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Showing posts with label Rory Block. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rory Block. Show all posts

Friday, May 8, 2020

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - Prove It On Me - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Prove It On Me, by Rory Block and it's pretty tasty. Opening with Helen Humes' He May Be Your Man, Rory Block uses her laid back bluesy style with some of her best vocals in years, matched by her always concise guitar riffs. Excellent opener. Stuff Smith's If You're a Viper is a great tune, paying tribute to Rosetta Howard. Block's vocals are altered into a cool, more vintage feel and with light percussion and great slide, all played by Block. Very nice. Ma Rainey's Prove It On Me is the title track and shines brightly with full, thick vocals and sweet slide work. Blocks really hits her stride on this release, with a clean contemporary recording of excellent old classics. Memphis Minnie's In My Girlish Days is among my favorites on the release with rich vocal styling and Block's well known slide techniques, backed by her own angelic harmonies. Merline Johnson's Milk Man Blues (Yas Yas Girl) is my favorite track on the release with it's perfect poised pace, Block's extra work on vocal delivery which is extremely convincing for the time period and always excellent slide work. Wrapping the release is Elvie Thomas' Motherless Child, a strong closer with deep vocal character and clean slide soloing. This is a strong acoustic release. Check it out!  

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - A Woman's Soul - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, A Woman's Soul, A tribute to Bessie Smith, from Rory Block and it's solid. Opening with sassy, Do Your Duty, Rory Block shows she's up to the challenge with strong vocals, percussion and cool slide work. Cool opener. Kitchen Man has stylistic vocals and sparse but tight guitar riffs keeping the track sounding authentic. Give Me A Pigfoot and A Bottle Of Beer is one of my favorite tracks on the release with Block really digging in vocally and fuller slide work giving the track a more complex sound overall. I'm Down In The Dumps has a great story telling quality with a moderate guitar accompaniment and nicely articulated slide work. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Empty Bed Blues, a typically suggestive song with steady pace and dynamics. Block really enjoys this performance and it shows as it fades off. Nicely done.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

MP Media Congratulates Its Artists for Garnering 8 Blues Blast Music Award Nominations

Mark Pucci Media is happy to announce that our artists have received 8 nominations for the upcoming Blues Blast Music Awards! Here’s the entire list of our nominees & we’d appreciate your consideration in voting for these well-deserved artists. Information on how & when to vote is listed at the end.

2015 Blues Blast Music Award Nominations

Traditional Blues Album
·         Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson - For Pops (A Tribute to Muddy Waters)
Soul Blues Album
·         Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls - Soul Brothers
·         Tad Robinson - Day Into Night
Rock Blues Album
·         Tinsley Ellis - Tough Love
Acoustic Blues Album
·         Big Dave Mclean - Faded But Not Gone
·         Rory Block - Hard Luck Child
Live Blues Recording
·         John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Live in 1967
Historical Or Vintage Recording
·         John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - Live in 1967
Voting Is Open To The Public - Fan voting begins July 15, 2015 and continues until September 15, 2015 on our website at Voting is free and open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. You do not have to be a current subscriber to vote! You are automatically signed up as part of the voting process on our website if you are not currently a subscriber. Blues Blast Magazine subscriptions are FREE and you may unsubscribe at anytime!

2015 Blues Blast Music Awards Ceremonies - The 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will be held at The Fluid Events Center in Champaign, Illinois on Friday, September 25th, 2015. The awards ceremony will feature music by the artists nominated. Tickets for the event will go

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - Hard Luck Child - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (October 21, 2014), Hard Luck Child, from Rory Block and I think that it's the best yet of her "Mentor Series" releases. This album, a tribute to the incredible Skip James, opens with the only original Block track, Nehemiah James, which is a interpretive story of James life with slick slide work. Special Rider Blues is up next and Block not only shows her mastery of side, but also hits the vocals quite nicely. Cypress Grove Blues is so much James at his best, Block translates it nicely and her finger picking and slide work is fine. If You Haven't Had Any Hay, Get On Down The Road is a country blues style track with Block giving it a bit of a contemporary feel vocally over traditional picking styling. Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues is another song in a somewhat Piedmont style but with a more contemporary feel. Block overdubbing herself with picking and slide in quite nice. My absolute favorite track on the release, and also one of my favorite all time blues tracks by anyone, Devil Got My Woman, is up next and Block really captures the heart of James on this track with tight guitar and vocal work. Excellent! Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader is of course done in spiritual style with Block singing chorus behind her own lead vocals. Not only is this very effective but the slide work on this track is particularly cool. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues is a solemn track done in all seriousness. Block does a nice job of delivering the pain in the original track and as always is spot on with her guitar work. On the track, I'm So Glad, as made popular by Cream in the 60's, Block backs her vocals again keeps the guitar light and fluid with rich gospel like backing vocals. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Hard Time Child, another track that exemplifies James at his best. Block adorns this track with guitar very sparingly keeping in the spirit of James. Job well done.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Acclaimed Blues Artist Rory Block Salutes Skip James on Her New CD, "Hard Luck Child," Coming October 21 on Stony Plain Records

Acclaimed Blues Artist Rory Block Salutes Skip James on Her New CD, Hard Luck Child, Coming October 21 on Stony Plain Records

Latest Album Is the Fifth in Her “Mentor Series” Paying Tribute to Those Blues Masters Who’ve Influenced Her Music

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces an October 21 release date for Hard Luck Child: a Tribute to Skip James, the fifth in acclaimed acoustic blues artist Rory Block’s “Mentor Series” of recordings saluting those blues masters who’ve had a profound influence on her music. On her latest album, the multi-Blues Music Award winner pays tribute to Skip James, one of the most important country blues artists in history, whose songs have been recorded by a host of contemporary musicians over the years including Cream, who covered perhaps his most famous song, “I’m So Glad,” on their debut album in 1966.

The 10 tracks on Hard Luck Child include nine original Skip James songs and the Rory Block original composition that opens the album, “Nehemiah James,” which is her telling of James’ story and his impact on others. Throughout, the lines between gospel and blues are crossed, blurred and intertwined, showing the derivation of the original country blues sound of James and the others Block has previously saluted in her earlier albums: Mississippi John Hurt (Avalon), Rev. Gary Davis (I Belong to the Band), Mississippi Fred McDowell (Shake ‘em on Down) and Son House (Blues Walkin’ Like a Man).

“This is the fifth recording in my Mentor Series—musical tributes that celebrate the rediscovered blues masters I met in person as a teenager,” Rory Block writes in the album’s incisive liner notes. “These five great artists to whom these recordings are dedicated are the blues masters with whom I spent the most meaningful time, and they have, as a result, affected me the most deeply. There were others, such as Bukka White, who I sat next to, but really never interacted with on a personal levelthus these five are the true core of this series.”

In Rory Block’s remarkably talented fingers, she caresses and alternately attacks the strings in a slide guitar virtuoso performance that brings the soul and meaning of Skip James’ songs to life, as if heard for the very first time over the many decades since they were first written and performed by the man, himself.

“Skip James is often referred to as a man of mystery,” she writes of her experience meeting him. “Some people have described him as melancholy, even unfriendly. But in my 15 year-old eyes he was deep, soulful, and beautiful. I did not question his serious demeanor. After all, I was aware of the history, the horrors and evil treatment he had endured. I did not expect him or any other rediscovered blues player to be anything but serious. Skip James also had cancer when I met him, and very few people are cheerful in a hospital.

“To me, his music, with its intensity and haunting quality, was central to the incredibly powerful style we called Country Blues. After all, blues was often about sorrow, hard times, and heartache. But it was also about joy, survival, and even success in some cases. Skip James was the quintessential blues player; he had it all: style, power, grace, depththe ability to change your life and your way of experiencing the world with a single song. This was the inspiration and the example set by the mastersthe gauntlet that was thrown down. I had to follow the sound and the passion. While the rest of the world was busy with modern things, I wandered down the dusty path towards the past in bare feet. I didn’t have a choice. This is what called to me.”

The liner notes for Hard Luck Child also include an excerpt from Rory’s autobiography, When a Woman Gets the Blues, about her encounter with James in that hospital room, where she was accompanied by her fellow blues traveler, noted guitarist Stefan Grossman.

Produced by Rory Block and Rob Davis, the new album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Rob Davis in the Aurora Productions mobile studios in Kentucky and Upstate New York. Throughout, Rory plays her signature model Martin Guitars and a 14 mm deep well socket for a slide. Well-known for her love of animals, Rory’s critters even make guest appearances creating background noises on some of the tracks, and a faint phone rings from time, adding further authenticity to the proceedings.

Rory Block will support the release of Hard Luck Child with consistent touring and is booked by Folklore International Artists ( For more information, visit and

Hard Luck Child- A Tribute to Skip James – Track Listing

1. Nehemiah James
2. Special Rider Blues
3. Cypress Grove Blues
4. If You Haven’t Any Hay, Get On Down the Road
5. Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues
6. Devil Got My Woman
7. Jesus Is a Mighty Good Leader
8. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
9. I’m So Glad
10. Hard Luck Child

Rory Block Tour Itinerary

9/27                       Valatie Theater                                                                 Valatie, NY
10/3                       Historic Blairstown Theater                                                          Blairstown, NJ
10/4                       Godfrey Daniels                                                                               Bethlehem, PA
10/5                       Jammin’ Java                                                                                     Vienna, VA

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - Avalon - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (June 4, 2013), Avalon, from Rory Block and it's quite different! This is the 4th CD in Blocks noted "Mentor" series of releases in tribute to blues masters. (Earlier releases included Gary Davis tribute I Belong To The Band, Fred McDowell tribute Shake'em on Down and Son House tribute Blues Walkin' Like A Man). Opening with Everybody Loves John, Block shows her solid finger work and slide playing. This  track works particularly well as arranged by Block capturing Hurts unique style. Next up is Avalon, a cool track which has a smooth silky sound. One of the all time favorites, Candy Man, is next and with it's quick pace. Block nicely articulates the finger work and curious talk during the guitar work. Nice touch. Frankie & Albert has an even more intricate pattern and slide work. Really nice! Got the Blues Can't Be Satisfied has a lazy pace and allows space for very clean picking and guitar ring. It's nice that a selection of styles of Hurt's playing has been featured. It really gives the listener an opportunity to study not only Hurt but Block's unique style. Louis Collins features fat, freight train like sliding and bouncing finger picking. Very nice! Richland Woman Blues is the best use of Block's voice on any of the tracks with a light touch and style. Guitar work is very clean and precise. Spike Driver Blues again has strong thumb work and sparing use of Block's voice more as an instrument. Very nice. Stagolee has a super intro really highlighting Blocks mastery of the instrument. Everyone knows that she's an exceptional player and this track is a good feature of that talent in picking and sliding. Rag track Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor is another of my favorites on the release. Block sings in an understated fashion and her playing is clean and precise. Pay Day is a particularly unique track with blended harmonic voices. This is my favorite of the 4 releases and I'm sure that Block will be rewarded for her faithful efforts.

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Although not in the style of John Hurt, Block in a recent performance.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Acclaimed Blues Artist Rory Block Salutes Mississippi John Hurt on Her New CD, "Avalon," Coming June 4 on Stony Plain Records

Acclaimed Blues Artist Rory Block Salutes Mississippi John Hurt on Her New CD, Avalon,
Coming June 4 on Stony Plain Records

Latest Album Is the Fourth in Her “Mentor Series” Paying Tribute to Those Blues Masters Who’ve Influenced Her Music

EDMONTON, AB – Multi-award-winning blues singer/guitarist Rory Block will release the fourth CD in her “Mentor Series” on June 4 with Avalon on Stony Plain Records, a tribute to blues master Mississippi John Hurt. Previous Rory Block salutes have been to Rev. Gary Davis (I Belong to the Band), Mississippi Fred McDowell (Shake ‘em on Down) and Son House (Blues Walkin’ Like a Man).

Like the others before it, on Avalon Rory Block pays a loving reverence to another of the blues greats whose influences have made a major impact on her career path and music. Ten of the 11 tracks on the new CD are songs associated with Hurt’s repertoire; while the lone original tune - which leads off the album - “Everybody Loves John,” is Rory’s personal love letter to the iconic bluesman, name-checking a litany of songs that were a major part of his blues canon.

“Mississippi John Hurt was a truly unique artist,” says Block, the most celebrated living female acoustic blues artist. “He left a resounding impact on our musical landscape. We think of him as outwardly mellow, sweet, and as one writer described it, singing in a ‘whisper.’ But have you pondered the words? Alongside gospel material, this gentle man sang about sex, murder, mystery, violence and steamy sensuality. It gets ever deeper the more you listen.

“Most people finger pick simply, carefully, and with enough volume to be heard and enjoyed. But next to the masters we can find ourselves tinkling away while the train pulls out of the station. Mississippi John Hurt bounced rhythmically from side to side while he was playing – did this bounce add power and jauntiness to the notes, or did his extra strong attack on the strings create the bounce? We can never do polite versions of these songs if we want to capture some of the power that made the originals great and enduring.”

Many of Hurt’s best known and beloved songs are on Avalon, including “Candy Man,” “Frankie & Albert,” “Got the Blues Can’t be Satisfied,” “Richland Woman Blues,” “Spike Driver Blues,” “Stagolee,” “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor,” “Pay Day” and the title track, plus other tunes that demonstrate how diverse and significant his contributions were to blues history.

“Many worthy artists have covered these songs, but when you examine the source, you understand more fully the level of greatness that was in the original versions – greatness that is also almost impossible to define,” Block states. “But let me try by saying that true character, charisma, drive, and soulfulness are some of the essential ingredients. So how will we manage? With devotion, respect, reverence, and with energy – with extra ‘oomph’ – lest we be weak.”

And Rory Block is anything but weak on these tracks, imbuing every ounce of her musical and spiritual strength into each song, muscling inside the core source of every track and working her way out through each verse and chorus as they take their own twists and turns to get to their final denouement.  

Rory Block’s connection to Mississippi John Hurt goes back five decades. "In December of 1963, I met Mississippi John Hurt at a concert in New York which also featured the great Old Timey musician Doc Boggs,” she recalled in her autobiography, When a Woman Gets the Blues. “We went backstage as we always did. Stefan Grossman was part of the accepted insiders group and we never needed special passes. Hurt's presence was shy and gentle. His face was beautifully weather beaten; he wore a signature hat, and always had a mellow smile. I loved the way he rocked around when he played... it was a bounce that started slow and built up to a strong pace that carried the music. He had his own way of doing this – I never saw anyone else with this exact style of moving and playing. At times when I am performing I feel this energy come over me: the Mississippi John Hurt bounce energy.”

“I think it interesting to note that Mississippi John Hurt covered many Appalachian country songs,” adds Block. “This just underscores the exchange of musical styles that was going on in the early 1900s which few people understood. Mississippi John Hurt knew musicians who played Appalachian music (Doc Boggs for example), and many of the Old Timey players knew the blues pickers. At the age of 14, sitting on the porch of an old wood frame house in North Carolina, I heard Clarence Ashley say, ‘I learned this one from an old blues player’ and I heard Mississippi John Hurt talk about the country fiddle players he knew. What we have in the end is a true melting pot which included music from Africa, the British Isles, Flamenco (Hurt referred to open G tuning as ‘Spanish’), folk, jazz, popular contemporary music of the day, and probably even Classical music, to name some of the sources.”

Avalon was produced by Rory Block and Rob Davis and recorded/mixed/mastered by Davis at Aurora Productions mobile studios. All of the guitars and vocals on the CD are by Rory Block, who plays her OM40 Signature Model Martin guitars, uses Martin SP3200 medium gauge strings, a Shubb capo, and an SK 14mm deep well socket to great effect.

“One of the things I have endeavoured to capture in this tribute series is a return to a more earthy, natural approach,” Block summarizes. “We don't love the old recordings because they are crackle-free, or fancy, or have clever formats. No, some of the songs are one chord throughout. Some have the same simple refrain which repeats again and again after each verse – no solos, just the driving beat and original theme. And almost never fancy endings. I call these abrupt events the ‘Get outa' town’ endings – just plunk, and wham, or the sound of someone getting up and leaving the room before the song is over. This is part of what I love. So instead of sweeping the tracks clean of all noise, sanitizing, bleaching, disinfecting and straining the music, Rob and I feel compelled to let it be real. Every recording is a field recording in my view. The first take is always the best. So, in this effort I remember John Hurt, celebrate his music and times and rejoice at having had the chance to meet him. Nothing will ever be the same as a result, and my life has been made far richer by the experience.”

For more information, visit and

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crossroad Blues - Rory Block

Aurora "Rory" Block (born November 6, 1949, Princeton, New Jersey, United States) is an American female blues guitarist and singer, a notable exponent of the country blues style. Aurora Block was born in Princeton and grew up in Manhattan. Her father, Allan Block, ran a sandal shop in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, and the influence of the Greenwich Village folk music scene, such as Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, and John Sebastian, tempted Block to study classical guitar. At the age of 14, she met guitarist Stefan Grossman, who introduced her to the music of Mississippi Delta blues guitarists. Block began listening to old albums, transcribing them, and learning to play the songs. At age 15, she left home to seek out the remaining blues giants, such as Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Son House, and hone her craft in the traditional manner of blues musicians; then she traveled to Berkeley, California where she played in clubs and coffeehouses. After retiring temporarily to raise a family, Block returned to the music industry in the 1970s with middling success until signing with Rounder Records in 1981, who encouraged her to return to her love for the classical blues form. Since then she has carved out her own niche, releasing numerous critically acclaimed albums of original and traditional songs, including many Robert Johnson covers, such as "Terraplane Blues" and "Come on in My Kitchen". Block has won five W. C. Handy Awards, two for "Traditional Blues Female Artist" (1997, 1998) and three for "Acoustic Blues Album of the Year" (1996, 1999, 2007). She also won NAIRD awards for "Best Adult Contemporary Album of the Year" in 1994 for Angel of Mercy and again in 1997 for Tornado. Angel of Mercy, Turning Point, and Tornado were filled with her self penned efforts. However, Mama's Blues, Ain't I A Woman and When A Woman Gets The Blues, featured songs written by Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Lottie Beaman, and Mattie Delaney. Block continued to tour, although not as heavily as earlier, and she was often accompanied by her son Jordan Block, who also played on her albums. She remained busy in the early part of the 2000s, releasing six albums, including a live recording. 2005's From the Dust drew decent critical reviews, as did 2006's The Lady and Mr. Johnson. In 2010, Block released her autobiography in .pdf format and a limited print run titled When A Woman Gets The Blues. 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”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stony Plain artist: Maria Muldaur -First Came Memphis Minnie - New Release Review

I have just received a copy of Maria Muldaur's newest release, ... First Came Memphis Minnie (available October 9, 2012). Muldaur has elnisted a virtual who's who of blues royalty including Rory Blck, Ruthie Foster, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Koko Taylor, Del Rey, David Bromberg, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Roy Rogers, Steve James and Steve Freund. First up is Me And My Chauffeur Blues with Muldaur on vocals and Roy Rogers on guitar. This is a really nice cover and one of Minnie's gems. Bonnie Raitt and Freund do a great version of Ain't Nothin' In Ramblin'. On I'm Goin' Back Home, Muldair teams up with Alvin Youngblood Hart for a very classic sounding duet. (Certainly one of my favorites tracks on the release). I'm Sailin' featuring Muldaur on vocals with Del Rey and Steve James on guitars shows Muladur's voice at it's best. Rory Block takes the lead on When You Love Me both on vocals and guitars. Long As I Can See You Smile, again with Muldaur, Del Rey and James is a bit more uptempo and very solid. The deliberate guitar of Del Rey on work on Lookin' The World Over is a very cool accent to Muldaur who really gets Minnie's style. Another of my favorites on the recording is In My Girlish Days performed by Phoebe Snow and David Bromberg. This track is exceptional. Muldaur and AYH are back together again on She Put Me Outdoors. Though not as effective as their earlier track together, it is still quite a nice track with addition of mandolin by Dave Earl. One of my personal favorite tracks by Minnie, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut, is performed here by one of my favorite contemporary female vocalists, Ruthie Foster, accompanied here by Steve Freund. Beautiful. The intro on Tricks Ain't Walkin' has some really nice resonator work as well as mandolin by Earl. Muldaur puts here heart into the track and it really makes the track come to life. Again a sweet guitar intro by James and Del Ray on Crazy Cryin' Blues leads to some moaning by Muldaur on one of Minnie's more soulful tracks.Koko Taylor takes it home with Black Rat Swing. This of course is a great track and features Bob Margolin on slide. Taylor lets it all hang out hear for a great conclusion toa very cohesive tribute recording.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mark Pucci Media Artists Nominated for the 2012 Living Blues Awards

Mark Pucci Media



Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Johnny Rawls

Best Blues Album of 2011 (New Recordings) – Johnny Rawls, Memphis Still Got Soul

Blues Artist of the Year (Female) – Rory Block

Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Duke Robillard

Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards) –

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Best Blues DVD of 2011 – Guy Davis,

Guitar Artistry of Guy Davis: Teller of Tales

All ballots must be received by July 10, 2012. Vote for one choice only in each category. All ballots must have valid contact details. Only one ballot per person is allowed. To vote, follow this link and click on the VOTE button:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - I Belong To The Band - New Release Review

I have just received and had the opportunity to review the third in Rory Block's "Mentor" series of Blues Artists. This new CD, I Belong To The Band - A Tribute To Rev. Gary Davis follows earlier tributes to Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Block developed a personal relationship with Davis in the mid sixties when she accompanied Stefan Grossman to Davis' home for lessons. Block has learned the masters lessons well and is certainly an accomplished guitarist. This CD covers 11 of Davis' best loved songs and includes two of of my personal favorites in Sampson and Delilah and Death Don't Have No Mercy. Block does a particularly nice job on Lord, I Feel Just Like Goin' On not only with her own vocal and guitar work but with particularly cool backing vocals. Another stand out track is Lo, I Be With You Always. If you love the traditional fingerpicking style of blues and want a new take on one of the true masters, this is an interesting more contemporary look at Rev. Gary Davis' work.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rory Block Salutes Reverend Gary Davis on New Stony Plain CD, "I Belong to the Band," Coming May 29



EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces a May 29 release date for the new CD from multi-award-winning blues singer/guitarist Rory Block, I Belong to the Band: a Tribute to Reverend Gary Davis. The new CD is the third in what Rory calls her “mentor” series saluting blues masters she met in person and greatly influenced her as a musician. It follows the release of similar tributes to Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell, for which her CD, Shake ‘em on Down, earned Blues Music Award nominations in the Acoustic Artist and Acoustic Album categories for Rory at the upcoming event in Memphis on May 10.

“I cried during the recording of this CD,” Rory Block says in the album’s liner notes. “While listening to the music, memories of a precious time came swirling back like a wave of warm, fragrant air. I was overwhelmed with powerful emotions. This was a time when people like Reverend Gary Davis could be visited in person - at home - and one could take face-to-face lessons. It was nothing short of a magical time - of discovery, falling in love - and being swept away by the liberating beauty of early American blues and gospel in a well-worn easy chair in Reverend Gary Davis’s living room.”

Rory Block first met Reverend Gary Davis in 1964, when at the age of 14 she accompanied fellow country blues enthusiast and guitarist Stefan Grossman for a lesson at the icon’s home in the Bronx, New York. “Stefan supported me utterly in my quest to learn and play country blues at a time when no tablature, DVDs, or other resources existed, save the greatest one of all: sitting down with one of the masters as an apprentice,” Block says. “Stefan tackled the Reverend’s style of playing as much as any human being I know of, and as a teenager, I was witness to many of those incredible lessons.”

And Rory Block learned her lessons well. “Today, she is widely regarded as the top female interpreter and authority on traditional country blues worldwide,” according to The Blues Foundation. On I Belong to the Band: a Tribute to Reverend Gary Davis, she immerses herself and the listener in a beautiful swirl of gospel and blues that’s the next best thing to going to church. On the 11 compositions contained therein, she channels the spirit and the passion of her mentor in a collection that includes several of the legend’s best-known songs, such as “Samson & Delilah, “”Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and the title track, as well as other lesser known - but just as powerful and important – songs.

The liner notes for I Belong to the Band: a Tribute to Reverend Gary Davis also include an excerpt about Davis from Rory’s autobiography, When a Woman Gets the Blues, including this excerpt about one of her visits: “Holding court was the magnificent Reverend. With his Jumbo in hand, he danced across the strings with a smile so sly that his mocked irritation was like a ritual blessing. On the one hand were the jokes—the flood of wisecracks that always brought a chuckle or a belly laugh—then came the reprimands, and your fingers turned to jelly before the master. He growled, he cajoled, he sang with his throaty, raw voice: gospel tinged with blues, blues coated with gospel, till his wife entered the room, dish towel in hand, to remind him that he was not to digress into the devil’s music. This was Reverend Gary Davis’s house, this was everything that mattered, this was blues to me in 1964.”

The new CD was produced by Rory Block and Rob Davis and features her on all vocals and guitars, including her Signature Model OM40 Martin Guitar, as well as a D-28 Merle Travis Prototype Martin Guitar (supplied by Martin Guitars for this recording).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stony Plain Records celebrates 2012 Blues Music Awards' nominations

Vote Today for Stony Plain Records

Stony Plain Records celebrates 2012 Blues Music Awards' nominations

When The Blues Foundation announced the list of nominees for the 33rd AnnualBlues Music Awards on Tuesday, December 13, Stony Plain Record’s artists were well represented with 7 nominations. The Blues Music Awards are universally acknowledged as the highest honour for musicians and songwriters in Blues music. Winners will be announced on May 10 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis. Online voting is now open to Blues Foundation members at Individual and corporate memberships are available for those who would like to vote.
The nominations continue a year in which Stony Plain Records Records celebrated our 35th year as Canada's roots, rock, country, folk and blues label, with the release of a special 2CD + bonus DVD compilation, 35 Years of Stony Plain. Earlier this fall the label received 14 nominations in Canada's Maple Blues Awards, recognising the talents of MonkeyJunk, Harry Manx & Kevin Breit, Duke Robillard and Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne.
Stony Plain Records nominees for the 2012 Blues Music Awards:
Maria Muldaur
Steady Love

Maria Muldaur

Nominated for:
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
The Pilot:
"Muldaur has one foot in church and another in a Saturday night juke joint as she belts out hand-clapping church rousers, soul ballads and greasy swamp stompers. Over the years her voice has only gotten better, with her pipes now displaying a lusty, full-bodied resonance."
Blues In Britain Magazine:
""Soul & grit" emanates from Muldaur's voice... Muldaur and the band excel at all levels... A triumph!"
Blinded By Sound:
"There are echoes here of the way Ray Charles turned gospel into secular gold, and Muldaur shows that spirituality can still rock out - the sacred and the profane aren’t all that far apart, and spirituality can still temper earthly desire without corrupting the former or diluting the latter."
Living Blues Radio Chart:
#1 for October, #2 for November
Rory Block
Shake 'Em On Down

Rory Block

Nominated for:
Acoustic Artist
Acoustic Album (for Shake 'Em On Down: A Tribute To Mississippi Fred McDowell)
Living Blues Magazine:
"There's plenty to admire in her torrid slide work, the passion she infuses into her reedy vocals, and the obvious dedication with which she has undertaken this project."
No Depression Magazine:
"Creating something new and honoring the past at the same time."
Jazz & Blues Report Magazine:
"A superb recording."
Duke Robillard
Low Down and Tore Up

Duke Robillard

Nominated for:
Gibson Guitar Award
The Alternate Root:
"One of the pre-eminent guitarists in the world today, bar none."
Billings Gazette:
"The master blues guitarist heads back to the 1940s and '50s for a set of swinging blues covers from the Mt. Rushmore of early electric bluesmen"
Blues Revue (in Blues Wax newsletter):
"Gut Bucket with Caviar!!"
Living Blues Radio Chart:
#3 for October and November
Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
"Simply one of the best guitarists around."
Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne
An Old Rock On A Roll

Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne

Nominated for:
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Vintage Guitar Magazine:
"A red-hot boogie woogie ivory tickler."
Blues Festival E-Guide:
"Hammers out rockin' boogie woogie, deeply felt blues, and puts a fresh coat of paint on ... roots rock and roll."
Living Blues Magazine:
"This release is certain to garner many deserved nominations and awards."
Joe Louis Walker
Blues Conspiracy

Joe Louis Walker

Nominated for:
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Chicago Sun-Times:
"Joe Louis Walker has achieved exalted status."
Blues Blast Magazine:
"Energy, undeniable personality, and high caliber talent."
Phoenix Blues Society:
"A fun set that sounds like it was as enjoyable to play as it must have been to watch."
Hampton Roads:
"He's the kind of guitarist... who always brings applause."
Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb

Nominated for:
Acoustic Artist
Acoustic Album (released by Telarc/Concord Music Group)
Stony Plain Records announces the signing of acclaimed folk blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Bibb, and will release his debut CD for the label, Deeper in the Well, in March 2012. Deeper in the Well features Eric Bibb on vocals and guitar backed by multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, guitarist Cedric Watson, drummer Danny Devillier and harmonica player Grant Dermody. Special guests on the CD include Michael Jerome Browne, Jerry Douglas and Christine Balfa.
Eric’s last CD, Troubadour Live, recorded at a 2010 concert in Stockholm, Sweden, was released earlier this year.

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