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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, March 3, 2021

Roots Arts Records artist: Andres Roots - Tartu Lockdown - The House Arrest EP's - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the latest release, Tartu Lockdown - The House Arrest EP's, from Andres Roots and it's a cool batch of instrumental blues tracks. Starting with a session recorded in March of 2020 Roots on 6 string cigar box guitar cranks out Lindberg Boogie, a quick paced slide blues. Roots has a sure hand and using his thumb as the drone note slides frantically end to end on the fretboard. Cool opener. Soup City Blues #3 is a bit more somber eventually picking up a traditional 12 bar feel. The second set on the release was recorded in April of 2020 and opens with Hello Neighbor #1. Bridging multiple strings on his slide and using that drone thumb, this is a really cool track. 

Springtime Blues is a light blues track with a catchy melody. With it's simple phrasing and boogie rhythm, it's one of my release favorites. An interesting mixture of blues and jazz, For Future Reference, shows a different type of phrasing and single note, finger picked melody and with slide as a compliment on what sounds like a standard acoustic guitar. 


The third set, recorded in May of 2020, opens with One String Racket, a curious name for a track which sounds like it's recorded using some type of light weight metal stringed instrument. Very interesting. Lockdown Special has an "Eastern" twist on the slide work with it's wavering tonality and maintains a drone note but is considerably more finger picked than much of the rest of the release. Wrapping the release, is Extra Noodles, a track with a bit more rock influence, reminding me just a bit of early Jeff Beck but still on a non traditional instrument. Conventional blues styling and a solid rhythm make this an ideal closer for a pretty cool instrumental release. 


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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Blonde On Blonde Direct artist: Dave Thomas - One More Mile - New Release Review





 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, One More Mile, by Dave Thomas, and it's a strong mix of R&B, Soul rock and blues. Opening with BB King's It's My Own Fault, Dave Thomas on lead guitar and vocal is on top of his game with really front man vocals that work all day and really soulful lead work that makes you sit back and listen. With Terry Popple on drums, Dylan Aplvor on bass, Tom Arnold on Hammond, Norman Tischler on sax and Jeff Hager on trumpet, this is a terrific opener. Funky high stepper, I Like My Chicken Fried, is soul fused with a lot of horns. Thomas works the groove and with the Hammond work by Arnold and Hager's trumpet accents...cool track. Easy shuffle, I Want The Blues shows another side of Thomas' vocal work, with added harmonica and lighter rural style picking. Kicking into rock mode, Tony McPhee's Eccentric Man has a definite early British blues rock feel with aggressive guitar and drum work. Wrapping the release is another McPhee track, Strange Town, with it's driving vamp and classic turnaround. Thomas is cutting a broad swath and laying it all out. Very cool. 


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Friday, February 26, 2021

Ruf Records artist: Ally Venable - Heart Of Fire - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Heart of Fire, from Ally Venable and it's a solid blues rocker. Opening with title track, Heart of Fire, Venable is upfront with this Hendrix/Trower flavored radio track. Backed by Elijah Owings on drums, Bobby Wallace on bass and Pat Fusco on keys, Venable's vocals are solid and her riffs undeniable. With a bit of finger picking and acoustic slide, Played the Game still has a pop feel but with a bit more bluesy edge. Bobby Wallace adds keys and Venable's own acoustic slide work gives it a nice feel. Heavy blues rocker, Bring On The Pain, features Kenny Wayne Shepherd and he plays stinging riffs that propel this track under the vocal harmony of Venable. This track has a real nice edge and with the heavier rhythm work, one of the best on the release. Bill Withers' ultra funky track, Use Me, is up next with Owlings, Wallace and Venable creating a great rhythm under Venable's vocals. Very nice. A play on Stevie Ray Vaughan's Rivera Paradise, Tribute to SRV, is really nice and a strong exhibit of Venable's solid chops and fine hand at guitar. Very nice. Wrapping the release is rocker, What Do You Want From Me, with it's Jimi influenced guitar riffs and Sleater Kinney like harmony vocals. Solid rocker ending for a solid blues rockin release. 


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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Shakin' Woods - The Blues Groove Sessions #1 - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Blues Groove Sessions #1 from Shakin' Woods and it's a solid blues rocker. Opening with Like A Superman, singer/guitarist Rich Russman shows the way on this soulful radio rocker. With its strong melody and melodic, Mesa Boogie, guitar work, Latin influenced rhythm by George Belton on bass, Paul Dudley on drums, Austin Day on keys, it's a certain to get some airplay. Bluesy, The Place To Be has a great back beat and sets you deep in one of those grooves. Very nice. Another track with a funky beat is Cayman Review with a fun vocal interplay, funky organ by Day and bongo/tom tom playing by Dudley that really hits the spot. Wrapping the release is Still Alive, a heavy weight blues rocker that really gives Russman the opportunity to show his chops and he's not holding back. The band is hot and heavy on this super closer for a solid release. 


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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Steve Hill - Desert Trip - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Desert Trip, from Steve Hill, and it's an interesting blend of folk, rock and blues. Opening with Evening Star, a chant like blues track with a thumping drum beat and fleet fingered acoustic guitar work is a strong opener for one of Canada's most prolific guitar players. Rain is a real cool track with super vocals, a progressive melody and solid guitar accompaniment. Cold Hearts reminds me quite a bit of a Frank Black composition (Pixies) with it's solid melody, strong pace and tight package. Very nice. Another strong composition is I Won't, a simple acoustic and vocal ballad. Hill has a great way of blending a cool tune with interesting rhythm and just the right amount of finger work. Very nice. With it's firm foot stomp driving rhythm and guitar driven melody, Hill does some of his best vocal work on Make Believe. The track shows how simple guitar execution can be so tasty. Judgement Day has a cool blues/western sound with some of the components of an old western theme. I love the lower neck amplified guitar work as well as the built up dynamics under the blues/rock guitar soloing on this track. Excellent. Wrapping the release is super instrumental, Tail Lights, with Hill dancing nicely across the electric strings creating one really nice closer for a solid set of music. 


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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

VizzTone Label Group artist: Early Times & the High Rollers - The Corner - New Release Review

 I just has the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Corner, from Early Times & the High Rollers and it's a cool rocker. Opening with easy shuffle, Come On, Let's Ride, Early Times on vocal and guitar is upfront with Joshua Keith on drums, Dan Schnapp on keys and Hardan Long on bass. On The Corner maintains a lighter radio feel but with bluesy guitar riffs by Times and a solid drum bottom by Keith. Sixties style rocker, Do What She Do keeps it simple with a solid melody and simple beat. A strong radio track and a cool track. Bluesy, She's About To Lose Her Mind, grinds into a lumbering groove with nice piano and organ work by Schnapp under some of Times' best vocal work and some real tasty guitar riffs by Popa Chubby making this one of my favorites on the release. Instrumental, Rosie's Herbs 'n Ting is a light, jazzy rocker with a hint of Latin spice giving Times a nice chance to step out on guitar over the tight percussive rhythms of Jay Messina. Very nice. Acoustic ballad, Someone Help Mary is a nicely crafted track with solid vocals and minimal instrumental as needed along the lines of Neil Diamond. Wrapping the release is high energy rocker, Return of the Queen, with driving guitar and relentless drumming. It is actually a real cool track with vocal phrasing like Dylan and a blazing guitar solo by Times. Solid closer for a cool release. 


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Monday, February 22, 2021

WildRoots Records artists: The WildRoots - WildRoots Sessions Volume 1 - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, WildRoots Sessions Volume 1, from The WildRoots and it really cool. Opening with Eddie Floyd's classic, 634-5789, Stephen Dees on bass, Victor Wainwright on piano and lead vocal and Patricia Ann Dees on lead vocal and sax, joined by John Oates on rhythm guitar, Eddie Zyne on drums, Todd Sharp on lead guitar, David Kent on piano, and Beth McKee on backing vocal this is a soulful opener. Move Along Part 1 is a super jam with tight percussion and horns. With Patricia on lead vocal, Greg Gumpel on guitar, Gerard Guida on Hammond Robert Caban on percussion, and Billy Dean on drums this is a hot track. Charlie DeChant lays in a really nice tenor sax solo soulful ballad, Our Last Goodbye featuring John Oates on lead vocal. Very nice. Venturing into spiritual music, Cradled In The Bosom of Jerusalem, has deep gospel styling with rich vocal work by Wainwright, Particia, Beth McKee, drums by Alberto Cruz and acoustic slide by Pat Harrington. Robert "Top" Thomas has the mic on King Snake Crawl Revisited adding guitar and backed by Stephen Kampa on harmonica.  Funky, Move Along Part 2, features DeChant on lead sax, with Guida on organ, Gumpel on guitar and Dean on drums. In A Sad Room is my choice for top radio track with a catchy melody and smooth vocal lead by Chris Merrell. Bryan Bassett on lead guitar, Scott Corwin on drums, Top Thomas on guitar and Lucky Peterson on Hammond round out the mix. Wrapping the release is another soulful ballad, I'm Yours, featuring Wainwright on lead vocal and piano. Charlie DeChant shines balances nicely on sax making this a solid track to close. 


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Friday, February 19, 2021

Luca Burgalassi - Come To My World - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Come To My World, by Luca Burgalassi, and it's a laid back Eric Clapton/JJ Cale style look at the blues. Opening with My Loving Babe, Burgalassi sings and accompanies himself on guitar and dobro, drums and harmonica. A cool, modern stroke at the blues with a dash of country gives this track a familiar feel. Solid opener. A lightly salted jazz track, All My Blues, has a snappy rhythm section of bass and drums under Luca's flight fretwork and lush vocals. Haunting, Notte is one of my favorite tracks on the release featuring Valentina Sorbera on piano and Holly Kirsten on strings. Ballad, Song In The Distance is a solid radio track with a rich melody and Luca accompanying himself primarily on guitar. Very nice. With a Muddy Waters like dobro slide riffs, and Rob Oliver on harmonica, The Real Me is a cool, updated blues track. Country swinger/gypsy swinger, Tidewater Attitude has traces of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks or Squirrel Nut Zippers. It's energy and featured playing by Luca, Michael glass on vocal and guitar, Bobby Black Hat on vocal and harp, Valentina Sorbera on vocal, Holly Kirsten on vocal and violin, Rob Oliver on vocal and guitar and Pamela Jo Ward on dooo dooo makes for a lot of fun. Wrapping the release is Home, an instrumental ballad featuring Luca on vocal, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, accordion, bass and percussion. This is a cool release with a lot of texture. 


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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ruf Records artist: Ghalia Volt - One Woman Band - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, One Woman Band, from Ghalia Volt and it's super. Opening with stripped down, Last Minute Packer,  Ghalia Volt has gone the way of a one woman band playing slide guitar and drums on this track backing her own bluesy vocals. The is a high energy strong opener. Espiritu Papago is another cool blues rocker with just a little more refinement with the addition of Dean Zucchero on bass. Tampa Red's It Hurt's Me Too is a strong classic included on the release with strong vocals and solid, traditional electric slide playing. Very nice. A little switch up on It Ain't Bad and a tight little rocker. With blues rock chords and a rockabilly turn around, Crissie Hynde like vocal and slap cymbals, this is really sweet. Letting it all hang out on Bad Apple, Volt turns up the amp on her slide and works the guitar nicely in concert with her lead vocal and foot drum. One of the longer tracks on the release and a open space for frenzied slide work. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Just One More Time, featuring Monster Mike Welch on guitar and Dean Zucchero on bass. A driving rocker, Volt pulls out the top candidate for radio track on the release. Its simple melody and term bend soloing by Welch makes it an excellent closer. 


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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Little Pig Records artist: Cousin Harley - Let's Go - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Let's Go, from Cousin Harley and it's a blast. Billed as Canada's premier hillbilly rockers, Cousin Harley opens with Right Back With The Blues, a country stepper. Paul Pigat on lead vocal and guitar, Jesse Cahill on drums and Keith Picot on bass make this track sound like it was recorded in the USA circa 1956 and I love it. Pigat's vocals are strong and chesty and his guitar playing a solid tele finger picking workout. Excellent! Jumping right on the throttle with heavy driving drums by Cahill, Let's Go has a heavy bass line that is almost metal like but the result of this track is nothing short of pure rock n' roll with berry like guitar riffs. Excellent! I'm a sucker for surf tunes and El Swarto's Big Adventure is a great instrumental with fat shimmery chords and a Latin beat. Great! Cool rag style jazz track, Dancing For Bobo is a cool country flavored jazz tune which could be straight from a Chet Atkins or Danny Gatton release with plenty of snap and strong fluid guitar lead work. Very nice. Another cool rocker with a dash of surf is Who's That Lyin' with traces to Son House and an infectious rhythm. This is not only a terrific track, it also is my choice for radio track on the release! Excellent! Bluesy rocker, Gone, Gone, Gone has a dark, Blind Willie McTell feel and another terrific entry. Pigat's vocals are nicely surrounded by the heat and sweat of a gritty hotel room and his guitar riffs are tight and meaningful. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Merle The Gypsy, sounding like Atkins meets Django. With fluid finger picking and an accelerated beat, this is a terrific closer for one of the best releases I've heard in a long time.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Josh Piche' - Self Titled - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release from Josh Piche' and it's a cool set. Opening with Starry Eyes, a solid rocker with plenty of radio appeal, Josh Piche' is up front on guitar and lead vocal backed by Eddy Ruyter on keys, Steve Pelletier on bass and Don Pham on drums. Piche's vocals are really cool and his guitar attach sophisticated. Another track with solid radio appeal is Spend My Time with the addition of steel guitar work by Mitch Lewis. With it's softer approach, December Birds has a folky acoustic feel with light instrumentation and warm backing vocals. Wrapping the release is reggae flavored, Fools In Love with tight drum rhythms, mellow lap steel by Lewis and the addition of Anthony Brancati on keys and Mike Ferfolia on vocal. 


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Monday, February 15, 2021

Dave Keller - You Get What You Give: Duets - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, You Get What You Give: Duets, from Dave Keller and it's a solid set of blues, R&B and soul. Opening with One More Tear, featuring Annika Chambers on vocal, Keller on lead vocal and guitar is backed by Ira Friedman on organ, Alex Budney on bass, Jay Gleason on drums, Mark Earley on sax, Mario Perrett on tenor sax and Tom Palance on trumpet. A potent R&B track and a super opener. Title track, You Get What You Give, pairs Keller with Annie Mack shows a lot of soul in this, radio track with it's strong, memorable melody. One of my favorite tracks on the release, The Evil That Men Do, features Keller trading lead with Trudy Lynn, Annika Chambers, Annie Mack and Johnny Rawls on what is definitely my favorite track on the release. It's composition is sophisticated and melodic and reminiscent of the best of early Elton John ballads. With Friedman on piano and Tom Palance on trumpet, this is a great track. Latin influenced, Your Kind Of Fool has a great rhythm and with Friedman on piano and organ and keller sharing the mic with Trudy Lynn, another top track. Another terrific ballad, The Spark, pairs Keller on vocal with Friedman on piano. Very nice. Gospel fueled, Precious Lord, Take My Hand, features Brother Bob White on vocal and piano, with Keller on guitar and Larry Gann on drums...powerful. Katie Henry's vocals on The Kiss I Want, along with Keller on vocal and guitar make this another top candidate for airplay. Wrapping the release is acoustic blues driven, I'm Gonna Let It Shine. Toussaint St. Negritude on lead vocal and Keller on National Steel guitar and harmonica give this release a strong closer. 


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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Endrick and the Sandwiches - Green Room Rumble - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Green Room Rumble, from Endrick and the Sandwiches and it's a lot of fun. Opening with Junior Parker's Mystery Train, Montreal's own Endrick and The Sandwich has their blues groove on. Endrick Tremblay on lead vocal, harmonica, piano, and guitar leads the way, backed by Greg McEvoy on guitar, Simon Ebber on bass, and Mandella Coupal Dalgleish on drums. Willie Dixon's slow blues, Choo Choo has really nice feel with solid vocals and giving Tremblay a little space to show his guitar chops. Very cool. Trouble In Mind, made popular by Chippie Hill is sung as a quiet duet featuring Tremblay and Rene Lauziere and hitting the spot nicely. Slim Harpo's Scratch My Back is up next and is a cool ramble. Tremblay on harp and guitar captures the funky blues feel and backing vocals balance it nicely. Original track, Devil Does is my favorite track on the release with Endrick on lead vocal and guitar and a feel that blends the Hill Country sound with contemporary stripped down blues. Very nice. Wrapping the release is another Dixon track, You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover, with a distinctly early British invasion sound. This is a solid blues rocker and strong closer. 


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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Leaky Shoes Records artist: John McLean and Charles Barkatz - Shadow Man - New Release review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Shadow Man, by John McLean and Charles Barkatz and it's a mixed bag of blues based rock. Opening with Leaky Shoes Blues with it's almost Pink Floyd like feel and blues overtones. With John McLean on lead vocal, Charles Barkatz on guitar and vocal, Derek O'Brien on guitar, Nick Connolly on keys, Chris Maresh on bass and John Chipman on drums and with Kaz Kazanoff on sax, John Mills on bari sax, and Al Gomez on trumpet this is a cool opener. Title track, Shadow Man, is a bright shuffle with and a cool extended guitar solo. Slow blues, She Cry Blues is one of my favorite tracks on the release with fat sax work behind soulful vocal lead by McLean and tasty blues guitar lead and solid accents. Bathtub Blues is a cool, upbeat blues rocker with the addition of Kazanoff on harmonica. Wrapping the release is New Life, a strong blues track in the manner of Willie Dixon. With it's hard rhythmic bottom, loose but cool guitar lead and cohesive piano work, under the lead vocals of McLean and backing vocals by Connolly, John Chipman, Stuart Sullivan, Derek O'Brien, Maresh, Kazanoff and Barkatz, this is a cool closer for an interesting release. 


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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Roots Art Records artist: Andres Roots - Mississippi to Loch Lomond - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Mississippi to Loch Lomond, from Andres Roots and it's a strong set of acoustic style blues tracks from one of todays strongest slide players. Opening with In The Dark, a cool delta style slide piece, Roots digs in with great attack and fervor. A more solitude approach was taken on Build Me A Statue where strong, yet deliberate slide phrasing is the key. On Snake Girl Blues, Roots uses an effective blues phrase as the refrain with a cool slide anchor and slides nicely through the melody. Very nice. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Legacy Blues with it's traditional structure and sweet slide phrasing. Roots has a real nice hand and works this track just right. Another of my favorites is finger picked 4 AM Hot Dog with it's Piedmont kind of style and driving thumb bass line. Alternating back and forth between flat and slide, a real nice track. With it's light feel, Spanish Run moves from a rock/surf like tune done on acoustic guitar to a more intricate and classical like tune with varying time signatures. Very cool. Traditional tune, Station Blues Medley is a sliding cruise through melodies including You Gotta Move and Sitting On Top Of The World. The Sheik Of Hawaii blends multicultural melodic and rhythmic concepts, all expressed on slide guitar creating quite an interesting outcome. Wrapping the release is Wagon Swing, falls back to a more traditional blues style track with a solid bass drone and slide melody. This release shows a perfect balance of traditional and contemporary acoustic and slide blues influenced music. Very nice. 


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Friday, February 5, 2021

The Last Music Company artist: Jimmie Vaughan - The Pleasure's All Mine - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Pleasure's All Mine, from Jimmie Vaughn and it's a super blues cd. Opening disc one with title track, The Pleasure's All Mine, Jimmie Vaughan lays right in the slot with this low slung blues track. His guitar work is stylistic and tasty, his vocals are solid and fat sax by Kas Kasenoff work really caps it nicely with George Rains on drums, Ronnie James on bass, Billy Pitman on rhythm guitar and Greg Picollo on tenor sax. Terrific instrumental, Comin' & Goin' really hits the spot with tight drums rhythms by Rains and a melodic guitar lead. Excellent! Up beat shuffle, How Can You Be So Mean, will get you bopping in your seat. Vaughan has one of those voices that works really nicely with swing beat music and his guitar style has just the right sting. Really nice. Cool boogie track, Roll, Roll, Roll has a strong bottom and Vaughan's vocal paired with his loose, but slick style makes for an unbeatable pair. Another great jump track, (She's Got the) Blues For Sale, pairs the hot sax work of Picollo and Kasenoff with carefree vocals and really tasty guitar work by Vaughan.

Opening disc 2 with two stepper, I Ain't Never, Vaughan sets a simple guitar palate but teamed with his smooth vocals and Doug James on sax makes for a great opener.  Slower blues, Teardrop Blues, gives Vaughan a super opportunity to dig in on guitar and he takes the opportunity to work it nicely. Paired with a sax underwork by Picollo and James, this is a really nice track. R&B track, What Makes You So Tough really works nicely into Vaughn's repertoire with more emphasis on vocal but still turning to some stinging riffs to accent the way.  Jazzy instrumental, Greenbacks, is a really nice departure from the blues with a great swing and fluid guitar runs. Super bari sax soloing by Doug James and a tight bottom by Rains makes this one of my favorites on the release. Cried Like A Baby has particularly soulful vocals by Vaughn and excellent guitar punctuation which really is Vaughn's trademark. Very cool! Wrapping the set is Shake A Hand, featuring Lou Ann Barton on lead vocal over solid horn backing by James and Picollo and a final fat sax solo by James makes this a strong closer to a great set. 


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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Laura Green - Green Eyed Blues - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Green Eyed Blues, from Laura Green and it's a cool mix of rock, blues, country and soul. Opening with country flavored, Bone To Pick, Laura Green is up front on lead vocals, backed by Art Dwyer on bass, Aaron Griffin on slide, Rob Lee on drums and Bob Lohr on piano. Her paired vocal with Rich McDonough who also plays guitar makes this a solid opener. Green really shines on It Ain't Easy, a shuffle track with a gospel structure. With backing vocals by Renee Smith, Chris Shepherd, Ron Roskowske, Michelle Isam and Ellen Kinkle make this one of my favorites on the release. Folk blues, Mama Don't Cry is a real nice track with strong vocal lead by Green over acoustic guitar and mandolin by Charlie Pfeffer. Excellent! Joe Meyer adds a real nice tom tom rhythm to That's Right, a Bo Diddley like track and Griffin's guitar work really shines. Shuffle track, Cry, has a solid blues feel and Green's vocals shine nicely. Wrapping the release is slow shuffle, Don't Know Why, with Green working the melody over some real tasty guitar work. With Bill Murphy on keys and Meyer on drums, a cool closer for a cool release. 


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