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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 John Mayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Mayer. Show all posts

Friday, May 13, 2016

Great Western Recording Company artist: Mike Eldred Trio - Baptist Town - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Baptist Town, from Mike Eldred Trio and his stuff just keeps getting better. This new release is gritty, bluesy and raw. Opening with rockin' boogie, Hunder Dollar Bill, Eldred is really cranking with excellent harp soloing from John "Big Nick" Samora and backed by John Bazz on bass and Jerry Angel on drums. Excellent! Papa Legba has a really swampy, sweaty sound with excellent backing harmonies from Jarvis Jernigan. Eldred steps up with a really nice stinger of a guitar solo on this track as well. Eldred and Jarvis share lead vocals on the slave blues sounding, Somebody Been Runnin' with terrific backing vocals from the Emmanuel Church Inspirational Choir featuring Vicki Dove and Michael Buccowich. Absolutely excellent! Simple acoustic blues track, Run Devil Run is Eldred and resonator joined by Lauren Brown tap dancing and James Pennebaker on mandolin. Very nice. Ballad, Roadside Shrine, is a quiet break in the center of wild dark creativity. John Mayer adds simple electric guitar and nicely presented lap slide creating a warm ambiance. Bess is an upbeat, Cajun flavored country track. With David Hidalgo on accordion and Jarvis and Tracy on backing vocals, this track has a pure sensitivity. Primitive blues based, Black Annie, starts off very quiet with only vocal and percussion almost like from a transistor radio but burst open full and heavy. Backing vocal by Jervis and spontaneous raw guitar work on this track gives it real life. Excellent! Hoodoo Man has a great rhythm with cool vocals and fat slide guitar work. This track is really hot! Hard driving, Sugar Shake, is a direct rocker with scorching rock guitar riffs, solid guitar rhythm, bass and drums. This track would be the track where everyone gets up and dances so you cant see the band. Very nice! Blues rocker, Kill My Woman, is a blend between Roy Head and Hound Dog Taylor. Raw blues rock, this track has a great feel and snappy guitar riffs. Title track, Baptist Town, has a bluesy Latin rhythm and clean, neck pickup electric lead by Robert Cray. His distinct styling against the light rhythmic backing is magical. Heavy and lumbering, Lennon and McCartney's Can't Buy Me Love gets a raw, bluesy rework. Hard worked lead guitar riffs, heavy guitar and bass runs and killer cymbal work take this track places the Beatles never thought of. Creative and well done, this track will surprise you! Wrapping the release is the gospel fused, You're Always There, featuring Lead vocals by Jarvis Jernigan, Vicki Dove and Michael Buccowich on vocals with Eldred and inspired organ work from Papa John De Francesco. Excellent closer to an excellent release!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Mike Eldred Trio Visits "Baptist Town" on Delta Blues Sojourn as Told on the Group's New CD, Releasing May 6 & Recorded at Historic Sun Studio in Memphis

The Mike Eldred Trio Visits Baptist Town on Delta Blues Sojourn as Told on the Group’s New CD, Releasing May 6 & Recorded at Historic Sun Studio in Memphis

Band’s 4th Album Includes Special Guest Appearances by Grammy Winners John Mayer, Robert Cray and David Hidalgo

LOS ANGELES, CA – Roots music “super-band” The Mike Eldred Trio announces a May 6 release date for their fourth album, Baptist Town, on the Great Western Recording Company label, distributed worldwide by CEN/RED Distribution, a SONY-owned company. “We’re excited to be working with the Mike Eldred Trio on the release of their new album, Baptist Town; it’s an amazing recording and a welcome addition to the CEN/RED roster,” said Adam Pollack of CEN/RED. The Mike Eldred Trio is offering fans a special pre-order date of April 8th, which includes a bonus instant download of the lead-off track, “Hunder Dollar Bill.”

Recorded at the iconic Sun Studio in Memphis, Baptist Town paints a musical picture steeped in the rich history of the South and the folklore that is so important to American culture. The trio’s members are guitarist/vocalist Mike Eldred, a former member of Stray Cat Lee Rocker’s Big Blue; and the potent rhythm section of bassist John Bazz and drummer Jerry Angel, both from The Blasters. The album was engineered by 2016 Grammy Award-winner Matt Ross-Spang, who recently engineered Jason Isbell’s latest CD, Things That Can’t Be Undone.
Baptist Town is a monumental achievement in roots and blues storytelling, presented as a multi-layered blues journey through Mississippi juke joints, prisons, churches, and Baptist Town, itself. For the recording sessions, the trio invited several friends to lend a hand, and David Hidalgo, Robert Cray, and John Mayer all joined in for the magic. To watch a documentary about the recording session that features Robert Cray, see below:

The catalyst for the album is the small neighborhood outside Greenwood, Mississippi, where legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson was murdered in 1938.  The track “Somebody Been Runnin’” references the final chapter of Johnson’s “deal with the devil” made at the crossroads, and some say fulfilled in the tiny community of Baptist Town the night he died.

Baptist Town also focuses on the poverty and racism of the past, which still exists to some parts in the Deep South today. Baptist Town remains mostly as it did in Johnson's time and is a stark contrast to the surrounding city of Greenwood, Mississippi. The dichotomy between love and hate, rich and poor, sin and salvation, black and white, are apparent throughout the record, and reflect many of society’s struggles that continue to haunt us all.

“This is our fourth album, and even before I wrote the songs for it, I knew I wanted to record it at Sun Studio,” recalls Mike Eldred about the sessions. “I had taken a trip down to Mississippi with my daughter because she wanted to do a road trip with me through the South, and we found Baptist Town while searching for Robert Johnson’s grave. I was immediately struck with the harsh poverty and the contrast between the city of Greenwood, just across the railroad tracks, and the tiny, mostly unchanged community of Baptist Town.

“It hit me hard, and I have been back to Baptist Town at least four times now, getting to know the people, interviewing them, etc. It was that first trip that turned out to be the catalyst, though, to write about my experiences down there.”

All 13 tracks on Baptist Town literally drip with authenticity and soul, like Spanish moss hanging from a Mississippi hardwood tree. It’s all here: lowdown blues, uplifting gospel, field hollers, ghostly chants and flat-out rockers, plus a blistering cover of The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” that is completely turned inside out. “The songs are about traditions, folklore and culture, but also about what we all see in America… poverty, racism, over-indulgence, hate, and love. They poured out. Seeing that part of our heritage changed me forever,” says Eldred about the songwriting process.

“These contrasts are apparent throughout Baptist Town, and the thought came to me to have Robert Cray play the solo on the title cut,” remembers Eldred. “His guitar is so pure, and placed on a very dark canvas like “Baptist Town” really sets the tone of the record.

“I was having dinner with John Mayer the night before I was going to record with Robert, and I told John about the recording, and he says, ‘I want to be on it!’ So, of course we set it up and found a cool track to record with him on lap steel and electric, and me on acoustic (his guitar) and vocal. John graciously offered to have me come to his home in Montana and record it there with Chad Franscoviak engineering that session.

“On ‘Bess,’ we asked David Hidalgo from Los Lobos to come in and play accordion and sing background vocals on it. We brought him into El Rancho Del Soul Studios in Arizona, and filled the room with tequila and Carnitas, making this crazy blues-Tex-Mex-Ranchera tribute to Bessie Smith.”

With a wealth of history and legendary recordings made within its walls, Sun Studio in Memphis seemed like a no-brainer to record the majority of the tracks on Baptist Town.

“The room is overwhelming sometimes, especially when you realize where you are and what you are doing,” offers Eldred. “The last two songs we recorded were acoustic. Very quiet. You could hear the room. It’s ‘The Ghosts of Sun’ as Jerry Angel described it. Beautiful. There was a time during the recording and I was just looking down at the floor, realizing that it’s the original tile floor… and I thought, ‘Man, Howlin’ Wolf stood there…’ Crazy.

“Sun is a magical place, and we were brought into that space by Grammy Award-winning engineer Matt Ross-Spang, who ushered us through an amazing part of our lives. We will never be the same for sure.”

Voted one of the best guitarists in Americana/Roots/Blues music, Mike Eldred formed the trio with John Bazz and Jerry Angel to make the kind of music they always wanted to make. Their first CD (The Mike Eldred Trio) sent shock waves throughout the Americana/roots blues community garnering rave reviews and extensive radio airplay. The band's second CD (61 and 49) was voted one of the Top Ten CD releases of 2011 by The Los Angeles Times. Besides their own headline touring, The Mike Eldred Trio has been opening tours for artists such as Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Los Lobos and George Thorogood, among others.

The band enlisted several key components to help tell the story of the concept and recording of Baptist Town so that the listener could actually be as close to the process as possible.
       Photo documentation by Associated Press photographer Matt York.
       Video throughout the recording process and historical background shots by Adam Genzink.
       Shooting at Sun Studio and in and around Memphis and Mississippi.
       Film and photos of the community of Baptist Town with interviews.
       15 page blog outlining the concept, writing, preparation, and recording of “Baptist Town” here: Baptist Town Blog

Along with the recordings, The Mike Eldred Trio has been assembling a full-length documentary film to engage the viewer with the creative process, the recording of the album, the history and continuing issues with the South, and to enlist the Secretary Of Interior to recognize the neighborhood of Baptist Town as a National Historic Landmark as the place of death of one of America’s most significant and influential musicians, Robert Johnson. The film will feature interviews by many artists including Billy F. Gibbons, Robert Cray, David Hidalgo and Scotty Moore.
“We envisioned this project and knew it would be interesting to see how it would unfold, but I never realized it would unfold like this,” summarizes Eldred. “We wanted to make a record that reflected the soul of the South, acknowledge the poverty and racism that continues to exist, and celebrate the culture that has helped define American music.”

For more information, visit

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Out Of My Mind - John Mayer

While not traditionally known as a blues player... Mayer sure gets a rise out of the predominantly young crowd when he plays it.... is there still some thought that the blues is in poor health? BS
John Clayton Mayer (play /ˈmeɪ.ər/ may-ər;[1] born October 16, 1977) is an American pop rock and blues rock musician, singer-songwriter, recording artist, and music producer. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to Atlanta in 1997, where he refined his skills and gained a following, and he now lives in New York City. His first two studio albums, Room for Squares and Heavier Things, did well commercially, achieving multi-platinum status. In 2003, he won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Your Body Is a Wonderland."

Mayer began his career performing mainly acoustic rock, but gradually began a transition towards the blues genre in 2005 by collaborating with renowned blues artists such as B. B. King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton, and by forming the John Mayer Trio. The blues influence can be heard throughout his 2005 live album Try! with the John Mayer Trio and his third studio album Continuum, released in September 2006. At the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007 Mayer won Best Pop Vocal Album for Continuum and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Waiting on the World to Change". He released his fourth studio album, Battle Studies, in November 2009. He has sold over 10 million albums in the U.S. and 20 million albums worldwide.
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