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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 Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Gulf Coast Records artist: Kevin Burt - Stone Crazy - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Stone Crazy, by Kevin Burt and it's a cool contemporary blues rocker with a pop edge. Opening with I Ain't Got No Problem With It, a free and easy rocker, Burt on lead vocal, guitar and harmonica is joined by Mike Zito on guitar, Doug Byrkit on bass, Matthew Johnson on drums, Lewis Stephens on keys and Jimmy Carpenter on sax. Purdy Lil Thing has a cool, swampy feel and Burt's deep, smooth vocals are excellent! Johnson's drum touch is terrific and guitar accents by Zito have just the right touch. R&B based, title track, Stone Crazy, has a laid back feel and Burt's vocals float nicely on a lush melody. You Get What You See is a smooth fusion between a blues shuffle and a Booker T jam. With it's driving guitar vamp and Carpenter's sax work, this is a cool track. With it's funky groove, Better Off Dead is one to be reckoned with. Burt lays in the pocket with the confidence of Bill Withers on the most likely radio track on the release. Wrapping the release is Got To Make A Change, an interesting ballad with wailing electric slide under Burt's soulful vocals. 


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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Miss Emily - Live At The Isabel - New Release Review


 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live at the Isabel, from Miss Emily and it's solid. Opening with Sometimes It's Better To Lose, Miss Emily takes command of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts with her powerful vocals. Backed by Van Sheen, James McKenty and Rob Baker on guitar, Gord Sinclair on bass, Seamus Cowan on bass, Zak Colbert on bass, Sean Jensen and Rob Radford on drums, Benni Vander on keys, Jon "Bunny" Stewart on sax, and Spencer Evans on piano. Who Is He is a slinky R&B number with a cool guitar vamp and lush backing vocals by Kelly Prescott and Chad Murphy on backing vocals. Gospel flavored Three Words, is one of my favorite tracks on the release with super dynamics and heartfelt vocals, accompanied by piano. Very nice. The Letter, made popular by Joe Cocker is up next and really a strong rendition, closely following Cocker's arrangement. Soulful ballad, Blue Is Still Blue is a great showcase for Emily and another of my favorites on the release. With a sparse background, mostly piano, this track is strong. Another flavor is The Sellout with it's R&B basis. Emily hardly takes a breath nailing it to the wall and with rich backing vocals and tight guitar answer to her call, this track is very nice. Wrapping the release is Hold Back the River with it's gospel roots, acapella, handclaps and all. I really think that this is a cool release and one that should get some attention.


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Monday, January 18, 2021

Random Chance Records artist: Martin Lang - Bad Man - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Bad Man, from Martin Lang and it's pure blues. Opening with Reefer Head Man, a real nice Chicago blues, featuring Martin Lang on lead vocal and harp, Little frank on guitar, Illinois Slim on bass and  Dean Haas on drums. Lang's phrasing and sense of feel is really classic sounding like original Chicago blues rather than a current day take. Very nice. He Don't Love You is a great track with some of Lang's best vocals on the release. His harp tone is warm and round and David Waldman on piano adds classic blues piano. Harp boogie, High as a Georgia Pine is a top notch track with Lang riding high on harp over a solid bass line by Illinois Slim. The Mix Up is another harmonica instrumental with a Latin flavor. Lang has a great feel for just how much harp to add with a great balance of guitar by Little Frank. Mood Indica is a cool, slow blues instrumental with really nice exchanges between Frank and Lang. Very nice. All Gone Now is a really cool strut with Lang on harmonica melody. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Stacys On My Feet, a slow blues with Lang on lead vocal and David Waldman on piano. This is a strong closer for a really nice release. 


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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Earwig Music Company artist: Andy Cohen - Tryin' To Get Home - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Tryin' To Get Home, from Andy Cohen and it's a cool, rural blues release. Opening with Blind Boy Fuller's Step It Up And Go, Andy Cohen wastes no time in showing that he's a serious student of the blues and a solid vocalist. His finger picking work is strong and his vocal delivery perfect. Excellent opener. Cohen shows broad versatility sitting behind the piano on Louis Jay Meyers Memorial Stomp. This is a really nice piano blues and with great feel, and a strong composition by Cohen. Another Cohen original, Puffin' That Stuff is one of my favorites on the release. A short finger picked guitar rag, this track will be a favorite in concert and on the disc. Very cool. Mississippi John Hurt's Talkin' Casey, is a classic blues story track with Cohen punctuating Casey's story with acoustic slide. Very nice. Reverend Gary Rag is a great tune and a cool tribute to Davis by Cohen. With his fleet fingered runs and classic patterns, this track is tight. RG Davis's trademark track, Death Don't Have No Mercy, is always a favorite and Cohen's handling of it is strong. Blind Blake's West Coast Blues is another finger twister and Cohen works it over nicely with articulate string runs and vocal engagement. Excellent! Wrapping the release is another Cohen original, Planxty: Miss Joanna Swan a nicely paced blues rag with an imbed melody over the picked rhythm. I real nice closer for an excellent acoustic blues release in the vein on Blake or Davis.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Endless Blues Records artist: Mick Kolassa - If You Can't Be Good, Be Good At It! - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, If You Can't Be Good, Be Good At It!, by Mick Kolassa and I think it's his best release yet. Opening with I Can't Help Myself, a R&B style track with a light funky beat featuring Kolassa on lead vocal and acoustic guitar, Jeff Jensen on electric guitar, Bill Ruffino on bass, John Blackmon on drums, Rick Steff on keys, Marc Franklin on trumpet, and Kirk Smothers on sax, this is a solid opener. With deep gospel richness, James Taylor's Lo and Behold has great guitar underpinnings and super vocal by Yullie Brae. Rocking title track, If You Can't Be good, Be Good At It! is clever and has solid guitar riffs by Jensen, and power horn work by Franklin and Smothers. My favorite track on the release, A Good Day For the Blues, features nice guitar work by David Dunavent and Jensen and some of Kolassa's best vocal work on the release. Smooth blues ballad, Slow and Easy Love gives Jensen a wide road to really lay down on lead guitar and he capitalizes nicely over the warm organ bed of Rick Steff. Howlin' Wolf's Who's Been Talking? has a super Latin (read Santana) rhythm and features Dunavent and Jensen again on guitar with super backing by Willie Hall on drums and Weston Caldwell on percussion. Very nice! Wrapping the release is acoustic ballad, She Kept Her Head Up with it's easy rhythm and cool melody over reverb saturated guitar lead and tight drum rhythms by John Blackmon. 


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Friday, January 8, 2021

Dreams We Share artist: David Rotundo Band - So Much Trouble - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, So Much Trouble, from David Rotundo Band, and it's tasty. Opening with She's Dynamite, a strong blues rocker, features David Rotundo on lead vocal and harmonica, Milky Burgess on guitar, Ron Weinstein on organ and piano, Dean Schmidt on bass, Andrew Cloutier on drums and Darian Asplund on sax this is a super opener. Slower blues, I Must Be Crazy, is one of my favorite tracks on the release with solid lead vocal,  Weinstein really working the organ and fine guitar work by Burgess. Very cool. Too Blue, with it's easy sway is another cool track with haunting backing vocals by Annie Jantzer always strong lead by Rotundo and wailing guitar work by Burgess. Drinking Overtime is a swinging shuffle with over the top organ by Weinstein and solid sax by Asplund. Rotundo wails on harmonica and works his vocals into a frenzy. Trying to find it is a solid rocker with group vocal featuring Rotundo, Lee Oskar, Erik Yager, Chris Weortink, Nick Foster, Timothy Hill, Julia Vega, Brian Madsen, and Ginger Woo pushed by Cloutier and Schmidt and featuring nice harmonica by Rotundo and guitar soloing by Burgess. Wrapping the release is traditional blues track, Trouble In Mind, featuring Rotundo accompanying his own vocals on acoustic guitar and harmonica. A cool rendition of a classic and a fitting closer. 


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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Tim Woods - Vortex - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Vortex, by Tim Woods and it's a solid blues rocker. Opening with Ready, a cool straight up rocker with solid gritty vocals by Tim Woods who also plays some pretty serious lead guitar, backed by Bobby Lee Rodgers on guitar, bass, drums and keys. Very cool. Title track, Vortex, has an interesting sound along the lines of Wishbone Ash with an almost ethereal feel, crisp drum work and strong vocal backing by Derek Woods and Ryan Woods. Sage is an interesting self perpetuating, guitar lead, instrumental with full organ backing by Rodgers. This is my favorite track on the release. Light shuffle, I Don't Know Yet really has a crisp, jazzy feel with a great strutting rhythm. Woods' vocals are breezy and his guitar lead is fluid and resolved. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Water Is Life, a firm ballad with primarily rhythm guitar backing with cool undercurrents of key and drums. This is a solid closer to an enjoyable release. 


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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

VizzTone Label Group artist: Bob Margolin - Star of Stage and Screen - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Star of Stage and Screen, by Bob Margolin and it is a continuation of his most recent acoustic release, This Guitar and Tonight. Opening with acoustic blues and title track, Star of Stage and Screen, Margolin is back with his voice and guitar. A cool, stripped down delta style shuffle, Margolin sits upfront with a mostly vocal track with a tight rhythm and some cool riffs. My favorite track on the release is After Party with it's up tempo shuffle beat, straight up acoustic rhythm guitar and some real nice slide, all by Margolin. Another favorite on the release is ruff and tumble, Let It Go with it's slide guitar signature riffs and Margolin's best vocals on the release. Wrapping the release is March 2020 In Stop Time, with Margolin working his words about the state of politics and the current US leadership. maintaining the track to mostly vocal with accent guitar, it's true to it's blues roots and a firm closer.


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Monday, January 4, 2021

Blue Rock Records artist: Dennis Jones - Soft Hard & Loud - New release review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Soft Hard & Loud, from Dennis Jones and it's a cool blues rocker. Opening with Revolves Around You, with it's reggae/funky beat fueled by Cornelius Mims on bass, Raymond Johnson on drums and the vocal and guitar lead of Dennis Jones. His melodic, yet fiery lead work works nicely with this radio focused track. Cool opener. I Love The Blues is a solid blues ballad with Bennett Paysinger on B3 and along with Jones' warm vocals some real tasty guitar work. With a lot of fire, Front Door Man has a driving SRV like vamp. Layered lead guitar work by Jones really sets up this blues rocker nicely. Another track with a strong shot of radio appeal is funky blues rocker, Gonna be Alright. Fluid lead guitar soloing and a cool melody really sets this track apart. The anchor on this release and my favorite is slow blues, I'm Not, with it's T-Bone Walker structure and with Jason Freeman on B3. Jones really takes his guitar for a nice run on this one with heavy bending and strong blues phrasing. Clocking on at over 5 minutes, this track is hot. Wrapping the release is high energy rocker, Burn The Plantation Down. Jones has put together a nice release here with plenty of guitar to fill your ear.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

400 Bears - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, 400 Bears by a band with the same name (Paul Wilkinson, artist) and it's a cool mix or country, rock, blues and blue grass. Opening with Borderline, an easy flowing jam style track along the line of Hot Tuna with just a dash of gospel with country rock style guitar lead, organ and tight drum rhythms. Solid opener.  With a mic'd resonator and steel style riffs, Holy Place has a real country sound and a strong melody. Wilkinson's vocals and backing vocals blend just perfectly. Take It Slow is a great track with bluegrass roots and a freewheeling tempo. Wilkinson really hits the nail on the head perfectly. Based on a Jimmie Rogers rhythm, Small Town crosses over between country, jazz and blues. With a full organ chorus and light snare work under low end fret work along the lines of Bill Kirchen, this track gets into a nice groove. Finger picking a metal bodied resonator guitar and with the addition of slide, country blues style Good Bear is a terrific instrumental track and one of my favorites on the release.  Wrapping the release is Hammer, s homey, folk track with warmly blended vocals with acoustic guitar and steel guitar backing. This is a different kind of release but a nice one.




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Monday, December 28, 2020

JD3 & The Jondo Trio - Something Good - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Something Good, from JD3 & The Jondo Trio and it's a solid blues rocker. Opening with Restless Soul, Nate Mosley on lead guitar and vocal, backed by Stu Way on bass, Paul Osborn on drums and Chris Dafford on keys and horns set up a great track. With a solid rhythm and grinding guitar work by Mosley this is a strong opener. With a funky, soulful Albert King like approach, Big Daddy is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Mosely has a deep, gritty voice and with a full bottom, cowbell and confident guitar lead, over a tight bass line, this is a great groove. Texas is a cool, laid back rocker with pocked guitar riffs that will throw you back in your seat. The band has just the right swagger and behind the powerful vocals of Mosely, this band has something special. Bluesy ballad, Try, Try, Try has a strong melody falling right in the Ray Charles roadway with tight soulful guitar lead and soloing. This is a great radio track with all of the essential elements. Very nice. Wrapping the release is strong blues rocker, Whatchucan with a dose of southern attitude and tight drums work. With his amp on hot the tone oozes blues. This is a tight unit and a release that I really enjoyed.



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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Peter Veteska & Blues Train - Grass Ain't Greener on the Other Side - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Grass Ain't Greener on the Other Side, by Peter Veteska & Blues Train and it's a solid blues rocker. Opening with Am I Wrong Pretty Baby, singer/songwriter and lead guitarist, Peter Veteska starts off with a cool slinky blues, with Mikey jr. on harmonica, Alex D'Agnese on drums, Jeff Levine on B3 and Coo Mo Jee on bass. With it's Latin blues rhythm, Running Like A Dog. is strong with a really nice B3 solo by Levine and solid vocals and tasty guitar riffs by Veteska. My favorite track on the release is shuffle track, You Give Me Loving with a cool guitar/B3 intro and solid vocals. Veteska really gets the crew would up on this one and his guitar soloing is sharp and tight. R&B track, Thinking and Drinking has a light, upbeat rhythm and with balanced vocal and guitar melody, makes this a likely radio track for the release. Willie Cobb's You Don't Love Me is a great cover with a snappy drum anchor, country blues influenced guitar work and cool B3 work makes this track work well. Wrapping the release is title track, Grass Ain't Greener On The Other Side with a cool, funky bass line, cool blues guitar riffs and trading vocal lines with Roger Girke making is a strong closer.




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Monday, December 21, 2020

Montrose Records artist: Sam Barlow - Faith In The Blues - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Faith In The Blues, from Sam Barlow and it's solid. Opening with scorcher, Sittin' In The Jailhouse, lead vocalist and guitar player, Sam Barlow wields his guitar sounding like the second coming of Johnny Winter on slide. Joined by Erwin Solback on piano, Joseph Seltzer on drums and Anthony Movsesian on bass, this is a terrific opener. Breaker Box Blues is a really strong track with an excellent melody, vocal and a power punch by Barlow on guitar. His riffs are tight, ripping and emotional. In addition, Barlow plays a mean harmonica on this track, backed by Izzy Aguirre on keys in addition to Seltzer and  Movesesian. Excellent! Anika Chambers works her magic on vocal with Barlow on Willie Dixon's My Babe, nicely complimented by cool organ solo by Aguirre. Funky, Get Off Me, really gets a workout by Seltzer and Movesesian (who lays in a hot bass solo) with rhythm guitar, vocal and harmonica by Barlow. He cuts loose on guitar with some hot guitar riffs and then follows with harmonica riffs, only to turn around with James Brown. Really cool. My Little Lady is a real nice funky blues with a definite SRV tone (Strat through a fender super). A track that should appeal universally to most modern blues/ rock fans, Barlow shows once more that he really knows how to crank it on guitar and harmonica with Dave Hamilton soloing on bass, Movesesian soloing on drums and B3 by Aguirre. Excellent! Heavy shuffle, Street Blues is a really great jam. With a terrific loping rhythm guitar and a rowdy lead line, this track is great! Wrapping the release is Valentine Special with Barlow on resonator slide guitar and vocal. This is a total change up on the release but a real treat for the closer on a really cool release. 


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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Billy J - Rise Above - New Release review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Rise Above, from Billy J and it's a solid rocker. Opening with She's Mine, a cool 60's style rocker features Billy J on vocal and guitar, Yonrico Scott on drums, Charlie Wooton on bass, and Jeremy Baum on keys, this track could have turned up on an early Englisher metal rocker. Cool opener. Shuffle, Line Em Up is a slick blues rocker with a tight bass line and solid guitar riffs. Slow blues ballad, New Car, gives Billy a strong opportunity to step up and show his stuff soloing. With a play on words with the lyrics and a plenty of space to move, Billy sets a great table. She is a simple, mostly acoustic ballad that would seem to be a direct tune for the radio. With the melody of a Lindsay Buckingham composition, this track is mellow and tight with a nice melodic guitar solo. Wrapping the release is Boomerang, a strong rocker with a driving beat and ripping guitar lead. This is likely my favorite track on the release with it's strong British rock styling, no holds barred guitar style and excellent drum beat.  


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Monday, December 14, 2020

Tres Pescadores Records artist: Rick Shea - Love & Desperation - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the latest release, Love & Desperation, from Rick Shea and it's a cool mix of country, tex mex and rock. Opening with Blues Stop Knockin' At My Door, with a great country feel and a dash of Accordion by Phil Parlapiano, bass by Jeff Turmes and drums by Shawn Nourse. Shea does a great job on lead vocal and guitar. Super opener. Down At The Bar At Gypsy Sally's is an interesting story track with shimmery guitar behind Shea's vocals and Jim Turmes on sax complimenting Shea's stylistic guitar work. Nicely crafted ballad, A Tenderhearted Love with it's memorable melody is my choice to the radio track. With it's easy guitar hook and warm B3 work by Parlapiano this track is a radio standout. Another favorite on the release is Tex Mex track, Juanita (Why Are You So Mean) with accordion and tight snare rhythm supporting Shea's vocal work. Mystic Canyon is a real nice western flavored instrumental with Shea dabbing the colors of sound on his guitar like a painter. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Texas Lawyer, a really cool western track again with accordion giving it just the right flavor. This is an unusual release and one that I really like. 


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Friday, December 11, 2020

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore - Cold Chills - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Cold Chills, from Henry Gray and Bob Corritore and it's a heaping serving of Chicago blues. Opening with Cold Chills, Henry gray is upfront on lead vocal and piano and Corritore has great tone and fullness. Backed by Bob Margolin on guitar, Johnny Rapp on guitar, Chico Chism on drums and Pops McFarlane on drums, this unit is tight. Fats Domino's Don't You Lie To Me is a great track for Gray with natural piano spotlight and Corritore is mic'd forward in the mix which I really like. John Brim gats the mic on slow blues, Moonlight Blues, also taking the lead on guitar with Corritore on harmonica, Paul Thomas on bass, and Chism on drums. This track has a great feel and balance. Eddie Taylor Jr leads the way on guitar and vocal on Going Away Baby with Corritore on harmonica, Illinois Slim on on guitar, Brian Fahey on drums, and Bob Stroger on bass. Very nice. Gray is back on piano on Mother - In - Law Blues featuring Robert Jr Lockwood on guitar and Chism on drums, Rapp on guitar and Mario Moreno on bass. In the slot, solid. Tail Dragger is upfront on Hurt Your Feelings and Johnny Burgin adds tasty lead guitar. With Slim on guitar, Fahey on drums and Stroger on bass, deep Chicago blues. Jimi "Primetime" Smith is at the mic on You For Me a cool shuffle track with a nice lope. Gray and Corritore really shine on this track with Troy Sandow on bass and Marty Dodson on drums. Chief Schabuttie Gilliame does an outrageous job on lead vocal on boogie, Javelina Jamboree with Burgin smoking the guitar and great piano riffs by Gray. Backed by Moreno on bass and Chism on drums, this is my favorite track on the release. Wrapping the release is slower blues, Going Down Slow with Gray back on lead vocal and piano and chilling guitar riffs by Rapp. This is an excellent closer for a really strong traditional Chicago blues release. 


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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Rick Fines - Solar Powered Too - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Solar Powered Too, from Rick Fines, and it's a soft blend of blues, tropical and folk music. Opening with Below The Surface, a smooth acoustic ballad, Rick Fines accompanies him vocal on Cuban Tres and Baritone Guitar. With it's solid melody and accomplished vocal and guitar work, this is a fine opener. With traditional blues guitar riffs and slide by Fine and Roly Platt laying in some really nice harmonica, Worry be The Death of Me is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Country style blues, Laundry On The Line, is nicely executed by Fines with tight finger patterns and warm vocals. Another of my favorite tracks on the release is Tex Mex styled, That's What Makes You Strong with Melissa Payne joining on vocal, Alec Fraser on bass, Gary Craig on drums, and Jimmy Bowskill on Mandolin. Very nice.  Slow, country style ballad, One Lone Loon has a beautiful melody and with singing pedal steel guitar by Bowskill, paired with Fines on guitar and vocal makes for a very nice track. Fines' resonator slide work on upbeat Never Let Go, really adds great texture to this radio style track. Wrapping the release is acoustic blues, Scared To Dance with it's prominent finger picking and solid vocals by Fines. This is a solid effort and enjoyably fast. 


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