this track. Very nice! Boomerang has a straight line rhythm with an underlying funk thanks to May's guitar work and that of the horns. Trumpet work by Bonham gives the track a distinct Spanish flavor and May's wrapping guitar is quite nice! I'm Her Fool is a straight up blues rocker with some pretty cool lead slide by May. Gary Jorgenson is solid on drums and Steve Krase steps up the ante with flavorful harp work. Breaking into a gospel revival tempo, the track runs hard giving Popovich and Krase the space to show the heat. Gulf Coast Woman has a heaving driving bass line and May steps up the guitar lead with just a touch of Billy G. style. Funky horn track, All I Ever Do develops a real nice groove with funky horn work by Basinger, Bonham and Reasoner and a nice bass line from Keefe. With a super dance beat and fluid guitar runs by Hadden Sayers, this is a real cool track. Shuffle track, Garden of Truth, has solid radio appeal and a nice hook. Eric Demmer is back with a hot sax solo and May's guitar lead is crisp and clean. Kind of Girl is a real cool track with slick lead and slide guitar work by May and a funky bass line. Certainly one of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is Almost Like Suicide, a light funky bluesy track with a modern vocal delivery style. Mees is back on drums on this track and Popovich's piano work is really nice. May lays down some Spanish influenced guitar riffs making this a real nice closer for a solid release.

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Connor Ray Music artist: Trudy Lynn - Everything Comes With A Price - New Release Review

I just received the most recent release, Everything Comes With A Price, from Trudy Lynn and it's quite enjoyable. Opening with blues swinger, I'm Gonna Latch On, Lynn immediately establishes why she has been nominated for the BMA Koko Taylor award for female vocalist in 2015 and 2016. Harp man Steve Krase hits the harp square on adding cool riffs and The Mighty Org lays down some really nice guitar riffs as well. Slinky blues number, Fat Daddy, has a great groove and super harp riff, backed by Randy Wall on keys, Paul Lil Buck Senegal on lead guitar and Terry Dry on bass. Lynn has a great swagger on Everything Comes With A Price and Krase is right there to match her on harp. Wall's keys add nicely on this track in particular and Lil Buck sets a great groove of his own on guitar. Very nice! Wall plays a most excellent solo on Yesterday I Was Lonely, a slow blues number and Lynn digs deepp for some of her most heartfelt vocals on the release. Super! My Alley Boogie, has a great New Orleans funk with great piano work by wall and tight harp work from Krase. Excellent track. Rocker, Just A Little Kiss, features a real nice bass line by Terry Dry and James Henry on lead guitar rips it up real nice. Messin' Around With The Blues has a really nice slow blues pace with a Stormy Monday feel. With Rock Romano on bass, sparkling piano work from Wall and Krase trading the spotlight with Lynn this is on of my favorite tracks on the release. Boogie Woogie track, Let My Daddy Do That, hits a real nice stride with Lynn's authoritative vocals, a hot bass line from Dry, The Mighty Org on guitar and Wall hitting the 88's hard. Very nice! Ella Johnson's Blues has a real nice feel with just the right feel from Wall under the melody. Henry adds his own signature guitar riffs giving the track sting. Very cool! Wrapping the release is Living Humble, a cool track with a spiritual feel. Backing vocals and bright piano work nicely support Lynn's vocals making this a super closer.

 View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Noted Bluesman Signs with Connor Ray Music

Bluesman Bob Lanza Signs with Connor Ray Music

The Bob Lanza Band expands beyond the horizon

If you know Bob Lanza, (shown in the white suit above) then you know one of the coolest, together bluesmen in the business.  A home grown New Jersey boy that shares the stage with the likes of folks like James Cotton, Tom Holland, Trudy Lynn, and Darrel Nulisch just to name a few.  This cat gets it done. Bob recently signed with Connor Ray Music (Houston, Texas) and was in Rock Romano's Red Shack recording studio and met with Paul Heath, CEO, of Radio X Belgium.  Paul had this to say, "I'm often impressed by the talented people who I meet and interview on my travels,  and then,  there I was one day chatting with Bob... A most humble man,  great sense of humor,  and totally focused on nothing but the music.  It just oozed out of him - natural all-round talent at it's best."

When I asked Bob what's the difference to an artist between being self released or with a label Bob had this to say,  "I made the move to Connor Ray after realizing that the business side of the blues was hampering my creative time.  You simply cannot do everything in this business, you need others.  It's much better to be an artist only. I find I perform better with less worries and I enjoy being free of that stuff.  I feel like I did when I first started laying down the blues.  I didn't get into this to get caught up in the business side. I got into this because there's nothing like the blues and a blues audience.  I enjoy creating it, delivering it, and when an audience gets in the groove with you man nothing compares to that feeling brother, nothing.  It was time to make a move and Connor Ray brings a lot to the table." 

Connor Ray Music CEO John Abbey shared this, "New Jersey has always turned out marvelous musicians, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springstein come to mind immediately and there are many others as well.  Bob Lanza and Steve Krase had shared the stage on more than occasion and each had noted the other guy's performance abilities.  That started it.  As they got to know each other each realized the other had something of value and that formed an alliance between them.  Today, we have surrounded Bob with a complete team of business people: press, bookings, studio, distribution, and more.  Bob is right - now he can do what he wants to do, create, record, and play his music.  We are really excited to have Bob on board."

From left: Paul Heath, Rock Romano, Bob Lanza

The Bob Lanza Band keeping it real performing at the Alzheimer's Benefit at Arbour Terrace Assist Living

Gentleman Bob Lanza laying it down
at Smokin' Jazz & Blues Fest @ Mountain Creek
From right: James Cotton, Darrel Nulisch, Bob Lanza

Bob with recording star Trudy Lynn
Jimmy Pritchard on bass

Shown: Blues vocalist Nicole Hart
with Bob Lanza
"John, I want to say something about Steve Krase.  Through participating with me on the road Steve and I became great friends.  The camaraderie developed because Steve wants to push the blues to more and more people just like I do. People can feel Steve's energy on stage and our performances together were received with high praise.  But it's not only that, it's the continual collaboration after the gigs.  As I say the man wants to push the blues big time and that's exciting."
Bob Lanza