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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 Demolition Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Demolition Day. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ruf Records artists: Honey Island Swamp Band - Demolition Day - New release review

I just received the newest release, Demolition Day, from Honey Island Swamp Band and it's quite entertaining. Opening with a full blown rocker, How Do You Feel with a Stones vibe, Aaron Wilkinson on guitar, Chris Mule on guitar, Sam Price on bass, Garland Paul on drums and Trevor Brooks on keys get this track rockin. With strong piano support, key guitar riffs and a sassy Bobby keys like sax solo this track is a great opener. Head High Water Blues has a swampy, Band meets Little Feat groove. Price's bass work on this track, nicely balanced with Brook's keyboard really hits on full behind the vocal work of the band. High plains rider, No Easy Way, has an ethereal western sound blended with a jazz flavor. Subdued slide guitar work and nicely accented horn work gives this track a real cool feel. Medicated has a modern R&B feel bringing to mind a lot of the J Geils tracks with solid vocals and horn backing over a solid bass line. A nicely articulated guitar solo gives the track that extra something that sets it apart. Watch and Chain is a funky rocker with a cool Rhodes piano solo over solid slide work. Acoustic guitar work and harp by Wilkinson on Katie has a Louisiana country pop feel. These unconventional textures in music coming to my desk are unconventional. Very nice. Ain't No Fun is a slide driven blues rocker. Prominent bass work by Price stands tall and nice vocal blending makes this a prime radio track. She Goes Crazy has a cool, easy 2 step rhythm and nice horn interplay. Through Another Day is a really interesting track with a bit of a Lynyrd Skynyrd swagger. Wilkinson's mandolin work on this track, contrasted against the slide work and nicely blended vocals makes this one of my favorites on the track. Say It Isn't True has a real full sound in "Band" like fashion. One of the strongest vocal tracks on the release and again with Benoit on pedal steel, Wilkinson harp and a rocky rhythm guitar by Mule, a strong ballad. Wrapping the release is Devil's Den, a blues based, finger picked track with a western flavor with nicely crafted lap steel work by Benoit and mando by Wilkinson. Key rhythm shots by Paul and solid vocals make this a real nice track to close a subtly cool release.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Honey Island Swamp Band Brings A Sledgehammer To Demolition Day - 4/29

The Honey Island Swamp Band Brings A Sledgehammer
To Demolition Day
Out April 29 During Jazz Fest In New Orleans

“They’re irresistible by their name alone…” - Elmore

Think The Band’s Music From Big Pink album and add a splash of hot sauce with “Willin’’ by Little Feat – this group of New Orleans vagabonds nails it.

New Orleans, LA or San Francisco, CA– From the pristine waters of the Honey Island Swamp, to the vibrant streets of New Orleans, to the hazy corner of Haight-Asbury in San Francisco, this band has endured devastation, relocation, and revitalization. A group whose sound has been tagged “Bayou Americana,” the Honey Island Swamp Band takes the hammer to the nail with the help of producer Luther Dickinson, and presents Demolition Day to the world April 29 on Ruf Records.

This album marks the 10-year anniversary of the Honey Island Swamp Band, which formed in San Francisco, CA via New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina displaced the founding members.  With little hope of returning to their beloved city, the band channeled the blues and emotions of their circumstances to develop a soulful style and sound that critics have compared to legendary Blues-Roots-Rock Artists such as The Allman Brothers, Little Feat and The Band.    

Recording at the Parlor Studio in New Orleans, Honey Island Swamp Band teams up with producer/musician Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars to capture a rhythm and a feel born straight from the heart of Americana. The album features a host of New Orleans finest musicians, including guest appearances by keyboardist Ivan Neville and Tab Benoit on pedal steel.  

“Their all encompassing sound of blues, roots, country, and soul has been described as “Bayou Americana.” – No Depression

“We’ve always wanted to record to two-inch tape, to get that old analog sound,” says bandleader Aaron Wilkinson, “and this was our first opportunity to make it happen. Luther was the perfect producer to help us nail that old-school, authentic sound. He was great at keeping us focused on the spirit of each performance, not getting bogged down in details and perfectionism. That’s what we were looking for and what we needed.”

After all, polish isn’t necessary when you’re working with songs this strong. Across its eleven cuts, Demolition Day tips a hat to most of the great American genres, while adding the Honey Island Swamp Band’s inimitable thumbprint. There's the spring-heeled slide-blues of “Ain’t No Fun”, the upbeat funk of “Head High Water Blues”, the cat-house piano and country-fried guitars of “How Do You Feel”. But then, on the emotional flipside, there’s also the reflective wah-guitar lilt of “Say It Isn’t True”, the mournful funeral-jazz slow-burn of “No Easy Way” and the heart-in-mouth acoustic confessional of “Katie”.

“We’re diverse and complex people,” explains Chris Mule, the band’s guitarist, “and our audiences are as well. So we try to let our music reflect that.”

Drawing from their diverse backgrounds, the band’s lyrical content is quite colorful. “They really are all over the map,” Aaron explains of the topics explored on Demolition Day. “Some are rooted in reality and personal experience. “Head High Water Blues” is a look back at the Hurricane Katrina experience now that ten years has passed. Much has been rebuilt, but much has not and never will be – and the song is more about the emotional scars that can never be fully erased. Others are just fiction and storytelling. We had the music for “Through Another Day”, and it sounded sort of old and epic and Southern, and that inspired this Civil War-era storyline that became the lyrics. Others are just sort of playful nonsense about life and relationships, like “Watch And Chain.”

Demolition Day is about rebuilding more than tearing down. It's about a renewal of purpose, reflected through powerful lyrics and stories, great slide guitar on top of deep bass and rhythms that continue to move the foundation that the band was built upon. 

New Orleans has a deep well of music, and that well has no rules - the only boundaries are the ones that we place on ourselves.

On Demolition Day, the Honey Island Swamp Band breaks these boundaries to deliver a sound so relevant and honest that even in the darkest of days – like the violent storm that brought this group of musicians together – Demolition Day still shines brightly.

Meet The Honey Island Swamp Band:
Aaron Wilkinson - mandolin, guitar, harmonica, vocals
Chris Mulé - guitar, vocals
Sam Price - bass, vocals
Garland Paul - drums, vocals
Trevor Brooks – keyboards