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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 Proper Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Proper Records. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Proper Records artist: Bill Kirchen and Austin de Lone - Transatlanticana - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Transatlanticana, from Bill Kirchen and Austin de Lone and it's a country party. Opening with country rocker, Hounds of the Bakersfield, Kirchen on lead guitar and vocal and Austin de Lone on piano deliver a cool country two stepper showcasing some of Kirchen's super riffs as well as solid backing vocals. Joining are Paul "Bassman" Riley on bass, Malcolm Mills on drums and Louise Kirchen on harmony vocal. On straight country track, Wine Wine Wine, Kirchen really pulls out the country stops on my favorite track of the release. With the addition of Bobby Black on pedal steel this track is classic. Shifting to a bit more of a JJ Cale style blues rocker, De Lone takes the lead on vocal for a cool radio track, Let's Rock. Oxblood is a rock n roller featuring Kirchen and Butch Hancock on lead vocals. With Kirchen on baritone guitar and driving it, de Lone on super piano and Gurf Morlix on guitar, David Carroll on bass and Rick Richards on drums this is a real cool track. Slow blues number, Losing Hand features deLone on lead vocal and piano. This is another of my favorites on the release with Kirchen throwing out some really tasty blues riffs of his own. Boogie track, All Tore Up, again features de Lone up front on piano and vocal. He really gets a chance to roll them and Kirchen isn't far behind with country flavored blues rock riffs. With a stirring country rock rendition of Bob Dylan's The Time They Are a Changin' Kirchen leads off on vocals and de Lone's piano carries the track. Snappy drumming by Richards and a melodic solo by Kirchen brings it home. Rocker, No Need For Rockin' slides into a cool groove with de Lone on lead vocal. His piano lead work is clean and cool and kirchen's whistling conjurs up Taj Mahal tones. Wrapping the release is country swinger, Smoke! Smoke! Smoke that Cigarette with Kirchen on lead vocal and Black on steel. A cool Travis track covered by Wills and Asleep at the Wheel a fun closer for a cool release.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Gretchen Peters - New 2xCD Collection + UK Tour Dates

Proper Records, February 5th 2016
New 2-CD collection + UK tour dates

On 'The Essential Gretchen Peters,' this very special Nashville-based singer-songwriter  combines career-defining tracks with rare outtakes, demos, and B-sides to provide a two-disc snapshot of her remarkable journey as a singularly fearless and creative talent.  The album is released to coincide with her latest UK tour.

January 2016


February 2016

Thurs Feb 4 DURHAM, GALA

"I remember going on my first radio tour for my debut album and the guys at the radio stations would say, 'So you're a songwriter, and now you want to be an artist?'" remembers Gretchen Peters.

In hindsight, it's a laughable distinction. Over the last three decades, Peters has proven to posses one of the most indelible voices in country and roots music in addition to wielding one the genres' most enduring pens. But in 1996, as she crossed the invisible Music City barrier between writer and performer, few could have predicted what lay ahead.

Peters first arrived in Nashville in 1987 and quickly established herself as a songwriting force to be reckoned with and tracks recorded by some of the biggest names in country music. She landed her first #1 with George Strait's rendition of her "Chill Of An Early Fall," garnered her first GRAMMY Nomination and CMA Song of the Year win with Martina McBride's recording of "Independence Day," and penned hits for Patty Loveless, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy LaFave, and Etta James among others. "If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as 'On A Bus To St. Cloud,'" People Magazine wrote, "she has already earned herself a spot among country's upper echelon of contemporary composers."

All the while, though, she had bigger plans for herself.

"Performing my own material was always in my sights from the time I moved to Nashville," Peters explains. "I didn't separate the writing from the performing from the recording in my mind. I always saw myself as a singer-songwriter, and that was all part of the job."

Riding the momentum from her remarkable success, Peters signed her first recording contract in 1996 with an independent label and released her debut album, 'The Secret Of Life.' While it fared well critically, Peters fell between the cracks of an industry hungry for easy-to-categorize products to feed the machine. Marketing a nuanced, mature storyteller—one who penned songs like the album's bittersweet title track and the stirring "When You Are Old" (both of which appear on 'The Essential' Disc 1)—to mainstream country radio proved to be fruitless, and when the label later folded, Peters bought back the master recordings and vowed to maintain control for the rest of her days in the business, becoming an early adopter of the now-common process of self-releasing albums through licensing and distribution partnerships.

Despite the early commercial stumble in the US, though, Peters found a different appreciation for her songs in the UK, where she earned the admiration of early champions in radio and press, like the legendary BBC host Bob Harris.

"The first time I went over, I played four little gigs with no more than 40 or 50 people at any of them, maybe less," she remembers. "But I immediately felt completely comfortable in my skin. I felt like those audiences didn't expect or want me to be anything other than who I was. Everything that wasn't working here in the States was working really well over there. It was like stepping through the looking glass."

Over the next twenty years, Peters would self-release seven more studio albums on both sides of the pond (including a collaboration with Tom Russell titled 'One To The Heart, One To The Head') and see her profile in the UK reach a new peak with 2015's 'Blackbirds,' which debuted at #1 on UK Official Country Artists Albums Chart. Uncut hailed her as "one of Nashville’s greatest talents of the past two decades," while The Sun called the album "an Americana tour de force." The record led to a sold-out UK tour, as well as spots on massive European festival stages from Glastonbury to Roskilde.

All the while, the US was catching up to what they'd been missing out on in their own backyard. NPR called her 2012 release 'Hello Cruel World' "the album of her career," while Rolling Stone dubbed "Blackbirds" "one of the most affecting murder ballads since Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska,'" and in 2014, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

While 'The Essential Gretchen Peters' collects some of the most memorable moments from her inimitable catalogue, it also offers a unique window into Peters' process. Highlights include rare recordings of her own takes on classics like "The Chill Of An Early Fall," "On A Bus To St Cloud," and "Independence Day," as well as a previously unheard collaboration with Bryan Adams and unreleased demos and outtakes from throughout her career. Listeners can also trace the evolution of her work with keyboard player Barry Walsh, who began recording on Peters' demos in 1990 and appears on every one of her albums (the two were married in 2010).

"The first real UK tour I did with Barry was in 2001, and when we started playing live together it really became apparent that we had this sympathetic way of playing music," Peters explains. "We were always able to telegraph to each other what we were going to do. At this point now, 25 years since we first started recording together, it's like we play with one brain, but even back then, I felt like we had some kind of language that we were speaking onstage."

Though Peters is beloved as a songwriter of the highest calibre, she also uses the 'The Essential' collection as an opportunity to showcase her talent for interpreting the work of others that have influenced her, including a stunning cover of John Lennon's "Love" and a gorgeous rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" performed by Wine, Women & Song, her touring group featuring fellow Nashville icons Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg.

"Once the idea for this collection came up, I took the title pretty seriously when I was deciding on what to include," explains Peters. "Regardless of when, how, or if they were released, I wanted to choose tracks that really felt essential to who I am, the closest, absolute right-down-to-the-bone expressions of myself."

Gretchen Peters is a songwriter and an artist. Both sides are essential to her identity, and one listen to this collection makes it clear that her extraordinary body of work is indeed essential listening for the rest of us.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bill Wyman shares new single / Taken from his first solo album in 33 years 'Back To Basics'





Photo credit to Judy Totton

‘What & How & If & When & Why’ is the first single from Bill Wyman’s new album, ‘Back To Basics’.

The lead track on the CD, both the single and album are released on June 22nd.

“I was watching the video of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues with the song cards that he tosses aside and I thought I’d like to do something like that. Not that my song is anything like it of course but I think it inspired me. So I set about working on different sets of rhymes, sixes and fours, and it just came into being. It’s not the sort of song I usually write.” B.W.

Sounding a little like a cross between Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen with a passing nod towards Ian Dury, ‘What & How & If & When & Why’ is driven along by its gritty vocals and strong rhythm section. Its insistent beat combined with covertly menacing lyrics make for a compelling combination.

‘Back To Basics’ is Bill’s first UK solo album in 33 years and only his fourth UK solo one. Featuring 12 tracks in total (with an extra one for digital)  it comprises three reworked demos and nine brand new songs. It’s a record that crosses various genres; it’s stripped back, pared down, polished and - most important of all – immensely likeable.

Musicians joining Bill in the studio were long time collaborator/guitarist Terry Taylor, Guy Fletcher (of Mark Knopfler fame), Graham Broad and Robbie McIntosh while co-production credit goes to Andy Wright (Jeff Beck, Eurythmics, Simply Red).

Since quitting the Stones at their peak in 1993 having spent 31 years with them, Bill Wyman has been the author of seven learned books, a globally exhibited photographer, a metal detecting expert with his own brand of metal detector, a producer, a composer for film and TV and the founder of the very successful Rhythm Kings who release CDs and tour regularly.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

RICHARD THOMPSON announces new album 'STILL' produced by JEFF TWEEDY

RICHARD THOMPSON announces new album 'STILL'
Produced by JEFF TWEEDY
Released June 29, 2015 on Proper Records

“Richard Thompson is the kind of guitar player other guitar players revere. It’s not just his technique, nor the fact that he’s equally at home with an electric or an acoustic guitar. He’s also a songwriter of uncommon skill.” NPR

"Richard's been one of my favorite guitar players for a very long time. When I think about it, he's also one of my favorite songwriters and favorite singers. He's the Ultimate Triple Threat. Getting to work closely with him on this record was a truly rewarding experience, not to mention a great thrill. And he keeps alive my streak of working exclusively with artists who make me look good as a producer." - Jeff Tweedy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 28th, 2015 – The renowned guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson will release Still, an album of new music produced by Jeff Tweedy, on June 29, 2015 via Proper Records.

Still will be available in several configurations including a twelve-track CD, a twelve-track double 180-gram vinyl album and a deluxe CD package that includes a five-song EP from a previously un-released session.

Still was recorded in a two-story rehearsal loft in Chicago over the course of just nine days with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy at the helm, backed by several longtime players from both Thompson’s and Tweedy’s bands. Thompson enlisted Tweedy’s production skills in an effort to shake up his own creative approach to making records. “It turned out be really good idea,” says Thompson. “Jeff is musically very sympathetic. Although some of his contributions are probably rather subtle to the listener’s ear, they were really interesting and his suggestions were always very pertinent.”

“I really tried to not have any preconceived ideas,” Thompson says of working with Tweedy, “but of course you do. I tried to shove those to the back of my mind. You don’t really know until you turn up — what the studio is like, what the gear is like. It ended up being a nice unfolding of surprises.”

The key to Still’s emotional resonance is a set of gripping new Thompson compositions rich with his signature mix of trenchant insight, gallows humor, and keen empathy for characters at the brink of being overcome by their emotions, their pasts, or themselves.

A recipient of BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Mojo’s Les Paul Award, Richard Thompson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year Honours List. The Americana Music Association also recently honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded Thompson’s songs.

Taken as a whole, Still is a powerful dispatch from an acknowledged master who remains unafraid to put himself into demanding new environments – its title reflecting that resilience and seemingly endless resourcefulness. “Or,” Thompson adds slyly, “it could be read as ‘Is he still performing? I thought he died years ago.”

Pre-order 'Still' here:



1) She Never Could Resist A Winding Road
2) Beatnik Walking
3) Patty Don’t You Put Me Down
4) Broken Doll
5) All Buttoned Up
6) Josephine
7) Long John Silver
8) Pony In The Stable
9) Where’s Your Heart
10) No Peace No End
11) Dungeons For Eyes
12) Guitar Heroes


Fri 28 Aug  Wareham, Dorset Purbeck Valley Folk Festival (solo)

Sun 30 Aug Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Tue 01 Sep  Dublin Vicar Street
Wed 02 Sep  Perth Perth Concert Hall
Thu 03 Sep  Aberdeen Aberdeen Music Hall
Sat 05 Sep  Edinburgh Queens Hall
Sun 06 Sep  Gateshead Sage
Tue 08 Sep  Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Wed 09 Sep  Salford Lowry
Thu 10 Sep  Sheffield City Hall
Sat 12 Sep  Nottingham Royal Centre
Sun 13 Sep  Birmingham Symphony Hall
Tue 15 Sep  Cardiff St. David's Hall
Wed 16 Sep  Bristol Colston Hall
Fri 18 Sep  Ipswich Regent Theatre
Sat 19 Sep  Cambridge Corn Exchange
Sun 20 Sep  London Royal Festival Hall


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bill Wyman announces first UK solo album in 33 years



Back To  Basics does exactly what it says on the tin.

It is unashamedly stripped back. The snappy lyrics are refreshingly audible and the instrumentation is clean, subtle and accomplished.

Back To Basics wears its influences on its sleeve – Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, JJ Cale – and there’s more than a passing nod to Bill’s own English background.

It is that rare thing, a meld of styles and genres that actually work together - uplifting in a jaunty, dancey way and pensive in a bluesy, narrative way.

As might be expected from one of the world’s best known bass players Back To Basics drives along with a rhythmic muscularity, and then slows the pace for more autobiographical lyric and melody.  It is an album that warrants repeated play. It is also an album that’s long overdue…

Bill Wyman’s last solo UK album, Bill Wyman, was released in 1982. Back To Basics comprises only his fourth UK solo release. 
But Bill has not been idle of course. 31 years in the Rolling Stones, author of seven learned books, globally exhibited photographer, metal detecting expert with his own brand of metal detector, producer, composer for film and TV and founder of the very successful Rhythm Kings who release CDs and tour regularly - he has had a pretty full calendar. It was only when archiving old demos last year he realised he had around 60 songs he’d never released.

He chose five songs that needed reworking and did just that. He put them together with a bunch of brand new songs and went into his studio to record them.

“Initially I thought I’m a bit old for this but then I thought all the old blues musicians played till they dropped so why don’t I give it a go…” B.W.

The CD comprises 13 tracks in total, eight of which are new songs. Musicians joining Bill in the studio include long time collaborator/guitarist Terry Taylor, Guy Fletcher (Mark Knopfler) , Graham Broad and Robbie McIntosh while co-production credit goes to Andy Wright (Jeff Beck, Eurythmics, Simply Red).

On Bill Wyman’s Back To Basics you get music that’s the real deal...and you’re all the better for it.

Track Listing

1. What & If & When & Why
2. I Lost My Ring
3. Love, Love, Love
4. Stuff (Can't Get Enough)
5. Running Back To You
6. She's Wonderful
7. Seventeen
8. I'll Pull You Through
9. November
10. Just A Friend Of Mine
11. It's A Lovely Day
12. I Got Time
13. Exciting (Bonus track for Itunes only)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proper Records artist: Dr. John - Ske-Dat - De-Dat ... Spirit Of Satch - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat ... Spirit of Satch from Dr John and I quite like it. Oh yeah. With a tribute to an older statesman, there are some old time ballads but with a fresh look which is overall very interesting. On opener, What A Wonderful World, The Blind Boys Of Alabama add a different dimension to what is done sixties pop style with a twist of New Orleans. Terrence Blanchard a really nice melodic trumpet solo over what is otherwise a funky orchestral arrangement. Mack The Knife gets a total revamp with a solid New Orleans strut. With very little except lyrics to the original track, this is an ingenious mix with brilliant work from Blanchard. There is a rap break which I don't care for but overall the track is excellent. Tight Like That has a real Latin feel with vocals by Telmary and sweet Spanish guitar and really smart trumpet work by Arturo Sandoval. I've Got The World On A String stays with very traditional arrangement say, Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra but with a Dr John twist. The good Dr and Bonnie Raitt handle the vocal duet which is very solid. Stylized swing blues guitar work on the bridge is really nice. Gut Bucket Blues has a really cool bari sax bottom and full horn tribute. Dr Johns vocals are as good as any on the release with a gritty feel. Nicholas Payton takes the floor with trumpet on this track blowin some serious brass. On Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, Anthony Hamilton takes the mic singing a counter melody to the all to familiar track adding mystery and interest. With a neo soul feel to the track, warm backing vocals and horns this track is as fresh as the first time I heard it. On That's My Home, Dr John takes a straight ahead swat and with his relaxed interpretive way weaves a smooth and comforting track with beautiful trumpet highlights from Wendell Brunious. On classic gospel track Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, lead vocals are handled by Ledisi backed by the McCrary Sisters. It still maintains a a spiritual feel but with more of a modern take and less of a "pure spiritual" track as most of us (at least me) have heard. Nice job! Wrap Your Troubles In Your Dreams finds the good Dr back at the mic and also predominantly out front with the piano. The Blind Boys of Alabama are back with both solo and backing vocals and less tight but soulful trumpet work from Terence Blanchard adds a nice touch. Dippermouth Blues comes out with horns blaring and a cool New Orleans march rhythm. The Dr has the keys rolling and the saxs are honking. James Andrews steps up with some authentic feeling NO trumpet styling. This is a great party track and with warm organ work may be one of my favorite tracks on the release. Blues giant Shemekia Copeland joins the Dr on Sweet Hunk O'Trash and with a funky bottom gets you groovin fast. Hot funky instrumentals throughout this track make it another nice add. Memories Of You has Dr John in the lounge mode laid back with his piano with brilliant punctuation by Arturo Sandoval on trumpet. Hot sax work opens the last track on the release, When You're Smiling. With a definite Latin/Mardi Gras feel and the great Dirty Dozen Brass band, the party is leaving town. This is a fun release with some hot trumpet work.

  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”


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Proper Records artist: Bap Kennedy - Let's Start Again - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (February 3, 2014), Let's Start Again, from Bap Kennedy and it's quite entertaining. Opening with the title track, Let's Start Again, Kennedy creates the feel of real wholesome American country (rock) music. Very clean and straightforward with Richard Nelson on pedal steel, the band sounding quite like Gram Parsons. Excellent! Revelation Blues is a bit more fast paced with John Fitzpatrick behind the melody on fiddle and Rabb Bennett on train like drums. Another strong track. If Things Don't Change is a boogie track with slide giving it a bit more of a relaxed feel. Kennedy is an excellent song writer and backing vocals by Maura Donaghy, Mudd Wallace and Tony Hughes add substantially to the feel of the track. King of Mexico has a simple pop sound with a south of the border/Caribbean feel. Song Of Her Desire is a zippy little ballad. Again, well constructed this is a track that could easily reach strong airplay. Radio Waves is another strong candidate for airplay with nice vocal harmonies with Brenda Kennedy and simple country styling. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Heart Trouble, a "Texas" swing track with nice touches by fiddler Fitzpatrick and steel melody by Nelson. A cool instrumental interlude on steel and fiddle, complimented by John McCullough on keys highlights this track in my mind. Under My Wing has a light Caribbean rhythm and Kennedy's vocals shine along with clean acoustic guitar riffs. Strange Kid is a clever little track with an almost Harry Nilsson like flare. Highlights on mandolin by Noel Lenaghan, as well as Nelson on steel, and Gordy McAllister on electric guitar add to this bright playful track. Fool's Paradise has a definitive sound of "the islands" with a catchy melody and simple adornment. Let It Go, the final track on the release, takes a more serious country waltz approach with traditional vocal duet by the Kennedys. "By the book" steel guitar and fiddle with bottom on organ by McCullough makes this another of the strongest tracks on the release. Although not much here for traditional "blues only" listeners, this is a strong release and one that should find broad appeal. Very nice!

  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”