CLICK ON TITLE BELOW TO GO TO PURCHASE!!!! CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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!

Please email me at
Showing posts with label Shining Stone Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shining Stone Records. Show all posts

Monday, July 27, 2020

Shining Stone Records artist: Anthony Geraci - Daydreams In Blue - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Daydreams In Blue, from Anthony Geraci and it's a solid release with a who's who of players. Opening with shuffle, Love Changes Everything, the line up is Dennis Brennan on lead vocal with Anthony Geraci on piano, Monster Mike Welch on lead guitar, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass, Jeff Armstrong on drums, and with Scott Arruda on trumpet and Mark Early on sax. I really like Welch's approach on guitar with excellent phrasing and tone. Very cool. Walter Trout sits in on No One Hears My Prayers and lays in some of the smoking best guitar riffs I've heard in a while over full horns and tight piano riffs. Brennan and Geraci play a smart piano duet on Mister, a smooth shuffle with Brenan on lead vocal and harmonica and Geraci on piano. With cool piano rolls and extended lead lines, this track has a nice groove. Swing track, Tutti Frutti Booty has a great beat and rowdy vocals by Geraci. Geraci really kicks out the stops on this one and Troy Gonyea's guitar work really is tops working it hard with a horn compliment. Classic track, Jelly, Jelly has some of Brennan's best vocals on the track and with a more poised approach, gives Geraci a nice option to play clean articulate riffs. Welch is back on this one and his signature vibrato and overall styling is terrific. Wrapping the release is Ode To Todd, Ella and Mike Ledbetter, a piano focused jazz instrumental. A smart closer for a real nice release. 

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  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”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 


 “Like” Bman’s Facebook page and get support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Shining Stone Records artist: Anthony Geraci - Why Did You Have To Go - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Why Did You Have To Go, from Anthony Geraci, and it's rich. Opening with R&B title track, Why Did You Have To Go, Sugar Ray Norcia is upfront on lead vocal backed by Michael Mudcat Ward on bass, Marty Richards on drums, Sax Gordon on sax, Doug Woolverton on trumpet and with stellar guitar styling by Monster Mike Welch and piano wizardry by Anthony Geraci. Excellent opener. Bluesy ballad, Angelina, Angelina is really strong with really nice piano work by Geraci and lead vocals by Sugaray Rayford. Welch is back again with signature tone, backed by Willie J Campbell on bass and Jimi Bott on drums. Very nice. Soul track, Two Steps Away From The Blues, features Michelle "Evil Gal" Willson on lead vocal with warm piano and B3 work by Geraci. Norcia is back on vocal and harp on Time's Running Out, an easy shuffle, joined by nice pace piano work by Geraci and the strong guitar accents by Ronnie Earl. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Baptized In The River Yazoo with Willie J Laws on piano duet with Geraci. The piano work here is terrific. Another track with dazzling piano is Too Many Bad Decisions with Dennis Brennan on lead vocal and Welch on guitar. Slow blues, My Last Good-Bye digs in deep with Norcia on vocal and harp. Piano tension and guitar excellence (by Earl) really gives this track edge, making it another of my choices for the release. Wrapping the release is jazzy A Minor, Affair with Troy Gonyea and Geraci leading the foundation of the track which features nice trumpet and sax solos by Wooverton and Beadle and a flight fingered guitar solo by Kid Ramos. Excellent closer for a strong release. 

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  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”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 


 “Like” Bman’s Facebook page and get support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shining Stone Records: Nuno Mindelis Featuring the Duke Robillard Band - Angels & Clowns - New Release Review

I just received a copy of the newest release from Nuno Mindelis, Angels & Clowns featuring the Duke Robillard Band and Sunny Crownover. Opening with It's All About Love, a blues laced pop track, Mindelis is nicely complimented vocally by Sunny Crownover. With simple blues riffs and a nice hook and melody, this is a track that could easily hit the airwaves hard. It's Only A Dream is a straight up rocker along the lines of a Glenn Frey track with a twist of Dire Straits. The title track, Angels & Clowns actually has the melodic sound of a Jimi Hendrix composition but as executed by Steve Winwood. Very interesting. Miss Louise has an easy going bluesy sound with a clever key solo and a well executed guitar solo as well. Hellhound has a funky jazz rhythm and some pretty strong guitar riffs laid down on a cleanly executed bed of drums (Mark Teixeira), keys (Bruce Bears) and bass(Brad Hallen). 27th Day is one of my favorite tracks having an unusual melody and instrumentation compliment. Mindelis plays clean melodic guitar runs to compliment  a really nice song. Perfect Blues has a familiar sound with riffs almost like Stevie Ray Vaughn turned inside out. Bears and Hallen really come on this track driving Mindelis into some really nice space. Instrumental Tom Plaisir features a really cool guitar lead melody. With only the simplistic of carrier notes from the band, Mindelis plays a really sweet track. On Blues In My Cabin, a standard 12 bar number, Mindelis sounds quite a bit like Clapton with smooth vocals and ringing guitar riffs. Happy Guy has a full on R&B style with a laid back JJ Cale feel. Country style picking is featured on this track showing the versatility of Mindelis' playing. Wrapping the release is instrumental jam Jazz Breakfast at Lakewest. it's a short break but demonstrates how tight thise guys can be when they want. Very cool.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shining Stone Records artist: Paul Gabriel - What's the Chance - New release review

I just received the newest release (June 18, 2013), What's the Chance from Paul Gabriel and it's tight! Opening with Old Time Ball, the band is hot with smokin' hot guitar soloing from Gabriel and guitar ace Duke Robillard. Mark Early and Rich Lataille cover sax work and Doug Woolverton is on trumpet. Ride, Ride, Ride has a slower loping tempo and in addition to the two obvious guitar strength, Larry Fallstrom sits in on piano and Gabriel shows his strength vocally. Billy Bileca holds down the bass role and Nick Longo lays down a solid drum line. Title track, What's The Chance, is more of a R&B style track with smooth jazz style sax soloing. 328 Chauncy Street is a jazzy fast paced boogie with hot guitar work from Gabriel and Robillard and a great key solo from the amazing Bruce Bears... a perfect match up. A funky R&B track, Baby I Wish hits a really nice groove opening wide solo opportunities for Robillard, Gabriel and Bears. Woolverton adds some really nice texture with the trumpet. Devil's Daughter has a certain 20's blues posture like Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out. The is a smooth relaxed blues track featuring Mark Naftalin on piano in addition to super vocals, real tasty guitar riffs from Gabriel. C.M.C. is a real smart blues/jazz instrumental track with crisp guitar lead really showing Gabriel's strength on the fretboard. Bruce Bears steps up with key piano work on this track as well. Roomful Of Blues is a slower R&B style blue track featuring some really nice vocals from Gabriel. This is the strongest "radio" track on the set and one that is likely to see a good fan following. Magic has a real strong Texas style lope with a slick guitar riff from Steve "Claude" Pastir to open the track. Fallstrom lays down some real nice B-3 work on this track which is followed by white hot guitar work from Gabriel. Spoda Be, a cool swing track, wraps the release with a envelope of harmonic vocals and horn. This is a real nice track again featuring both Gabriel and Robillard on guitars, Fallstrom on B-3 and Lataille and Earley on saxes.

This is a cool release featuring great vocals and instrumental work... and one that will keep your butt movin while you listen. Nice job!

  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”

Here's the guitar greats together but not playing a track from this release:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shining Stone Records Signs Guitarist Paul Gabriel & Will Release His Label Debut CD, "What's the Chance," on June 18

Shining Stone Records Signs Guitarist Paul Gabriel and Will Release His Label Debut CD, What’s the Chance, on June 18

Album Produced by Duke Robillard and Also Features Special Guests Mark Naftalin and Roomful of Blues Horns

MIAMI, FL – Shining Stone Records announces the signing of Connecticut-based guitarist Paul Gabriel, and will release his label debut CD, What’s the Chance, on June 18. Produced by Duke Robillard, What’s the Chance features Paul Gabriel backed by a core band of Billy Bileca on bass, Nick Longo on drums and Larry “Buzzy” Fallstrom on keyboards. Special guests on the new album include Duke Robillard on guitars and background vocals; former Butterfield Blues Band alumnus Mark Naftalin on piano; Bruce Bears on keyboards; Steve Pastir on guitar; and the Roomful of Blues Horns consisting of Rich Lataille on alto/tenor sax, Mark Earley on tenor/baritone sax, and Doug Woolverton on trumpet.
For decades, Paul Gabriel has been a regional treasure in New England, and his previous forays into recording have brought him accolades from fans, critics and fellow musicians alike. In a career that spans over 40 years, Gabriel appeared on three albums by legendary singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, played slide guitar on Rory Block’s Grammy-nominated album, Mama’s Blues, toured with Michael Bolton and recorded and toured with his several of his own bands.
Now, with the release of What’s the Chance, Paul Gabriel truly steps into the spotlight on an album of 13 tracks that not only showcases him as a distinctive, bluesy guitarist, but also a talented songwriter and a master of diverse musical styles. Throughout the new disc, he takes the listener on a trip of blues, R&B and even excursions into jazz, as evidenced by the two instrumentals on the CD, “328 Chauncy Street” and “C.M.C.” On the lone cover, Chris Kenner’s “Something You Got,” Gabriel does the Crescent City proud with a lowdown and swingy take on the New Orleans gem.
Gabriel and Robillard have known each other for many years and the two had a great simpatico in the studio, trading guitar solos on several cuts, including the jumpin’ opener, “Old Time Ball,” “Ride, Ride, Ride” and the aforementioned”328 Chauncy Street.” Original Paul Butterfield Blues Band member Mark Naftalin joins in the fun on two tracks, playing piano on “Devil’s Daughter” and the duet spot with Gabriel on “Fine At’tire,” a hipster/rhythm and blues tune that recalls the best of the early ‘50s sound.         
“I first saw Duke Robillard perform around 1968 with a new band called Roomful of Blues.” recalls Gabriel. “Our paths crossed many times over the next few years leading to the eighties, and at some point I realized that I needed to absorb what Duke was doing. Eventually we got together (1983), sat down and just played at Duke's house. He encouraged me about the things I did well and helped me correct the things that I was doing wrong, all the time treating me as a peer and always giving me little clues that would help develop my style further. During the ten years with my band, Blue in the Face (1987-1997), I did numerous shows opening for Duke, continuing to learn from him. In 2011, I did a show with him, playing solo and performing some new songs I had written in anticipation of a new release. One of the songs I played was called 'Roomful of Blues.' Duke asked me if I had recorded that yet, and I said I was saving it for the new release. Later that year, I headed to Rhode Island to start recording the new album with Duke producing. Right from the beginning, the magic was happening. The band, engineer Jack Gauthier and Duke all became one, as the chemistry created something very special, and in my opinion, the best album I have ever done.”
What’s the Chance was recorded and mixed at Lakewest Recording. “Some very special equipment was used during this recording,” said Gabriel about the sessions, “including a Sony 24-channel tape recorder, real tape delays and a lot of really great guitars and amps. I used a 1954 Gibson ES-5, a 1963 Fender Stratocaster, a 1966 Fender Jazzmaster, a 1965 Fender Super Reverb and a 1965 Fender Twin Reverb. Duke played a variety of Fender guitars, Teles and Strats, Epiphone Casino, a Gibson Midtown, and a 1947 Gibson L-7 archtop.  Billy Bileca used a 1966 Fender Precision bass and a 1947 Kay upright bass.  Mark Naftalin played a real piano and Larry Fallstrom a 1961 Hammond B-3 and Leslie tone cabinet. Nick Longo used a lot of old drums and Bruce Bears played a variety of keyboards by Nord. The horn section used a variety of 50s and 60s era instruments that produce a sound that only they can.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shining Stone Records artist: David Maxwell - Blues In Other Colors - New Release Review

I have just received a copy of the newest David Maxwell release, Blues In Other Colors. This is a 13 track composition with all songs written and performed by Maxwell. Joining Maxwell (keys) is Harry Manx (Mohan Vina and guitar), Jerry Leake (Indian and West African percussion) Fred Stubbs (Turkish ney),Boujmaa Razgul (Oud and Moroccan raita), Troy Gonyea (guitar), Eric Rosenthal (drums), Marty Ballou (double bass), Paul Kochanski (electric bass) and Andy Plaisted (congas). The recording is fairly hard to describe with conventional melodies and familiar sounds woven with the sounds of the east and Africa. Movin' On as an example, has a very traditional western styling which is carried throughout on piano but features the overlay of Mohan Vina and African percussion. The sounds are almost a juxtaposition of cultures. Conversely, Blue Dream begins with more of an eastern feel and is overlaid with piano as a woven compliment. The entire recording has a contiguous flow more in a jazz vein with some particularly straightforward taps on the blues. Cryin' The Blues finds Maxwell playing very direct piano blues riffs and Gonyea playing straightforward blues riffs on guitar. The Turkish ney is featured on Heart of Darkness along with the balafon giving is a much more eastern cultural feel. Manx plays some bluesy riffs on the Mohan Vina but this is still very eastern in nature. Rollin' On is a take on Rollin' and Tumblin' and takes a fairly straight forward shot at it with conventional instrumentation for the most part as does Just The Blues. Overall a very well composed and soothing recording.
  “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson 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”

 The following video is not of a song from the CD. It is attached here for the reader to see the quality of work performed by Maxwell as raved about by Bonnie Raitt, James Cotton and Otis Rush. If I am able to find a more suitable video it will be added later.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shining Stone Records Signs Blues Singer Sunny Crownover & Will Release Her Label Debut CD, "Right Here, Right Now," on October 2


MIAMI, FL – Shining Stone Records announces the signing of Massachusetts-based blues singer Sunny Crownover and the upcoming release of her label debut CD, Right Here, Right Now, produced by Duke Robillard, on October 2. Shining Stone Records is part of the Blue Duchess/Shining Stone Records Group founded by Robillard and Jesse A. Finkelstein. Right Here, Right Now was recorded at Lakewest Recording by John Paul Gauthier and showcases Crownover’s stunning voice backed by an all-star cast of musicians including Duke Robillard on guitar, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums and a horn section that includes Doug James on sax. Multiple Blues Music Award nominee Sugar Ray Norcia guests on harmonica.

To those who know Sunny Crownover only from earlier collaborations with Duke Robillard, such as her Introducing Sunny and Her Joy Boys CD in 2009 or Duke’s Stomp! The Blues Tonight and Tales from the Tiki Lounge albums, which were exercises in mostly vintage jazz and blues, and classic pop, her vocals on Right Here, Right Now will be a revelation. From the opening track, “Oh Yes I Will,” Sunny is right in the pocket, her vocals dripping with blues and soul on a song that could have come from the classic Stax era in Memphis, with Duke even channeling the great Steve Cropper on some funky guitar, too.

“This CD was over a year in the making,” recalls Sunny Crownover about the pre-planning, songwriting and recording sessions that yielded the new disc. “On the Sunny and Her Joy Boys album, I focused on emulating that pure, refined, and slightly restrained vocal style to fit the instrumentation. Then, on Stomp!, the tracks that I’m on showed a little more diversity in the vocals, still with a hint of that style from the jump blues era. So, a lot of people think that’s what my vocal style is all about. Duke and I decided it was time for me to do a solo CD and to go back to my beginnings with contemporary blues/roots and R&B, which is more of what folks in Austin (where she spent her early singing years) knew me for; and also what people in New England first knew me for when I arrived on the scene as a vocalist in the band 2120 South Michigan Avenue.”

“Producing and playing on this album has been incredibly fun and gratifying for me,” says Duke Robillard in the album’s liner notes. “When Sunny first spoke to me about wanting to do a contemporary blues album, I was not sure it was the right path for her to take after recording more traditional jazz, classic pop and early R&B with her. It didn’t take long before we realized it was a perfect fit for her versatile sound.”

When it came time to assemble songs for Right Here, Right Now, Duke turned to social media to solicit some of the new material. “Our first try was to request new blues related tunes from my many Facebook musician friends,” says Robillard. “The idea was a new and fruitful one and we soon had several tunes that fit Sunny’s style and personality. We recorded that first batch of songs and realized we had the beginnings of a really good CD.

“My next step was to contact my new friend in Nashville, Gary Nicholson, who had mentioned writing together sometime upon meeting. Gary, besides being a great artist in his own right, is one of the most amazing songwriters and all around great guys today. It would be an understatement to say that the chemistry was there. In two afternoons we managed to write basically half the album and tailor the tunes to Sunny perfectly. I left for Nashville with orders to write a tune called “Hi-Heels and Home Cookin’,” that being two things Sunny was known for amongst friends. And write one we did! Gary’s sly, barely disguised clever lyrics initially put quite a blush on Sunny’s face but hey, you asked for it girl! And of course she came through with a sultry and sassy performance that is one of the most fun tunes on the album, done in a mock twenties blues fashion but appropriately updated.”

The Robillard/Nicholson collaboration yielded four songs, plus one solo composition by each of them. Added to the tunes solicited from Duke’s Facebook friends, including one from long-time buddy and former Roomful of Blues bandmate Al Basile (“I Might Just Change My Mind”), as well as others from LA-by-way of Texas blueswoman Brenda Burns (“One Woman Man”) and several others. The result was that Right Here, Right Now came together in a “perfect storm” of artist, songs and musicians. Some of the CD’s other musical highlights include the rollicking Chicago blues of “Roll Me Daddy,” the funky, rockin’ “Cook in Your Kitchen,” the cautionary, horn-fueled tale, “Warned” and the beautiful title track love ballad, “Right Here, Right Now.”

“We really liked the idea that some of the tunes came from local Boston songwriters,” says Crownover. “In some cases I knew within a few notes that I absolutely had to record them; a couple of examples are ‘Love Me Right’ and ‘Trust Your Lover.’ The ones we selected all were chosen to really give people a chance to hear a more contemporary, bluesy, soulful side of my voice. A huge amount of work went into this, with the aim of producing something that has a wide appeal and showcases a more contemporary, bluesy and powerful side of my vocals. I hope we've done that!”

Sunny Crownover first began singing blues in Dallas/Fort Worth area clubs and coffeehouses before moving to Austin, and soon began singing with Van Wilks and other local blues and R&B bands. She moved to New England a dozen years ago, where Robillard first heard her sing in late 2007 at a Harvard University concert. Duke immediately knew he’d found the voice he was looking for to bring life to a number of projects he’d been wanting to do for over 35 years.

For more information, visit