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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bahool Records artist: The McMaMarr Project - Holla & Moan - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Holla & Moan, from The McMaMarr Project and it's dripping in soul. Opening with title track, Holla and Moan, a romping R&B track John McNamara and Andrea Marr team up vocally making a really cool team. McNamara handles lead guitar backed by Bobby Manuel on guitar, Ray Griffin on bass, Willie Hall on drums, Lester Snell on keys, Scott Thompson on trumpet, Lannie McMillan on tenor sax, and Jim Spake on bari sax. With a solid bass line by Griffin, Throwing Down a Little Love has a real firm beat and great vocal blending highlighted by great blues guitar riffs by McNamara. Soul ballad, History has a taste of country and a nice dash of blues with warm vocals and melody. Definitely the top radio track on the release. Another easy floating vocal track, Something That's Real, blends the honesty of early country music with R&B for a unique soulful blend. Wrapping the release is Blues Brought Me Here, a cool mix of country blues and gospel. McNamara and Marr's vocals are perfect together and this track is a solid representation of the facts. Very cool release. 

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Bahool Records artist: John McNamara - Rollin' With It - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Rollin' With It, from John McNamara and it's smooth. Opening with R&B flavored One, Two of a Kind, John McNamara on lead vocal and guitar sets a terrific stage. Backed by Steve Potts on drums, Michael Toles on guitar, James "Jimi" Kinard on bass, Lester Snell on keys, Marc Franklin on trumpet, Lannie McMillan on tenor sax and Jim Spake on bari sax, these guy have a great mix of rock and blues. With a feel of Little Willie John Bad Reputation swings. Franklin really adds a nice punch and McMillan and Spake bottom. Steve Cropper like guitar riffs adds that gritty feel that makes the track great. Soul track, Ask Me Nothing (But about the Blues) really showcases McNamara's voice nicely and the sax work of Spake adds a nice heft. I really like the guitar work of McNamara on this track in particular making it one of my favorites on the release. Slinky, Under The Weight Of The Moon, weaves nicely with rich horn work blending R&B with stinging guitar riffs reminiscent of Texas style blues. Very nice. With horns blazing, Security really takes a turn more in the direction of Wilson Pickett. This release is really hot and McNamara has great feel. With a full horn section call and responding with guitar, this track has it all. Another of my favorite tracks on the release is Blind Man. I really like McNamara's vocals in balance with the horns and the soulful rhythm is spot on, not to mention McNamara's guitar punctuation... think Muscle Shoals sessions. You Wouldn't Wanna Know is a powerful track with a driving beat, bluesy guitar riffs and tight vocals. Wrapping the release is the beautiful, Suffering with the Blues. With rich orchestration and McNamara way out front, this track is an excellent closer for a superior release.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Australian Blues Music Award Winner


Meet John McNamara
The Bluesman Down Under


And the blues came a calling......

Every once in a while something intriguing addresses your senses and you are mesmerized by its presence.  This happened at the IBC Memphis 2015.  Allow me to back up a bit: My friend Barry Maxwell who is a blues radio show host extraordinaire down under has always been kind to me whenever I have submitted music for air time consideration.  Barry has an immensely popular radio show and so I don’t take his kindness to review CDs from my clients lightly. After all everybody wants their music to be on the BAZ man’s show.  So just before I left for IBC Memphis Barry drops me a note. It was a suggestion.  He invited me to take in John McNamara’s performance and then perhaps meet with him afterward.  Barry, as I say, has always been fair with me and by extension good to my clients.  So without any reservation I listened to John’s music before arriving in Memphis and then did in fact meet with John while we were both at the IBCs. 

John and I were only about ten minutes into a one hour interview when I realized that this young man was not wanting to be a bluesman, this man was already very mature in that regard.  I instantly realized what Barry had turned me on to from afar. John's demeanor was one of a relaxed artist confident in his own skin and yet steeped in honest to goodness real humility.  No airs about him, no salesman’s swagger, no pretentious under pinnings, he was who he is John McNamara, bluesman.  As every blues person, man or woman will tell you - you either is or you ain’t.  This cat is…and it's visibly obvious to his audiences because of the inherent qualities that illuminate his stage presence and his delivery.  When you listen to John perform you may think of such artists as Bobby Blue Bland, Sam Cook, Otis Redding, and of the contemporary set perhaps Johnny Lang.  But you will also note that he is not a clone of any of them as his style is unique in and of itself. These men however have indeed deeply influenced John McNamara.  His appreciation of their body of work is what fuels the depth of his thirst for the real blues roots sound. 


This just in - John McNamara's song Burn, Burn, Burn just won Song of the Year at the prestigious Australian Blues Music Awards 2015.  Barry is correct, this man is on fire. As a matter of fact this winning track is on John’s debut CD is entitled Alone with the Blues, One Voice One Guitar.

In our one hour meeting John shared that he hopes people come away noticing a clean, pristine sound as yours truly noted on the CDs very first track.  He went on to say that his studio goal was to record and release a stripped back format, a presentation that highlighted the presence of the negative spaces between the notes.  Overall, John's goal was to share his originals on his debut CD but he also felt an inner passion to add four cover tracks.  I asked him if he was happy with the end result and he replied yes, indeed.

Black Market Music is the chosen distribution company and they are offering a special opportunity for anyone from even the far reaches of the globe.  Purchase John’s CD from them and the shipping is free no matter where you are located on this planet.  Pretty cool when you think about it - a nice way to get to know John’s music without going into hock.   Of course you can also pick up the tunes in MP3 format online as well if you prefer.

John touring includes various European countries, among them Scotland where he performs annually and Germany as well.  The man down under has also completed a gig in Singapore, Malaysia where he and his music were received extremely well.  Historically, John has graced the stages at such noted music festivals as 
Narooma Blues Fest, Echuca Moama Winter Blues Fest, Edinburgh Fringe  Fest, and Melbourne’s Docklands Blues Fest, an impressive array of large music festivals. 
 
Official website - http://johnmcnamarablues.com
Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/johnmcnamarabluespage 
High Quality CDs without shipping charges -  www.blackmarketmusic.com.au
 
John's new CD recently tracked at number 3 on the Australian Blues
and Roots Airplay Chart
John McNamara - 2015 semi-finalist
International Blues Challenge