CLICK ON TITLE BELOW TO GO TO PURCHASE!!!! CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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!

Please email me at
Showing posts with label Jimbo Mathus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jimbo Mathus. Show all posts

Friday, April 1, 2016

New West Records artist: Luther Dickinson - Blues & Ballads - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook: Volume I & II) by Luther Dickinson and it is a pure delight! Opening with Othar Turner's Hurry Up Sunrise, Dickinson teams up with Turner's granddaughter, Sharde' Thomas for a country blues pop track with really nice slide and a tight rhythm. Excellent opener! Up Over Yonder features JJ Grey on vocal and greasy slide work from Jason Isbell which adds real grit. Dickinson's own guitar work, bass by Amy LaVere and Thomas on drums round out this super track. Bang Bang Lulu is a really cool track with a New Orleans feel. Dickinson's own piano and slide work, along with fiddle by Lillie Mae Rische, and Paul Taylor on tub bass gives this track an excellent vibe. Super! Moonshine is an easy paced folk ballad with light, straight up acoustic picking and Dickinson on lead vocal. His slide work on this track again slides giving it a warm homey feel. Jackson is a well constructed folk ballad with simple acoustic accompaniment. This is just pure music. Mean Ol' Wind Died Down is a track that I would say sounds quite a bit like Othar with it's structure, snare drum, duet vocal and fife by Thomas and Dickinson on guitar. Very nice! How I Wish My Train Would Come has a strong melody and with secondary vocals by Thomas, B3 by Charles Hodges and Dickinson on guitar and mandolin, a very nice track. Ain't No Grave was written by Dickinson after the passing of his father. Mavis Staples joins on vocals on this eerie track and Will Sexton on acoustic guitar with Luther taking the prime vocal position and adding beautiful slide work. Excellent! Let It Roll is a very cool jam in spiritual form with a blend of B3, piano and slide guitar, breaking into very bluesy/gospel style melody featuring Thomas and Dickinson. One of my absolute favorites on the release! My Leavin' features Jimbo Mathus on banjo under Dickinson on lead vocal with Thomas on second vocal and fife. Very cool! Horseshoe (Reprise) is an excellent jam with Dickinson on coffe can diddley bo, Jimmy Crosthwait on washboard, Paul Taylor on tub bass and Thomas on fife. Excellent! Blues track, Highwater (Soldier) has a heavy kick drum bottom and lead diddley bo slide work balancing nicely with Dickinson's vocals. And It Hurts is a quiet ballad with acoustic guitar accompaniment, fiddle by Rische and some of the softest vocals on the release. Very nice! Storm, another ballad, has an unsettling melody reinforced by Dickinson's slide work. Dickinson is a master of tension and blending which is well exhibited here. Mojo, Mojo has a solid hill country sound with a raw unpolished feel. Dickinson's vocals, complimented by Thomas, his own guitar and the fiddle work of Rische make for a solid folk track. Very nice! Ol' Cannonball has a pure country blues feel with shuffle brushes by Thomas. This track just flows like water from a stream, natural and pure. A gritty blues number, Devilment, has a great primitive feel with unpolished vocals, raw slide and rudimentary drums. Excellent! Blow Out sounds like an early rocker with simple percussion and Dickinson's driving vocal and guitar work. Very cool! Mayor Langford Birmingham Blues is a really country blues track and another of my favorites on the release. Dickinson's vocals and guitar pickin is well complimented by Rische on fiddle and Dominic Davis on bass. Excellent! Shake (Yo Mama) has a real mountain country feel mixed with a city rock blues. The raw blending of vocals and mandolin, Jimbo Mathus on banjo and Alvin Youngblood on guitar is seriously cool! Wrapping the release is Horseshoe, with Dickinson on acoustic guitar and vocal. His playing technique is nicely showcased on this track making it a perfect conclusion to an excellent 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”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 


Monday, March 28, 2016

Big Legal Mess artist: Jimbo Mathus - Band Of Storms - New release review

I just received the newest release, Band of Storms (May 6, 2016), from Jimbo Mathus and it's off the hook. If you read my site regularly you know that Mathus is one of my favorite writers/performers but that doesn't mean that he gets a pass. He has big boots to fill after turning out Jimmy The Kid a few years back. JTK is a release that all Mathus releases will be unfairly judged by, unfairly in that it is one of my favorite all time recordings. Mathus never fails to please and this release is no exception. If you ever put one of Jimbo's releases and you don't like it, and you like "real" music, not just canned music, set it aside and listen to it again in a few weeks. This stuff is the real deal and I can't say enough how good this stuff is! Opening with Gringo Man, Mathus cranks up a rockin country blues with a fat horn section filling in the back. Jimbo has such a casual delivery that literally sucks you right into the music. His vocals are fun and friendly and his guitar riffs are free wheelin and wild. Excellent! Can't Get Much Higher has a New Orleans feel with rolling piano and sweet, sassy sax work. Jimbo knows how to milk the juice out of a track in a way that to me was previously exclusive to Elvin Bishop. Excellent! On a Johnny Cash bent original, Let's Play With Fire, Mathus plays up that early country rock fusion that made Cash successful and does it well. This track is all Mathus in heart, co written with Robert Earl Reed but with a Cash style. Dramatic ballad, Stop Your Crying, has a really cool melody and Mathus' trademark western sound. This is one of my favorite tracks on the release with searing steel guitar over the backing. Very cool! Massive Confusion has that great Ramones, garage styling and we all know Mathus knows how to play that punky garage raw rock. Lofi guitar work and solid drumming give Jimbo the floor for his vocal serenade. Excellent! Wayward Wind has the simplicity of an old country folk tune. A sweet steel guitar solo and Jimbo perfectly clocked "Looka Here" gives this track just the right feel. Yes it can all be excellent! Opening with a dobro slide, Slow Down Sun, keeps it simple and pure. This is one of those tracks that bridges folk and blues with a really nice melody. It's trademark Jimbo and has a quiet elegance. I had an advance copy of this release a few weeks ago and had listened to it a few times while i worked. Last weekend a tune popped in my ear and I kept hearing it over and over. I could not for the life of me nail what it was. Then it popped. It's off of Jimbo's new release. Keep It Together is a very simple little track with simple accompaniment but a beautiful melody. With rudimentary drums, acoustic guitar and eloquent electric overlays, this track will be your earworm.. just listen! Wrapping the release is Catahoula, a great country reel with light mandolin and Jimbo hootin and hollerin. This is a great track and really caps a terrific release. I love every track on this release after only a few listens and I rarely ever say that about anything. Absolutely terrific!

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" 


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Jimbo Mathus EP 'Band of Storms' coming May 6

Nine-song collection a mini-primer of “folk music”
from the fertile pen of the born-and-raised Mississippean
and Squirrel Nut Zippers founder

TAYLOR, Miss. — Trying to pinpoint the musical proclivities of Jimbo Mathus is a bit like trying to predict the path of lightning. You never know where his seemingly limitless creative energy might take him next. But you can bet those bolts of inspiration will produce something you need to hear.
His latest project, the nine-song EP Band of Storms, out May 6, 2016 on the Big Legal Mess label (via Fat Possum), is a brilliant collection of what he characterizes as “just some odds and ends … you know, folk music.”
Well, that depends on your definition of folk music. If it includes Stonesy R&B grooves, straight-outta-Nuggets rawk, deep blues, barrelhouse honky-tonk, a string-laden murder ballad and Louisiana-accented bluegrass, then yeah, we could call it folk. As filtered through the fertile mind of a diehard Southerner, born and raised in Oxford, Miss., not much more than a stone’s throw from Tupelo, Holly Springs and Clarksdale. That is, right in the birthplace of American roots music.
“It’s just a continuation of the work I’ve been doing for, shoot, the past 20 years,” Mathus says. “There’s no big overall, arching thing. It’s just random notes out of my brain.”  
But then he reveals that there is a theme of sorts, and that most of the subject matter is reflected right in Erika Jane Amerika’s cover art. It features a maniacal-looking Mathus standing near a cypress swamp, holding his lightning-struck Epiphone guitar in one hand and a fiery bible in the other. A lightning-zapped Econoline van hovers above him; gathered at his feet are an alligator, his Catahoula dog and a snake-handling Yemayá (the “great mother” of Santeria religion).
All his writing has basically the same theme, Mathus says. “It’s dealing with nature — forces beyond us — and trying to sum it up in my little cave paintings that we call recorded songs.”
Those “little cave paintings” were created at Dial Back Sound, the Water Valley, Miss., studio owned by Fat Possum Records partner Bruce Watson. Mathus has birthed loads of material there; he’s able to jump into the studio just about whenever motivation strikes. The situation is so ideal, Mathus closed his own successful studio a few years back; he was no longer interested in running it after finding so many fulfilling opportunities at Dial Back, including producing and accompanying other artists. 
He uses the winding eight-mile drive from his home in the tiny artist enclave of Taylor, Miss., to think about projects. “If it’s me or if it’s somebody else, it’s all the same,” he says. “We just study on it, trying to make it as great as we can.”
Mathus doesn’t even list individual credits on his albums because, he says, they’re so collaborative. But he plays just about all the instruments, augmented by helpful friends. In this case, they include Watson as executive producer; Mathus produced. Bronson Tew engineered, mixed and mastered — and played many instruments, too. Also contributing are Ryan Rogers, Eric Carlton, Will McCarley, Jamison Hollister, Jim Spake, Mark Franklin and Stu Cole, who plays bass in Mathus’ most renowned musical endeavor, the Squirrel Nut Zippers. (He’s also a member of pal Luther Dickinson’s South Memphis String Band with Alvin Youngblood Hart, and credits Luther’s late dad, famed pianist/producer Jim Dickinson, as the source of much of his musical mojo.)
The result is an ode to what Mathus calls the “primal Southern groove.” 

There’s only one co-write — the twangy “Play with Fire,” also credited to his late friend Robert Earl Reed. “He and I were pretty close collaborators,” Mathus reflects. “This was one he wrote right before he passed. He left me all his music to carry on with, and every so often, I’ll just pull out one of his sheets and cut one of his songs. He had never recorded this one. I just showed the band and we did one take.”
Mathus says he loves its almost desperate imagery, and when he sings, “Yes, let’s play with fire/Let’s cross in front of trains in the darkness, feel the flames/oh, yes, let’s play with fire,” he draws each “yes” into a long hiss. 
Of those sibilant s's, he says, laughing, “I’m getting into character. If you wanna sing like the devil, you gotta hiss like a snake.” Then he adds, “The way you say the words is very important. If it’s a rock ’n’ roll song, you maybe got 20 words. You gotta squeeze the most out of ’em.”
He does exactly that in “Massive Confusion,” the garage-rocker that serves as a straight-up homage to the Replacements, Bobby Fuller Four and the Ramones — and contains what he’s sure is the first-ever rhyme of “yemayá” and “FBI.”
“I wrote it when I was getting audited by the IRS and I was trying to save my fuckin’ ass,” Mathus explains. “It’s just super-punk rock. I came up in the ’80s and the Replacements turned me on to songwriting. They showed me that I could actually write songs. I’m 48, but I’m still a punk rocker.”
Mathus has stories about every song, starting with the rollicking, horn-pumped rock of the opener, “Gringo Man.” He wrote it on a cheap guitar rig he picked up at a Christian supply shop in Jackson, Tenn.
“Sometimes a guitar will write its own song,” Mathus says. “It was like a little cardboard amp with a plastic cord going to it; I made that almost clichéd little rock ’n’ roll riff. But it’s like Keith Richards said about Jimmy Reed: He wrote the same song over and over, but he never did the same thing twice. It’s about celebrating the groove.”
The honky-tonk blooz of “Can’t Get Much Higher” was one for the piano player, Mathus says. He borrowed some of its lyrics from one of his heroes, Charley Patton — father of his nanny, Rosetta Patton.
Dramatic pedal steel and strings give “Stop Your Crying” a Southern gothic turn, with Mathus’ voice going from big and angry to almost plaintive as the song reaches its murderous climax.
“I think it’s one of my best vocals I’ve ever done. But it’s extremely personal. I wrote it for someone very special,” he says, not mentioning who.
“Wayward Wind,” inspired by an Emmylou Harris lyric, has elements of an Irish/English/Scottish drinking song — and was, indeed, written while Mathus was playing U.K. beer halls with his “brother from another mother overseas,” Ian Siegal. “With songwriting, you just pick up scraps and try to turn ’em into a whole page. This one kind of fits in with the theme of desperation, of somebody leaving,” Mathus says. “The blues is all about movin’ on down the line.”
Resonator echoes convey the more elemental blues of “Slow Down Sun,” on which he beseeches the sun, the wind and the rain not to hurt his true love with lines like, “Hold up rain/don’t let your waters down/I’m afraid my baby might slip in and drown.”

“Keep It Together” sounds as if George Harrison might have written it, but Mathus says it came to him after watching the documentary about fellow Southerners Big Star.
“I listen to blues, jazz, country and gospel, but I’ve never listened to rock bands at all, since the Replacements and the Ramones — since the ’80s,” he says. “But I was really touched by the sounds, the chords, the layering of the guitars and the melodies that they brought.”
He leaves us with the mandolin plucks, boot-heel stomps and yowlin’ yelps of “Catahoula” — written, like many of these tunes, in the dog days of summer. “You’d be surprised how much rhymes with Catahoula,” he says, laughing again. “It’s going back to the old balladry days where you state your case right at the top of the song; you give the geography and the whole synopsis right there at the top.”
Speaking of synopses, we should mention Mathus’ career credits include working with Buddy Guy and Elvis Costello, among other luminaries. He says he’s also getting ready to fire up the Vaudeville-meets-swing band Zippers, who had a platinum-selling album and played President Clinton’s second inaugural, among other high-profile gigs. But in the meantime, he remains ready to catch those bolts of “rambunctious creativity” whenever they strike.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jimbo Mathus & the Annunaki Playboys Live at The Raven Cafe in Prescott, Arizona

I caught wind that Jimbo Mathus was playing a show about 2 hours north of my home and I hightailed it to Prescott, AZ. I know that this doesn't seem like much of an effort but you got to know, I listen to new music every day, OK ...lets say 250-300 new releases yearly and for me to drive very far to see a show.... it better be damn good. Well, Jimbo Mathus never disappoints and yes, it was damn good! I arrived in Prescott just in time to get a seat and a beer before the Captain hit the stage to a standing crowd only performance. I was not one of the 500 million people who knew Mathus from his Squirrel Nut Zippers band and was delighted to find this guy through his association with Buddy Guy. The truth is I went to see Buddy Guy with a fellow guitar player and who watches the opening act . We were sitting there jawing away and waiting on Buddy Guy and I said to my buddy..."who is this guy?". Jimbo Mathus was the opening act and that day back in like 2001 was the day I found Mathus. He not only had the opening act, but he also played in Guys band. He knocked me out then and he knocks me out now. Jimbo's music is strongly rooted in the people, with heart. His passion for the music is genuine and his love and appreciation of his audience is obvious. Mathus played 3 sets beginning at around 8 and ending at Midnight. He did take 2 short breaks to catch his breath and sell a few t shirts, albums and CD's.

 I'm not great at taking notes but I do have some recollection of detail. His first set was laden nicely with tracks from his newest release Blue Healer, which is terrific by the way. I know that he played the title track, Blue Healer (above), which is one of my 2 favorites from the release as well as Coyote (below- which is the other). He also played Old Earl which is one of his story telling tracks. If you don't know Mathus' story telling, you are missing the boat. Mathus, like all of the true great performers, not only can get around on his instrument (I think he plays about everything) but can captivate his audience with clever tales. Old Earl is the one from the Blue Healer release.

 When I go to a concert, I really don't go as a reporter but as a part of the audience so forgive me for just enjoying the concert. I know that he played Shoot Out The Lights, a hot rocker, Tallatchie, a rural feeling song that I really love and one that I want to ask Mathus about later. It has one clever line that I will always remember... "Can't see you no more, newspapers say I sing". Excellent! Fire In The Canebreak, a swampy funk rocker along the lines of Little Feat, Tennessee Walker Mare, Aces and 8's, a tex mex track and Shine Like A Diamond.

His second set was really geared to audience participation with a Chuck Berry track, some R&B, Lowell Folsom's Tramp which was recorded by Mathus and Guy 15 years ago. Mathus played guitar with reckless abandon, something that I rarely see anyone but Buddy Guy do...superb! He also did real nice versions of Guitar Slim's, Things That I Used To Do and Hank Williams', Hey Good Looking. At my request he did one of my favorite country ballads, Fallen Angel. Mathus has a unique ability to take you somewhere that you want to be through his music. Another crowd favorite was John Fogerty's Stuck In Lodi. Whether it's blues, country, R&B, rock... this man has been there and he does it with intention. Raven Cafe employees were kind enough to clear a few tables for some tiny dancers near the stage and the crowd had a blast. I can't say that Mathus' music is for everyone. What I can say is, I don't get paid to do this. I do it because I love it. I go to see who I want to see, and when I see something terrific, I try to tell my friends. Well friends, this guy captures the soul of the blues in whatever he does. What does that mean? Listen to Skip James, early JL Hooker, Son House. These were men who believed in what they were doing. They liked to make a little money along the way, but they were playing real music, without the polish and all of the processing. Jimbo Mathus is the real deal. Go see him without expectations that he will blow you away on guitar. He can, he may... but go there to see a real artist perform his craft. You can thank me later!

The Annunaki Playboys are  Eric "Carlos San Pedro" Carlton - keys, Stuart "StuBaby" Cole - bass, Scott "Pako" Goolsby - guitar and Alex "Youngblood" Holeman - drums.

 “Like” Bman’s Facebook page. I use Facebook to spread the word about my blog (Now with translation in over 50 languages). I will not hit you with 50 posts a day. I will not relay senseless nonsense. I use it only to draw attention to some of the key posts on my blog each day. In this way I can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE


Monday, April 20, 2015

Nugene Records artist: Ian Siegal - The Picnic Sessions - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, The Picnic Sessions, from Ian Siegel and it's laid back and loose. What do you get when you bring together 5 of the top folk story, blues, country instrumentalists together in one room? You get the Picnic Sessions! Opening with Stone Cold Soul, a simple country blues track, Ian Siegal, Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus and Cody Dickinson lay down a really gritty track with guitar, mandolin and vocal harmony. Very cool! How Come You're Still Here? has a folksy, uptempo, Dylanesque feel with guitar and banjo. Townes Van Zandt's Heavenly Houseboat Blues is a really sweet little blues track with authentic country style vocal blending. With guitar, slide and mandolin, this track lays in the pocket. Excellent! Beulah Land has the sound of early American folk music with tight symmetry. Changing tempo mid tune, the track takes on a more western flavor with western steel style riffs and telling a great story. Keen and Peachy, has a definite bop to it with and definitive slide part, cool harp and a steady foot stomp. This is great music for just kicking back and throwing one down. Wasted Freedom is the "classic" track on the release with it's timeless warmth. With it's Kristofferson feel could be redone over and again in years to come. Tom Russell track, Gallo Del Cielo, a Spanish based ballad, is rhythm guitar driven with Spanish guitar flavors and rugged vocals. Very nice! Hard Times (Come Again No More) is a really solid ballad with finger picked resonator and slide work. The earthy vocals both on lead and in harmony give this track a particular richness. Talkin' Overseas Pirate Blues is another really tight folk blues that will definitely put one in mind of Dylan. This track will please your ears and stimulate your minds eye. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Only Tryin' To Survive, a more colorful track with a broader instrumental palate. With blusier vocals and bright mando lead over guitar and blended vocal harmonies, this is a great finisher. This is a cool release with a relaxed country blues feel. Enjoy!

  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”


Monday, April 6, 2015

Fat Possum Records artist: Jimbo Mathus - Blue Healer - New Release review

I just received the newest release (April 21, 2015), Blue Healer, from Jimbo Mathus and it's rowdy! Opening with pouncing rocker, Shoot Out The Lights, Mathus has the band in high hear right out of the gate. Joined by Ryan Rogers, Eric Carlton, Stu Cole, Bronson Tew, Kell Kellum, Eric Amble, Barrett Martin and Gig and Sunny Stuckey, Mathus blends rock, psychedelics and country for a hot rocker. Mama Please quiets down a bit with a tex mex kind of flavor with keys, accordion, vocal harmonies and simple country guitar riffs. Title track, Blue Healer, has an intoxicating feel with really cool guitar effects. A simple melody and dynamic vocals make this a strong selection for the title track. Excellent! Sometimes I Get Worried has strong bones, supported by strumming guitar rhythm and sliding guitar soloing. Backing vocals and Mathus own vocal lead make this a good radio choice. Ready To Run is a straight up rocker with a nod to Bruce Springsteen. With a driving rhythm and a natural anthem, this is a track that will likely garner broad attention. Ballad, Thank You, is particularly sensitive and primarily acoustic with only necessary instrumental appointments. Very nice! Coyote is a really cool track with a strong dose of western styling. Shimmery guitar tones and Mathus honest vocals make this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Bootheel Witch is a gritty rocker with a bit of David Bowie at his cockiest. With guitar riffs sounding more like Joey Santiago, this track transcends many eras but still sounds like Jimbo Mathus. Excellent! Old Earl has the sounds of a european/country track. What I mean by that is country music with strong roots in europe being more like a folk tune. A cool story, something that Mathus is in my mind best known for, with that country twist and light country styling gives this track a certain bite. Waiting On The Other Shoe To Fall is a driving country rocker with raucous vocals and a British flavor. Save It For The Highway is a solid rocker with just a dip of country. Stripped down and high on energy, this one is bound to be another crowd favorite. Mathus has so many musical influences, it all comes out as one natural blend with seamless integration of all sounds music. Wrapping the release is R&B track Love and Affection. Opening with a spiritual style piano riff, it quickly turns into a cool New Orleans style piano blues. Mathus leads the way joined by nicely blended backing vocals and a tight little guitar solo. Excellent piano riffs throughout and overall super styling makes this an excellent closer for another wild adventure from Mathus.

  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”
Sorry but so early that I can't find a suitable video. Here's Jimbo playing a cool boogie:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Big Legal Mess - Jimbo Mathus - Jimmy The Kid - New release review

I just received one of my favorite releases out of Big Legal Mess' catalog, Jimmy The Kid from my man Jimbo Mathus and if you haven't got this one, it's high time! Jimbo is an extremely meticulous and creative writer and one that I look forward to hearing from often. If you aren't yet a Mathus fan, he's played with everyone from Buddy Guy to Luther Dickinson and his music varies from hard country and bluegrass to blues and rock. His palette is full of color and originality. That being said, this release gives you a really healthy dose of solid country music, old style! The cover shows a graphic of a nude woman perched on a train... how can you get more homey than that! Opening with Good Old Time, a solid country track with a light taste of rock like you might expect from the original NRPS band. This track has authentic pedal steel flavor and none of the Hollywood sparkle. Excellent! Fallen Angel is a country soaked ballad in the style that you might expect from Porter. Yes, Jimbo is wearing a Nudie suit on the cover and he is not a all show no go cowboy but has real heart. This easy going track places you in the neighborhood bar drinking a Bud and listening to the juke box. No such bar in your neighborhood you say... time to move! Title track Jimmy The Kid ventures up the rock/country fusion road, notice that I didn't say country rock cause this ain't it. This is where rock country was intended to go. It has the best components of both without either loosing it's identity to pop music. Great drumming on this track reinforces it's strength. Super! Tenn. Walker Mare, has a bit of folk styling with light acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin work and subtle steel work behind Jimbo's honest voice. (OK... I did detect an Allman Brothers riff in there). Yeah buddy! Whispering In The Wings really grinds into the deep country flavor and this isn't vanilla. This is real country the way it was when Cash was a kid. Country style vocal blending has it's own sensibilities and I really love the vocal blending on this. It doesn't have to be pretty to be great... ask Van Gogh! Piano on the 2 and 4 really sets it off nicely. Tell It To The Judge has a much stronger R&B/rock feel to it without losing it's country edge. One of my favorite tracks from this release, Little Hand, Big Gun is a Chuck Berry style rocker with a terrific hook and a catchy tune. This is to this release as On Down The Line is to Exile On Main Street and no, I don't think it's an unfair comparison. Excellent! Check Out Time is right back into the Honky Tonk and Jimbo crying out a super ballad with fiddle backing and classic country style piano riffs dressed by spot on steel guitar. If you grew up anywhere away from the big city, you likely had the opportunity to hear this style of music and sadly there isn't much of it left. Jimbo nails it and has the right team of musicians backing him to execute it just right. Musicians include James Luther Dickinson, Matt Pierce, Paul taylor, Al Gamble, Jason Hatcher, Eric Lewis, Olga, Eric carlton, Austin Marshall, Leeman, Forrest Parker, Daniel Karlish, Tommy Borroughs and Travis. I'm Done is a curious track with specific hints to the Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and Van Morrison (at least). Along with a very strong melody, it has a real cool country bounce with loose jam styling but succinct guitar soloing. Mystery is a solid rock style country track with construction not unlike The Band. When I say this, I mean not that it really sounds like any Band tune, but rather it is creative holding a rock footing with strong country influence and down home blues guts. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Hiway At Night, a nice easy paced country ballad with warm guitar chords and melodic steel wailing. I don't know about you but I miss "real" country music. When I hear something like this, I get genuinely excited for everyone who may have never heard it...and for those of us who have!

  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, March 19, 2015

Jimbo Mathus to release Blue Healer


Co-produced by Bruce Watson, the ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers and South Memphis String Band co-founder’s new album provides a psychedelia and garage rock drenched tour through the sounds of the South

Eric Ambel of the Del-Lords is special guest.
OXFORD, Miss. — From the gritty, chiming six-string stomp of opener “Shoot Out the Lights” to the angelic gospel choir and piano finale of “Love and Affection,” the new album Blue Healer is a flat-out, no holds barred, brawling, sprawling excursion through the deep musical soul of Jimbo Mathus.

Born and raised in North Mississippi, where the sound of the region’s blues and gospel blend with the echoes of rock and R&B from nearby Memphis, Mathus has become a vital link in the chain of great American music. He built the foundation of the ongoing old-timey/swing revival with unlikely ’90s hit-makers the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Then Mathus became an MVP indie producer and sideman who made his bones playing guitar on blues legend Buddy Guy’s seriously twisted electric groundbreaker Sweet Tea. He’s also a co-founder of the critically heralded South Memphis String Band, with fellow roots music rabble-rousers Luther Dickinson, of North Mississippi All Stars, and Alvin Youngblood Hart. And along the way he’s toured internationally and recorded under his own name and with his Tri-State Coalition band, leaving a dozen untamed, free-ranging albums in his wake.

Now the artist has created his absolute manifesto with Blue Healer. The 12-song set was co-produced by Mathus and Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum house studio maven Bruce Watson at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, an all-analog recording palace that’s perfect for Mathus’ blend of old-school tones and edgy, kinetic energy.
At its core, Blue Healer is a concept album with room for acid-fed, supernatural visions, vulnerable love songs, Saturday night brawls, bad-boy regrets and youthful celebrations — all embellished by Mathus’ estimable abilities as a natural raconteur and straight-from-the-heart singer.

“It’s the story of a man in a southern landscape who is swept insanely apart by internal and external winds,” Mathus explains. “He digs deeper and deeper into the very fabric of his reality, experiencing love and lust, despair, hope and sheer animal exhilaration on levels few ever do. He is tested in every way imaginable and achieves a sort of enlightenment — gains power and understanding of life’s mysteries. Yet questions remain. He wonders if the struggle was worth it, or even real. Is he madman or sage? Con man or honest counsel? Is this autobiographical or fictional? Only the Blue Healer knows the answer to the great cosmic heebie-jeebie.”

The Blue Healer — not to be confused with the Blue Heeler, or Cattle Dog — is a mythological figure that makes her appearance three songs into the album, on the title number. Mathus intones the story of this mysterious yet comforting female presence over a fever dream soundtrack where reverb drenched guitars writhe like angry serpents in a Delta fog and lysergic Farfisa stirs the mists. By then Mathus — or, at least, the album’s protagonist — needs healing. He’s gotten into plenty of trouble, raising a raunchy, riff-driven rock ’n’ roll ruckus with help from Del Lords’ guitarist Eric Ambel on the opener “Shoot Out the Lights,” and ticking off a list of vices and failings from drug use to pyromania in the confessional “Mama Please.” “Coyote” briefly changes the setting from the Deep South to a peyote-fueled Southwestern landscape, where tremolo’d guitars are the breadcrumbs along a cosmic cowboy’s trail that runs among the rough-hewn sonic landmarks of Neil Young, the Electric Prunes and spaghetti western film composer Ennio Morricone.

The quiet spirit of “Thank You,” a love song that Mathus sings to the spare accompaniment electric and acoustic guitars, spotlights the dusty sincerity reflected in his voice throughout the album. In fact, his graceful and commanding vocals on Blue Healer are the spine and soul of its songs, no matter where they roam — even when Mathus is serving up hot refried Southern boogie on “Bootheel Witch” or using weeping pedal steel to abet his country-style tale of prize winning lay-about “Old Earl.” It all culminates in “Love and Affection,” which is a breathing compendium of the major elements in Mathus’ musical DNA: rock ’n’ roll strut, blues guitar hijinks, backwoods funk and gospel testifying, all framed by untrammeled joy.

For Mathus, who was born in 1967 in Oxford, Mississippi, his entire life has pointed toward this uncanny album. “As a boy, I was fascinated by ancient things and the arcane,” he states. “I saw visions. I could see and feel the Earth plummeting through the solar system and it, in turn, grinding along, clock-like. I saw and heard time being sucked into the gaping maw of infinity. I always felt both frightened and comforted by these experiences. Then came music.”

His father was a banjo player, horse trader and small-town attorney descended from Scottish fiddlers and singers. Alcohol-fueled music and all-night singing surrounded the young Mathus. At age six he joined his family’s band as mandolinist. “As a small child,” Mathus explains, “I was sort of self-contained — very adult. I was allowed to wander the back streets of Jackson or the hillbilly towns of Arkansas, alone with my mandolin absorbing songs. I never had any trouble sitting in with and learning from the musicians I found there. It was weird because adults always told me their problems. They would ask my advice, like I knew the answers.”

When Mathus began creating his own original music in high school his first composition was “Chokin’ on a Lude,” — fodder for his noise rock band Johnny Vomit and the Dry Heaves. “My hometown was a Pentecostal Church-infested conservative Southern hillbilly town,” he relates. “Old men sat on the courthouse steps whittling. Needless to say the band and song didn’t go over well in my area. I was asked to leave high school for being too subversive. They mailed me my diploma and said, ‘Please go!’”

Various mishaps led to his being arrested and sent to the Mississippi River to work as a deckhand. “I was basically an indentured servant to a barge company outta New Orleans,” he says. “I had to perform extreme physical labor in the most brutal conditions alongside big, bad men. But they would pull me aside and spill their guts, seek my advice on shit with their old ladies or whatever. Ask about their deceased father or grandmother. They thought I was some kinda fortune teller.”

Mathus settled in the cultural and artistic oasis of Chapel Hill, North Carolina in the early ’90s and immediately started assembling the musicians who would become the Squirrel Nut Zippers. “I already had the background on the Deep South musical styles — black, white and creole,” he recounts. “ In Chapel Hill I was able to use the libraries, record stores, bookstores, original music clubs – all that shit I had never seen before. I was able to do the research I’d always dreamed of. I went back to the roots of American art and music. I found the Harry Smith anthology. I educated myself.”

Through seven albums and one hit single, 1996’s MTV favorite “Hell,” the Zippers negotiated the turf of roots music, alternative rock and hipster cool like penguins on a slalom course. By the time the group disbanded in 2000 — although reunions continue — Mathus had already begun a solo career with the 1997 release of Jas. Mathus & His Knockdown Society Play Songs for Rosetta, an effort to raise money for his ailing one-time nanny Rosetta Patton, the daughter of legendary early Delta bluesman Charley Patton. Along with the string of ensuing solo recordings and productions for mostly local bands at his now-gone Delta Recordings studio in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he also embarked on a career as a session player. In 2001 he was the second guitarist and creative sparkplug for Buddy Guy’s expressionist blues explosion Sweet Tea, and worked on its follow-up, the Grammy winning Blues Singer.
Further fueled by an apprenticeship with the great producer/pianist/raconteur and fellow Mississippian Jim Dickinson — whose history ran from the beginnings of the Memphis blues festival to Captain Beefhart’s Magic Band to the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers to the Replacements to his sons’ North Mississippi All Stars — Mathus was ready for an evolutionary leap.

“I was encouraged by great men to take on the full Southern musical landscape and forge it into my own cannon of songs — to dig deep inside myself and to look and listen hard at what I found there,” he says. The results can be found on his albums Jimmy the Kid, Confederate Buddha, Blue Light, White Buffalo and 2012’s Dark Night of the Soul, which marked his first collaboration with co-producer Watson. And they culminate in the wild, revelatory contours of Blue Healer. “And so,” Mathus adds, “the journey continues."