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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 Rob Stone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rob Stone. Show all posts

Friday, May 14, 2021

Blue Heart Records artists: Rob Stone, Elena Kato & Hiroshi Eguchi - Trio In Tokyo - New release review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (May 21, 2021), Trio In Tokyo from Rob Stone, Elena Kato and Hiroshi Eguchi and it's a solid entry in Chicago blues. Opening with shuffle, No Money, Stone on vocal and harmonica leads the way with Elena Kato on piano and Hiroshi Eguchi on bass. This is a cool acoustic piece with tight rhythm work. With R&B bones, Come Back Baby really showcases the strength of katon on piano under the lead vocal work of Stone. Very nice. Big Jay McNeely's classic R&B track,  There Is Something On Your Mind, gets an even bluesier feel with harmonica and the solid piano work of Kato under the strong vocals on Stone. Jump track, Jack You You're Dead, made popular by Louis Jordan and later by Joe Jackson is punched up with the fleet finger work of Kato, strong the bass line of Eguchi and the punchy harmonica and vocal work of Stone. Blow Fish Blow! is a strong instrumental featuring the lead harmonica soloing by Stone. Hot track and my favorite on the release. Wrapping the release is a powerful rendition of Ledbelly's Goodnight Irene featuring Stone on lead vocal and Kato adding gospel like piano support. Solid closer for a solid release. 

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Friday, September 11, 2015

VizzTone Label Group artists: Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Trouble Don't Last - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Trouble Don't Last, from Chris James and Patrick Rynn and it's a fresh look at Chicago style blues with a stripped down approach. Opening with Shameless, James leads off on guitar and lead vocal, Rynn on bass, Rob Stone on harp and June Core on drums. With it's quick steady pace, Stone and James each take real nice solos making this a great opener. Next up is Calvin Frazier's classic, Lilly Mae. James' vocals on this track are super and Aki Kumar shows why he is so requested as a guest harp player. Rynn drives this track on bass as Kumar and James solo. Excellent! Freddie King track, Lonesome Whistle Blues, (written by Toombs, Teat, Moore) is in full swing with Kumar and Stone trading riffs with James on vocal and guitar. Walking bass by Rynn and tight drumming by Core makes this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Digging down in the groove, Going Down To The Ocean, is another real smart track. James has both the vocal and guitar skills to carry off this type of stripped down feel and with only Rynn on bass and Core on drums, takes total command of the track. Complimented nicely by Kumar's excellent harp work, this track really grinds. Title track, Trouble Don't Last has a lighter, contemporary Piedmont style with Kumar adding to it's fresh feel. This track has that train feel without being driven by the harp but with a trace giving it a new approach and James' vocals being are manly but not heavy as associated with most more classic blues tracks. Very nice! An old Robert C Smith track, Don't Drive Me Away maintains a good track of it's Mississippi root without sounding like a cover. The stripped down nature of the band helps considerably in it's success as does James' particular guitar and vocal styling on this track. Uptempo blues track, Steady Goin' On, is a great harp rumble featuring Stone and Kumar. Solid foundation set by Core and Rynn gives James a great platform to throw down some of his best guitar work on the release, balancing the super harp duo. Excellent! One of the most compelling tracks on the release, A Good Idea At The Time, is strongly lyrical with rudimentary instrumentation. Stone adorns this simple track with pearls of harp and James dazzles the strings but it's the imagery that carries this track. Chicago track, Hard To Keep A Dollar, is a great story telling track with a bit of humor. Kumar has the harp on this track, getting great tone and James, Rynn and Core are musically tight. Wrapping the release is Sunnyland Slim's Roll, Tumble and Slip. With a Latin beat courtesy of Rynn and Core, the track has a cool uneven groove against the basic blues dynamics. Stone and Kumar both riff out on harp and Rynn really steps up on bass. This is a great closer for a fresh new Chicago sound release!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rob Stone - Gotta Keep Rollin' - available now


gotta keep rollin'

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Deeply Rooted Original Chicago Blues - Today


VizzTone proudly welcomes Rob Stone to the Family!

Deeply rooted in traditional Chicago blues, yet delivering high-energy house-rocking performances with a thoroughly contemporary impact, Rob Stone is one of the busiest young bandleaders on the blues scene today, with blasting harmonica and cool, streetwise vocals.

Stone started his career in Boston and Colorado, before moving to Chicago in 1993 to join the band of legendary blues drummer Sam Lay.  Touring internationally with Lay’s band for four years introduced Stone to blues fans worldwide. Rob and Sam continued to perform and record together over the years. “I have worked with many harmonica players, and he turned out to be the best. That cat is a monster harmonica player and musician!” said Sam (high praise from the drummer for Paul Butterfield’s vaunted mid-‘60s band, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter.)

Gotta Keep Rollin’, Stone’s fourth album as Bandleader and first with the VizzTone label group, features longtime band mates guitarist Chris James, bassist Patrick Rynn, and drummer Willie “The Touch” Hayes, as well as some highly acclaimed Chicago Blues masters: sax blaster and recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Shaw, guitarist John Primer, piano player David Maxwell, and a special appearance by former Howlin’ Wolf piano man Henry Gray.

Rob’s previous albums have been well received by fans and critics.  His 2010 Earwig CD, Back Around Here, soared high on the blues charts for months and was named by Living Blues magazine as one of the year’s top CDs.  It was preceded by 1998’s No Worries and 2003’s Just My Luck, which was nominated for a Chicago Music Award in the Best Blues Album category. Stone was also featured prominently in the Martin Scorsese-produced “Godfathers and Sons” episode of The Blues series that aired on PBS stations nationwide in 2003. Rob has opened for headliners as varied as B.B. King, Sheryl Crow, Robert Cray, James Cotton, Los Lobos and the late Etta James, and performed and/or recorded with a dazzling array of blues giants. Stone has done his mentors proud, tirelessly leading his crew across the U.S. and around the world. Rob frequently tours Japan, where he’s built quite a devoted following, and he has also barnstormed Europe.

But no matter who he stands beside on the bandstand, Stone’s hard-hitting, honest, highly danceable blues never fails to delight everyone from aficionados to neophytes. He remains strongly committed to blues tradition, but Rob is clearly his own man, a vibrant singer and instrumentalist boasting his own very distinctive sound and a repertoire loaded with terrific original songs. From start to finish, Gotta Keep Rollin’ dishes up hard-driving electric ensemble blues that’s a nod to the genre’s glory days as well as a contemporary breath of fresh air— genuine blues unsurpassed in energy, feeling, and authenticity.


"Few harmonica players and singers uphold Chigago's blues ensemble
tradition as irresistibly and innovatively as Rob Stone"
— Chicago Tribune

"Rob Stone respects vintage Chicago Blues deeply enough
to blow the dust right off it."
— Bill Dahl, Chicago Reader

"Rob Stone brings a hard-hitting fresh energy to the Chicago Blues sound."
— House of Blues

"Rob Stone hits the deep in-the-pocket groove... he's got swing, he's got the
de rigueur smoky voice, he's got a playful, good-time touch and
a fine feel for what moves his audience."
— Chicago Sun Times

"Stone and pals tear the roof off the sucker taking to the bandstand
with just the right amount of off kilter that comes from the right
amount of giggle juice.  Blues with a feeling geared to the energy
of the party at hand... wonderfully killer stuff that has all the heart
and soul real, mainstream electric blues requires. Well done."
— Chris Spector, Midwest Record

"Yep, those blues “Gotta Keep Rollin,” and we’ve gotta have guys
such as Rob Stone to keep bringing ‘em to us.  He’s got  the
whole package–a tremendous vocalist and harp man, with a keen ear for insightful, clever lyrics.…
— Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society



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Monday, September 8, 2014

Vizztone Label Group artist: Rob Stone - gotta keep rollin' - New release review

I just received the newest release (September 9, 2014), gotta keep rollin', from Rob Stone and it smells of sweet Chicago. Opening with a strong Chicago style blues, Wait Baby, Stone is out front singing and blowing his harp backed by Chris James on guitar. Cool harp work and solid guitar riffs over a solid beat provided by Patrick Rynn (bass) and and Willie Hayes (drums)provides for a great opener. John Lee Willamson's easy stepping Wonderful Time features nice piano work from David Maxwell and a different slice of Stones super vocal work. His harp work complimented by James on guitar makes for an happy go lucky track. Another Chicago style shuffle track, Lucky 13 gives Stone a wide road to play his harp and he takes every inch of it. Cool vocal phrasing, a tight guitar solo from John Primer and a cool melody makes for one of the most memorable tracks on the release. Anything Can Happen features Eddie Shaw on sax and he tears up the solo opportunity as you would absolutely expect. Very cool! Jazz Gillum's, She Belongs To Me, has a subtle easy pace lead by Frank Rossi on brushes giving Stone an easy cloud to sing and especially harp over. Billy Emerson's Move Baby Move, has a great swing and a ringing guitar solo rhythm throughout. James steps out nicely on guitar on this track but leaves room for the super Eddie Shaw to wind it up and blow it out. Very nice! Strollin' With Sasquatch is a very cool instrumental featuring Stone on harp, Ariyo on piano, Maxwell on piano, James on guitar, Rynn on bass and Hayes on drums. Smooth! Wired and Tired has that Muddy Waters jump feel. Featuring Henry Gray on a signature piano solo and Eddie Kobek on drums this track moves. Stone lays out some great harp riffs and James is ever ready on guitar. Super! Willie McTell's Cold Winter Day is a real down and dirty blues track featuring some of my favorite harp work on the release. Maxwell rolling in some really nice piano work and with hot guitar riffs from Primer not only in solo form but also under the melody this is another of my favorites on the release. Excellent! Cornelius Green's It's Easy When You Know How has a certain R&B feel featuring Maxwell on piano under the vocal and harp work of Stone. Having more of a pop feel, this track should have broad appeal. Blues Keep Rollin' On features cool vocal harmonies with Clarke Rigsby and a really infectious melody/rhythm. Not No More' is a great final track for this release with a driving drum rhythm from Hayes, tidy guitar riffs and solo work from James, super piano work from Maxwell, clever lead vocals from Stone, accentuating backing vocals by Mike Mahany and an overall good feeling. Very cool!

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 This track not on this release but a good example of Stone's work:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Stone Has "Gotta Keep Rollin'" - Chicago Blues Singer/Harmonica Master Rob Stone Delivers High-Energy Mojo on His New CD for VizzTone Label Group, Due September 9

This Stone Has Gotta Keep Rollin’ – Chicago Blues Singer/Harmonica Master Rob Stone Delivers High-Energy Mojo on His New CD for VizzTone Label Group, Due September 9

Special Guests on Stone’s First Album for VizzTone Include Blues Hall of Famer Eddie Shaw, John Primer, David Maxwell and Henry Gray

NEWTON, MA – The VizzTone Label Group announces a September 9 release date for Gotta Keep Rollin’, the new CD from Chicago blues singer/harmonica master Rob Stone, distributed nationally by Redeye Distribution. Joining Rob Stone and his battle-hardened group of band mates Chris James (guitar), Patrick Rynn (bass) and Willie “The Touch” Hayes (drums), are several special guests, including newly-inducted Blues Hall of Famer Eddie Shaw (sax), guitarist John Primer, Blues Music Award-winning piano player David Maxwell and Henry Gray, former piano man for the legendary Howlin’ Wolf.

From the first notes of the lead-off track, a rousing take on Johnny Jones’ “Wait Baby,” through the album’s closer, “Not No Mo,” (a swingin’ entreaty to a lady friend), it’s obvious that Rob Stone’s music, while steeped in the finest traditions of Chicago blues, is not here gathering dust. It’s exciting, vibrant music for the 21st century with more grooves and high-energy than the law should allow.

Over the course of an dozen high-energy tracks that feature six originals, plus blistering covers of the aforementioned Johnny Jones, John Lee Williamson, (“Wonderful Time”), Jazz Gillum (“She Belongs to Me”), Billy “The Kid” Emerson (“Move Baby Move”), Willie McTell (“Cold Winter Day”) and Cornelius Green (“It’s Easy When You Know How”), Rob Stone and Co. take the listener on a tour of the sounds heard in Chicago-land’s finest blues clubs.  

Gotta Keep Rollin’ is Stone’s fourth album as bandleader and first for VizzTone. His previous CD, Back Around Here (Earwig – 2010) scored big on the blues radio charts and was also named by Living Blues magazine as one of that year’s top release. Prior releases also include No Worries (1998) and Just My Luck (2003), which was nominated for a Chicago Music Award in the “Best Blues Album” category. Rob was also prominently featured in the Martin Scorsese-produced “Godfathers and Sons” episode of the critically-acclaimed blues series that aired on PBS stations nationally in 2003.

Now based in Los Angeles, Rob Stone cut his musical teeth in the gritty clubs of Chicago’s north, south and west sides, learning from the masters. He got his start at age 18, when he slipped into a blues joint in his native Boston to check out harp great Charlie Musselwhite and was instantly transfixed. He bought his first harp the next day and began listening to recordings of Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, James Cotton and the two Sonny Boys.  Before long, Rob was learning the finer points of the instrument from ex-Muddy Waters mouth organ maestro Jerry Portnoy and playing regularly with Rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef. Relocating to Colorado in 1990, he got his feet wet playing with biker bands on the smoky bandstands around Colorado Springs. Then in ‘93, legendary drummer Sam Lay invited the young harpist to sit in with his combo, leading to a job offer and a move to Chicago the next year. Touring internationally with Sam Lay for four years introduced Stone to blues fans worldwide. Despite leaving Sam’s band in 1998 to form the first incarnation of his current band, the C-Notes (with Chris James and Patrick Rynn), Rob and Sam continued to perform together over the years, and Sam has appeared on several of Rob’s albums. “I have worked with many harmonica players, and he turned out to be the best,” says Sam (quite an endorsement, considering Lay was a member of Paul Butterfield’s vaunted mid-‘60s band and also kept impeccable time for Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter). “That cat is a monster harmonica player and musician!”

Besides headlining his own club tours, Stone has opened major shows for a wide-range of stars, including B.B. King, Sheryl Crow, Robert Cray, Los Lobos, James Cotton and Etta James. He’s also gaining a wide reputation as an emerging talent throughout Europe with consistent overseas touring, as well as in Japan, where he’s built an impressive following of fans.

Rob Stone’s hard-hitting, honest and highly-danceable blues never fails to delight crowds at his shows. Firmly committed to spreading the blues gospel, Stone is nevertheless his own man, carving out a niche for himself with exceptional singing and harp work, plus a knack for writing terrific original blues songs.

Rob Stone and his band will support the release of Gotta Keep Rollin’ with non-stop touring both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Earwig Music artists: Chris James and Patrick Rynn - Barrellhouse Stomp - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Barrelhouse Stomp, from Chris James and Patrick Rynn and it's a roller! Opening with contemporary Chicago style blues track, Goodbye, Later For You, in traditional fashion, Rynn and James open the release featuring super harp support from Rob Stone and piano work from Aaron Moore. James is always solid on vocals and he lays down nicely phrased riffs on guitar. Just Another Kick In The Teeth has a funky swing to it featuring Eddie Shaw on sax (as well as Jonny Viau, Norbert W Johnson) and Jody Williams on guitar. Viau opens I Feel So Good with a honkin good sax solo and James does a nice job of delivering on this classic blues track with contributions from Willie Big Eyes Smith (drums) and Aarom Moore on piano. Messin' With White Lightning has a spankin quick pace and Jody and James are on it with guitar riffs. Hot piano riffs from David Maxwell highlight this track and Willie Hayes is tight on drums. On slower paced swing track, Before It's Too Late, James digs in with vocal acuity and Moore really shines on keys.  A Fact Is A Fact, a quick paced Chicago style blues features Viau and Johnson on sax and Eddie Kobek on drums. James' vicious slide work and Rynn's steady bass work really make this work. One of my favorite tracks on the release, It Always Can Be Worse, James plays really nice harp along with his vocals and guitar, backed nicely by Hayes, Maxwell and Rynn. I'm Gonna Stop Foolin' Myself has a real R&B feel to it with Johnson and Viau back on mighty sax and Williams lays down some fine riffs on guitar. On classic Vicksburg Blues, Stone is back on harp and Williams on guitar but it's James on vocal and Maxwell on keys that really take this track for a ride. Bobby's Rock is in the tradition of Freddy King with really super fluid slide work from James and fine sax work from Kobek, Viau and Johnson. Take It Easy is a jammin boogie with Maxwell leading the way on keys. This is another track that really highlights James' vocals. Last Call Boogie is a really cool track using the Latin beat under the blues. Full blast sax work, Kobek really smokin the drums, Gray really hammering the keys and nice double stop guitar work from James makes this a terrific wrap to a solid release.  

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Friday, July 1, 2011

My Babe - Chris James - Patrick Rynn - Rob Stone

Stone got started early on his harmonica-blowing odyssey. At age 18, he slipped into a blues joint in his native Boston to check out harp legend Charlie Musselwhite and was instantly transfixed. He bought his first harp the very next day. Before long, Rob was playing with rockabilly legend Sleepy LaBeef and learning the finer points of his instrument from ex-Muddy Waters harp man Jerry Portnoy. Relocating to Colorado in 1990, he got his feet wet on bandstands around Colorado Springs. Then in ‘93, Sam Lay rolled into town. He invited the young harpist to sit in, and he must have liked what he heard: Lay hired him the next year. James and Rynn were the bedrock of Sam’s band, and the three forged an unshakable bond touring top blues clubs and festivals internationally. “We had a lot of shared experience that made us connect like brothers,” says Rob.

Stone left Lay’s combo in 1998 and formed his own band, the C-Notes. They made their self-produced debut CD, No Worries, that year, earning considerable critical acclaim. Then in 2003, Rob and the C-Notes hooked up with Earwig to release Just My Luck, the disc benefitting from Earwig’s international reach to spread the good news far and wide that Chicago has itself a fine young harpist who enthusiastically embraces the ‘50s blues tradition without copying it slavishly.