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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 Guitar Angels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guitar Angels. Show all posts

Friday, January 31, 2014

Catfood Records artist: James Armstrong - Guitar Angels - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Guitar Angels (February 18, 2014) from James Armstrong and its smooth! Opening with a swinging shuffle tune, Grandma's Got A New Friend, Armstrong picks up where he left off on Blues at the Border with clever lyrics and stinging guitar work. Healing Time has a Curtis Mayfield/Wolfman Washington groove with a nice R&B feel and sweet vocals. A total redo of Glenn Frey's Take It To The Limit is actually almost unrecognizable in a good way. This track has a lot of attitude and drummer Rick King adds that drum attitude. With a real nice loping groove Armstrong lays down BB King like riffs and sings one of the coolest covers I've heard in a long time. Guitar Angels is a really nice Mayfield like R&B style ballad. Possibly my favorite track on the release, Armstrong sings in the pocket and Eric Tinsley lays down a nice bass line for Armstrong to solo over. Very nice! Moving To Nashville has a bit of a two step feel with nice slide work from Armstrong. Goodbye Kiss is a straight up ballad with solid vocals and melody. Dan Ferguson carries the basis of the track on keys. Bank Of Love is a hot potato with Rick King laying down a strong drum line. Armstrong really grips the vocal part on this track and with complimentary guitar riffs tears this track up! Another of my favorites on the release. Saturday Night Women has a cool strut to it featuring cool bass lines from Malcolm Gold and perfect rockin key work from George Papageorge. Armstrong has the perfect feel for guitar accent demonstrating it well on this particular track. Johnny Copelan's Blues Ain't Nothin' establishes a terrific groove with Gold again on bass and Warren Grant on drums. Armstrong does a great job of strokin this classic funky blues track. R&B style Runaway Train has the support of a great horn section includingAndy Roman (sax) Mike Middleton (trumpet) and Robert Claiborne (trombone). With a slick funky jog this track hits home. Finishing up the release with the radio version of Guitar Angel, this is a great conclusion to a sweet release. Jimi Hendrix melodies swirl through soul track with blues guitar riffs. Very very nice.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

James Armstrong Talks to "Guitar Angels" on New Catfood Records CD, Coming February 8

James Armstrong Talks to Guitar Angels on New Catfood Records CD, Coming February 8

Follow-Up to His Critically-Acclaimed Label Debut Is His Most-Personal Album to-Date

EL PASO, TX – Catfood Records announces a February 18 release date for Guitar Angels, the latest album from contemporary blues singer/guitarist James Armstrong, and follow-up to his acclaimed label debut, Blues at the Border.

“This new CD bears the stamp of James Armstrong throughout, along with the assistance of his good friend, Michael Ross, as producer,” says Catfood Records head Bob Trenchard. “Various musicians were used in the making of the album and it was recorded at three different studios, but the common thread is James Armstrong’s unique talent on every song. He is a true original in his songwriting, guitar playing and vocals.”

The nine original songs on Guitar Angels are bolstered by the inclusion of two stellar covers: a wonderful re-working of the Eagles hit, “Take It to the Limit,” which he transforms into a bluesy shuffle; and a solid take on Johnny Copeland’s “Blues Ain’t Nothin’.”

“Working with Bob Trenchard of Catfood Records has been a blast,” says James Armstrong about the sessions. “I was delighted after the 2012 release of Blues at the Border that Bob wanted me to do another one so quickly. The songs came from some new ideas, some old ideas and some humorous ones.”

One of the “humorous ones” James refers to is the album’s lead-off track, “Grandma’s Got a New Friend,” a song about how the Baby Boomer approach to aging differs from previous generations. A tune that James has been performing live for many months, it’s become a crowd favorite and was an obvious choice to include on Guitar Angels. Another fan-pleaser is “Saturday Night Women,” which never fails to elicit shouts from club audiences when performed live.

James Armstrong’s approach to the blues and songwriting has always been from a contemporary standpoint that keeps the music relevant without forsaking its roots. To that end, there are several very personal songs that mean a lot to James, but will also resonate with listeners, as well. “Healing Time,” co-written by Armstrong and Michael Ross, deals with the death of Michael’s brother, Norman, who had recently passed away. It’s a moving tribute to a brother who also played guitar with such notables as Ronnie Spector and Irene Cara.

The album’s title track “has been in my head for a few years,” notes Armstrong. Since my injury in 1996, many guitar players, alive and dead, have helped me. I still am unable to bend the third finger on my left hand, or use my little finger, but I attribute some of the reason I’m actually able to play the guitar again to my ‘guitar angels:’ my father, James Armstrong Sr., Mike Ross, Coco Montoya and Joe Louis Walker.”

The incident James refers to was the horrible home invasion attack he suffered in 1996 that left Armstrong without the use of his left hand and arm, including permanent nerve damage. This threatened his career forever, but that thanks to a lot of hard physical rehabilitation, plus the support of friends, fans and the blues community, Armstrong returned to performing and has never looked back.

Born to a jazz guitar-playing father and blues-singing mother, James Armstrong was literally born to play the blues. Raised in Los Angeles, he formed his first band in the seventh grade and by age 17 was already touring the country. He soon became the youngest guitar player ever in Smokey Wilson’s legendary band and was mentored by another legend, Albert Collins. Shortly thereafter he was discovered by HighTone Records co-owner Bruce Bromberg and signed with the label, recording several acclaimed albums for them.

James Armstrong will support the release of Guitar Angels with consistent touring both in North America and overseas. For more information, visit  and