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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 David Luning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Luning. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

David Luning - Just Drop On By - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to listen to the newest release, Just Drop On By,  by David Luning Band and its quite enjoyable. As my regular readers know, I saw Luning in concert with one of my personal favorites, Jimbo Mathus, last week and they impressed me. This release opens with title track, Just Drop On By, a very well written country influenced track with a great melody. Buddies Till The End is up next with a real warm recognizable feel. "Fit's like a glove" music with clever lyrics and strong melody and a taste of country gives this song particular appeal. Guitarist Dave Sampson adds some really nice steel guitar like guitar riffs giving the track a real party feel... "right off the juke box". Excellent! You And Me And The Devil In Between is a poppy ballad with a light country twist. Sampson plays lap steel on this number with mostly atmospheric effects. Brodie Jenkins adds some nice vocal harmonies on this track as well. The most memorable track on the release, Whiskey Bottle, is a track that not only has clever lyrics but one of those melodies that sticks with you for days. A hand clapping foot stomper, this track is hard to beat with all of the right components. I mentioned in my review of this band in concert, I really like Luning's voice and Sampson is really a strong proponent on steel guitar. A Little Bit Bad is a straight up ballad with only quiet, stylized harmonics behind the vocals. Fortunately, Luning's writing is solid, his acoustic work is good and his vocals are nice. Northern California is a really strong ballad utilizing only vocal, acoustic guitar, cello and cymbals. Very nice. Bed Of Roses is another of my personal favorites on the release. Luning has a certain manner of vocal delivery that is soothing yet not sleepy. It has country flavor but is not country and certainly not pop country (hooray). Josh Venne adds some stylized steel work on this track and Luning adds light harp work. Linden Reed on drums and Ben Dubin keep the bottom tight with Luning's acoustic guitar and Sampson steps up with clean electric guitar solos but playing it straight. Very nice. Ode To The Poorest Man On Earth is a humble ballad and again Luning on vocal, guitar and piano accompanied only by George Chavez on cello. Always Gonna Be That Way has a real pure quality with Luning on vocal, guitar and harmonica accompanied only by Zack Summer on upright bass. Waiting Room maintains a light touch but with very silky arrangements. Luning on vocal, acoustic guitar and piano is joined by Sampson on electric guitar,Dubin on bass, Reed on drums and Venne on steel. My Baby Blues On Wheels is a zippy acoustic driven track with Sampson on mandolin, Dubin on bass and Reed on drums. Stripped down this is happy go lucky party music. Sampson lays out a nice mando solo on this track giving it a bit of a bluegrass feel. The release is wrapped by Humble Apologizin', a track with a bit of Dylan, a bit of Waits and a lot of Luning. Playing a nice harmonica part on this last track give it a particularly smooth texture. This guy has his own sound and I really like it. The overall quality of the basic tracks, nicely balanced and delivered make this a sound that should be heard. When you want some solid ballads, feel good music and quiet solid guitar work...this may be your go to cd!

  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”


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jimbo Mathus demolishes Phoenix's Rhythm Room - David Luning Band a shocker!

Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition hit Phoenix last night like a meteor. I don't give strong endorsements to many bands so listen up. I got to the Rhythm Room a little early last night and the opening act was just setting up.

I have to tell you that the opening band, David Luning Band, was the surprise of the year for me. First off I have never heard of them but then reading their bio, they go places that I never go... like American Idol? Now before you shut this down, give me a second. If someone told me that I would like someone that was on American Idol they would get a pretty smug look of disbelief (if not a stiff defiant finger) but to actually sit in a room with this band, listen to strong, creative, concise songwriting performed by a really nice group of fellows was just inspiring.

Luning, a good looking young man who could easily have been the lead for British Band "Faces" or fit into the Beatles, has a super voice. This band doesn't sing pop music like I would expect from an American Idol candidate, but Alt American country/rock/folk/blues thing with really nicely blended vocals (think Humble Pie), creative stories (think Gerald Colliers or Arlo Guthrie) and a rowdy feel (think Keith Richards). This band really captivated the audience and based upon their 5 or 6 song performance, I am an immediate fan. Luning who handles lead vocal and acoustic lead guitar is joined by Linden Reed (drums), Dave Sampson (guitars), and Ben Dubin (bass and harp), who all participate on vocal harmonies. I don't know of anyone who is doing anything quite like them and I do suggest strongly that you search them out and give a listen. I have a copy of their latest CD, Just Drop On By, so expect a review of it in the next few days. Very nice performance men!

 Trying to summarize a Jimbo Mathus concert is like trying to count raindrops. If you have never seen Jimbo in concert and have only heard a bit of his music, you have only seen a blurry 40's B&W of the real deal. Now I was captivated by Jimbo's originality when I first saw him open for Buddy Guy over a decade ago. I recall specifically that I was sitting in Mesa Center for the Arts talking with one of my guitar jam buddies while the opening act started to play. After just a short intro I asked my pal, "Who are these guys?". We both quickly scoured the floor for a program and dummied up to catch the rest of his spontaneous set. We were talking a lot about how different this guy was and we really enjoyed him when the main show began. Everybody was there to see Buddy Guy (me included). On steps Jimbo Mathus again, the featured guitar player with Buddy Guys touring band. You are shitting me! Yep. This guy was featured on two of Guys most significant releases of the past decade.

 Skip ahead to June 19, 2014 at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix AZ. Jimbo and his Tri-State Coalition hit the stage running. Mathus doesn't have what I would call a "Mathus" sound, a hook or a riff, and that really works strongly to his artistic advantage but he does have recognizable brush strokes. Something that an art collector uses to discern a masterpiece from a copy. Primarily an introspective story teller and a philosopher, Mathus uses different colors from his musical paint box to get just the right feel for each song. These are some of the songs from last night's set. Dirty Hustling, a funky street rocker flavored by a dash funky guitar (think JG Watson or WW Washington). It gets you right down in the street where it's happening. Using the style of the track, I mean really crafting the track to it's subject matter, makes it so much more effective. I Wanna Be Your Satellite retains a rocking country sound but more like Canadian band, the Byrds. You aren't really conscious as you are listening but Mathus is taking you on a journey and he is controlling not only the mental picture with his words but smoothly crafts his own vocal style as well as the texture and style of the backing music to create the perfect ambiance. The title track from Mathus' newest release
Dark Night Of The Soul is a perfect example where his vocals are almost the sound of a man in pain. Mathus and crew take this track to rock on with serious intention. One of my all time favorite Mathus songs, Who'll Sop My Gravy raises some philosophical questions but with that sense of humor that you will see gleaming through much of Mathus work. Taking the texture of this track down to it's lowest denominator, pure rural country folk music with that special Louisiana blues twist, Mathus is able to pull the listener into the earthy feel of the track and then slowly slides a funky beat under their seat. Tennessee Walker Mare is presented as a country ballad and the delivery is perfect. Let me make this clear. Listening to regular music is like watching regular tv. Listening to Jimbo Mathus perfect his craft is like watching in 4k (Ultra High Definition). He creates the stage, he sets the plot, he creates the background music, he shoots the bad guy! Casey Caught The Cannonball is a really entertaining tale with twists and turns. Delivered with a "The Band" like feel with a bit of easy country funk and a dash of fun. Shines Like A Diamond is a country rocker with a stiff bite and a nod to Van Morrison. There is a common thread that runs through all of Mathus music and that is honesty in music, a sincere belief that what he is doing is right and a genuine desire to write the best music possible in hopes that someone may actually get where he's coming from. It is clearly apparent from watching Mathus on stage and from talking with him briefly after the show that he is genuinely grateful to have people listening to his music, to be playing what he wants and to be gaining an audience without compromising his efforts. I see few performers on stage performing with such commitment and devotion. Mathus is a guitar wielding powerhouse on stage but is a humble and kind man face to face. Along with a few songwriters that you could count on one hand, Mathus is one of the premier unsung songwriters of today. I remember seeing Jeff Beck in clubs this small not a long time ago and with the kind of show Mathus puts on, you better see him while you can.

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”