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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 Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2016

LoungeSide Records artist: Jeff Plankenhorn - SoulSlide - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, SoulSlide, from Jeff Plankenhorn and it's a cool melodic release with a country twist. Opening with Lose My Mind, a gospel flavored track, Jeff Plankenhorn shows strong vocal prowess and excellent electric slide skills. Joined by Miles Zuniga on guitars, Yoggie on bass, Brannen Temple on drums and Ruthie Foster and Malford Milligan on backing vocal, this track is excellent! Sam and Dave's, You Got Me Hummin' get's a cool make over with lead vocals shared by Plankenhorn and Milligan, backing vocals by Foster and relentless with fat slide leads. Very nice. Trouble Find Me lays back a bit with more of a pop country flavor. Warm vocal harmonies, organ work by Dave Scher and Rami Jaffe complimented by a super slide guitar voice makes this a prime radio track. Like Flowers has a driving rock beat with Plankenhorn and Foster trading lead vocals. Strong slide work on this track makes it a real strong seller, nicely complimenting the super vocals. Bright and poppy, Dirty Floor has a super rhythm and solid melody. A light funky guitar rhythm and a gritty lead electric guitar gives this track real traction. Kansas City Nocturne is a really haunting track with piano and eerily beautiful guitar work with blending like vocals from the spectacular Crosby Nash release from the 70's. Born To Win is pure R&B with great movement, vocals and harmonies. This track just has a great feel. Super! Vagabond Moonlight is a smart ballad with warm vocal and instrumental interplay. Easily a cross station seller. Mockingbird Blues is a track with very attractive vocal lead and ultra clean acoustic and slide guitar work. Really nice! Headstrong is a rocker with a heavy bass line and contemporary harmonies. Clean lead electric guitar and slide accent gives the track just a touch country. Live Today is a country flavored rocker with dueling guitar leads and a nice bass lead riff. Wrapping the release is Walking In the Sun, a country track with a lot of Wilson Pickett style soul. Plankenhorn really does show that he not only has a great voice but a very versatile vocal style as well as exceptional slide guitar taste. This release has many flavors but there is a string of continuity that ties it all together as a really nice release.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Texas Blues Rock Guitarist Lance Lopez To Release Electrifying Live Performance From New York City On CD!

Texas Blues Rock Guitarist Lance Lopez To Release Electrifying Live Performance From New York City On CD!

Los Angeles - Texas blues rock king Lance Lopez takes his electrifying guitar virtuoso performance to the Big Apple on this extraordinary live album! This incredible concert album features highlights from Lopez’s most recent album, the critically acclaimed Handmade Music!

“ 'Live In NYC' was recorded on such a powerful night! It was Johnny Winter's 70th Birthday Party at a sold out B.B. King's Blues Club in Times Square...and was filled with a who's who of the blues! I played my heart out for Johnny that night, and was so happy that they were able to capture it on a's absolutely one of my finest performances I ever did in New York City.” - Lance Lopez

A music professional from the tender age of 14, Lopez cut his teeth with legendary drummer Buddy Miles, who would go on to co-produce Lopez’s debut album in 1999, and has played with virtually every notable blues musician of the 20th century! Lopez's newest project, the blues rock supergroup Supersonic Blues Machine, will release a new album in February with guest appearances by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Eric Gales, Walter Trout, Robben Ford and others!

Track list:

1. Come Back Home
2. Hard Time
3. Get Out And Walk
4. Traveling Riverside Blues
5. Lowdown Ways
6. Tell The Truth
7. El Paso Sugar

Download on iTunes:

Lance Lopez official website:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Austin-Based Dave Insley Is "Just the Way That I Am" on New CD Coming April 29 from DIR Records, with Special Guests Kelly Willis, Dale Watson, Elizabeth McQueen, Redd Volkaert and Rick Shea

Austin-Based Dave Insley Is Just the Way That I Am on New CD Coming April 29 from DIR Records

Latest Country Disc Features Special Guests Kelly Willis, Dale Watson, Elizabeth McQueen, Redd Volkaert and Rick Shea

CD Release Party Set for April 23rd at The White Horse

AUSTIN, TX – Dave Insley announces an April 29 release date for Just the Way That I Am, the latest album from the Austin-based singer/songwriter issued on his own DIR Records imprint. Backing him on the new CD are the members of his regular band, Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers, along with several special guests including singers Kelly Willis, Elizabeth McQueen and Dale Watson, as well as guitarists Redd Volkaert and Rick Shea.     

Dave Insley will celebrate the new disc with a CD release party at The White Horse in Austin on Saturday, April 23rd (500 N. Comal, Austin, Texas 78702 - doors open at 3 pm). The evening lineup includes: 7:00 pm - dance lessons with Two Left Foots; 8:00-9:30 pm - Jeff Hughes and Chaparral; 10:00 - 11:30 pm - Dave Insley's Careless Smokers; Midnight - 1:30 am – Heybale. Several special guests are expected.

Dave Insley's residency every Saturday at The White Horse from 8:00 - 9:30 pm resumes on April 29th. Dave Insley's Careless Smokers are: Dave Insley (lead vocals, guitar); Danny B. Harvey (electric guitar); Charlie Irwin (bass); Bobby Snell (pedal steel); and Daniel Jones (drums).

“We've been playing that time slot at The White Horse since June of 2013, and expect to continue to do so until the walls crumble,” Insley says. “My almost 3-year-long residency at the White Horse has developed a sizable following and the crowds keep getting bigger and bigger. We are so loved and nourished by it. It is literally the best gig I've ever had, and we have risen to the occasion.”

Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers will also be performing several times during the upcoming SXSW Music Conference in Austin:
3/18 - Atomic Honkytonk Showcase - Key Bar (9:00-10:00 pm)
3/19 - CD Preview Party - The White Horse (9:00-10:00 pm)
3/19 - Third Coast Music Presents NotSXSW - G&S Lounge (11:00 pm)

On Just the Way that I Am, Dave Insley showcases honest, no-frills, hardcore honky-tonk music at its best. This is old-style country crooning, delivered in a vocal style that recalls the great Ernest Tubb. Dave’s new disc showcases his quirky, heartfelt narratives and smoky baritone, and features the musical muscle of some of Austin’s finest players. From the opening lines of “Drinkin’ Wine and Staring at the Phone” through the closer, “Everything Must Go,” it ain’t nothin’ but a hardwood floor party, with Rick Shea, Redd Volkaert and Danny B. Harvey on guitar; Matt Hubbard on piano, harmonica and trombone; and special guest vocalists Kelly Willis, Elizabeth McQueen (Asleep at the Wheel) and Dale Watson.

Just the Way That I Am is Insley’s fourth solo release and his first since West Texas Wine in 2008. His artistic maturity and the clarity of his ideas shine through, carried by the easy cadence and quality performance for which Insley is known. Highlights include the honky-tonk weeper “Win-Win Situation, for Losers,” co-written with Rick Shea and Paul Lacques (I See Hawks in L.A.) and performed as a duet with Kelly Willis; “Arizona Territory 1904,” a re-telling of a Marty Robbins classic; and “We’re All Here Together Because of You,” a tender, upbeat homage to his wife and family. Insley’s modern voice and old-fashioned approach have earned him a singular position in the broad field of Americana music. This is thinking man’s country—intelligent, thought provoking story-songs that grow more satisfying with each listen.  

For more information, visit

Monday, February 15, 2016

Houston, Texas-Based Glenna Bell Presents "Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas" on April 15

Houston, Texas-Based Glenna Bell Presents Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas on April 15

HOUSTON, TX – Singer-songwriter Glenna Bell announces an April 15 release date for her new CD, Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas, the provocative new album of songs from the native Texan. Produced by Mark Abernathy and  recorded at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, The Finishing School in Austin and Sea Fog Studio in England, Lone Star offers an authentic array of songs ranging in mood and tempo from a cover of the chart-topping ballad, “Everybody’s Changing,” by the UK band Keane, which showcases its writer Tim Rice-Oxley on piano and harmonium, to Glenna’s all-original “Pig in Lipstick Blues,” featuring veteran Austin players Johnny Nicholas (Asleep at the Wheel) on boogie-woogie piano/guitar and George Reiff (Joe Walsh) and Rick Richards (Ray Wylie Hubbard) on bass and drums. 

Themes run the gamut from story-songs of Glenna’s life in Texas (“Poor Girl (in Blue),” “Shiner Bock & ZZ Top” and “What It Was Was The Art Guys”); to upbeat old-school pop-rock love songs (“So in Love with You” and “Tonight’s the Night”); to the enigmatic and haunting "Christmas Is Coming,” a pre-release for the 2015 holiday as a follow up to “Be My Valentine (On Christmas),” which garnered 194,000 streams on Spotify after being selected for their special holiday playlist in 2014; plus a uniquely Texan and deeply sincere take on Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter,” featuring George Reiff and Rick Richards on bass and drums and a soaring steel guitar part by Austin’s Mike Hardwick (Jerry Jeff Walker).  Lone Star also boasts a gorgeous cover for both vinyl and CD formats (distributed by Burnside Distribution) designed by French-Canadian artist, Natali Leduc, with captivating photography by Amy Morris shot on location at Glenna’s hundred year old wood frame house at the shadowy-sunshiny edge of downtown Houston.

“As life accelerates and the world becomes increasingly more complicated, I wanted to take a step back, slow down and spend time alone at home writing this collection of songs that are meant to be heard in private spaces and enjoyed from the perspective of a listener, much as a reader would consume a good book, rather than from the vantage point of someone who is out to drink and dance the night away to the backdrop of a band,” says Glenna about Lone Star.  “The theatrical element of Perfectly Legal: Songs of Sex, Love and Murder continues to be ever present in my writing and performance (and “Pig in Lipstick Blues” is even quite danceable!), but here the primary focus is on the sincerity and authenticity of lyric and vocal supported by real instruments played adeptly by human hands.  I hope that people everywhere will appreciate this introspective take on Texas, which reminds me of how I first learned to listen and to love music—singing along to records and radio amidst acres of East Texas thicket and the quiet, distant voices of the past.  I hope that you will take a step back with me now, slow down for a half hour or so, and take some time to listen alone because there is nothing else like it and there really is ‘no place like home’.”

Glenna Bell is a graduate of the prestigious University of Houston Creative Writing Program, where she studied with Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, Edward Albee, and she is an established country-blues-folk artist who has been honored by the State of Texas in a House Resolution recognizing her musical contribution to the stateLone Star is the fifth installment in a series of self-released albums that chronicle the experiences of a woman, a worker, a wanderer, a dreamer, a thinker, a seer, a stubborn free spirit who refuses to fail. Her last album, Perfectly Legal: Songs of Sex, Love and Murder, generated both extensive radio airplay and rave press reviews.
Glenna Bell regularly performs at a number of Houston venues, including La Carafe (Third Tuesdays @ Historic La Carafe in February, March, April and May) and The Nightingale Room in Downtown Houston (March 10). She’ll also be appearing during SXSW in Austin as part of “Big Kev’s Roots Rock Revolution Radio Showcase at the Opa! Wine and Coffee Bar.

For more information on Glenna Bell and Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas, please visit

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Austin-Based Singer/Songwriter Ashley Monical Is "Facing the Shadow" on Debut CD, Coming October 16 on Firecat Records

Austin-Based Singer/Songwriter Ashley Monical Is Facing the Shadow on Debut CD, Coming October 16 on Firecat Records

New Album Features Members of the Band of Heathens

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Austin-based singer/songwriter Ashley Monical announces an October 16 release date for her debut CD, Facing the Shadow, on Firecat Records. Produced by John Evans and recorded in nearby Wimberley, Texas, Facing the Shadow is the calling card for an exciting new Americana artist, showcasing 11 original songs either written or co-written by Ashley Monical. Backing Monical (lead vocals, guitar and keyboards) on the new disc are Falcon Valdez (drums) and Scott Davis (bass, guitar and organ), with special guest appearances by Emily Bell on background vocals, Eleanor Masterson on violin and Trevor Nealon on keyboards. Monical will tour substantially in support of the album’s release, including dates throughout Texas, plus Tennessee, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah.

The material on Facing the Shadow is very personal in origin, but universal in appeal, as Monical explores her own fears and dreams that anyone can relate to in the real world. At the heart of her songs is the idea of facing your own faults and desires in life by being truthful to yourself and to others around you. It’s the kind of musical territory she first began exploring over five years ago when she was one half of the buzzed-about acoustic folk duo called the Wildflowers, with singer Halley Anna Finlay. She has even traversed the glitzy “American Idol” phenomenon that took her out to Hollywood. About that event, Monical remembers, “It was a cool experience, but it definitely wasn’t really for me.”

The recording sessions for the new CD came together very organically and in a beautifully- relaxed setting. Producer John Evans (who also plays guitar on the album) lined up Falcon Valdez and Scott Davis (Band of Heathens), plus fellow Heathen Trevor Nealon and Eleanor Masterson for a couple of tracks, and Emily Bell on a few others. Monical secured the perfect studio space for them to live and work together in creative seclusion: a cabin in Wimberley on land owned by her father. “We all stayed out there and recorded the album on equipment that the engineer, Steve Christensen (from the legendary Sugar Hill Studios in Houston) brought down with him,” says Monical about the sessions. “I just wanted to be surrounded by nature and really liked the idea of everyone being out there together with nothing else around to distract us.”

All of the recording was done over the course of two weeks in the summer of 2014. And although Monical and Evans stayed true to their shared big-picture concept for the album as a whole, they allowed the sessions to flow naturally rather than by any sort of confining formula. “We just bended and twisted the songs and sound until they came to a place where we felt right about them,” she explains. “Some fell into their place right away and some took lots of time, energy and patience, but they all found their home.”

And the resulting tracks have a flow that glides smoothly throughout the entire album. The opening song, “A Child I Was,” is a gorgeous, stately piano ballad with a spiritual theme and sensual undertow that recalls the Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac sound. From the fierce resistance coursing through “Hunt Me Down,” to the soulful, gospel arc of “To the Mountain” and “Traveling Soul;” and from the languid beauty of “Sleep Child Sleep” (a lullaby Monical wrote for her godson), to the restless verve and sly bite of “Running” (a surefire single with a razor-sharp hook worthy of prime Tom Petty), Facing the Shadow is a multi-faceted study in sonic and emotional contrasts that fit together as a seamless, three-dimensional whole.

“It’s not really a concept album,” Monical says, “but I was definitely going through a period of really discovering who I am and what I stand for and what I believe in over the past couple of years, and a lot of these songs are definitely about that.” 

A good deal of that self-discovery came out of Monical's decision (self-imposed) in her mid-20s to go sober. But coming into her own as a performer with the courage — and obligation — to share her songs in front of strangers, friends, and peers alike proved an awakening, too. 

“Of course, there are still times nerves creep in a little when I am about to go on stage,” she admits with a smile. “And for a while, I wanted to call the album ‘Stage Fright’ because I want to face that. I want to bring it out of the dark and shine a light on it, just to put it out there and ... release it.” She ultimately decided on Facing the Shadow as the album’s title. “Everyone goes through a time in their life when they need to face the shadow. My wish is that this album will not only help folks through that time, but also inspire them to turn up the volume, roll down their windows and sing along with me in the moment!” Monical has the courage to own up to and face her fears and weaknesses, but she’s not about to be defined by them. 

About Ashley Monical

Although both of her parents loved music — so much so that her mother began teaching her how to sing as soon as she could speak — Monical didn’t begin writing songs until her early 20s. That’s when the Texas native moved to Austin after spending her teens in Colorado and growing up overseas for the better part of her childhood. She began the Austin chapter of her life immersed in theater, discovering her passion for performance over the course of many experimental plays — including, she recalls with a laugh, a Greek Tragedy in which she had to be fully nude onstage every night in front of an audience of 300 people. Talk about stage fright!

“It was terrifying and liberating,” Monical admits. “And I feel that performers should always strive to go to that place, even if they aren’t literally taking their clothes off in front of hundreds of people. When performers are open and vulnerable, it allows the audience to be open and vulnerable, too, and it benefits everyone involved in the sacredness of the art.” 

As much as she loved the theater world, it wasn’t long before Monical found herself drawn like a willing moth to a flame deeper and deeper into the heart of Austin’s justly celebrated music scene. “I picked up the guitar at around 21 and just sat alone in my bedroom a lot - playing through the finger pain - and I learned enough chords to play some covers, just because I wanted a way to sing,” she recalls. “But then I started writing my own songs and eventually going down to songwriter night every Wednesday at Cheatham Street (a legendary venue in nearby San Marcos where many notable Texas songwriters got their start), and it all kind of started from there.” She went on to spend the better part of the last decade playing her songs in front of audiences all over Texas and beyond, from Austin bars and coffee shops to the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis to Larry Joe Taylor’s Coastin’ & Cruisin’ music cruise; she landed that gig — and the chance to perform for thousand’s at the LJT Texas Music Festival — after winning one of Taylor’s annual songwriting competitions. 

All of the experience is readily apparent on her debut. Monical’s honeyed voice has been honed to crystal clear perfection and purity over years of choir practices and performances going back to fourth grade, and every song is a testament to both her poet’s soul as a writer and her equally graceful way with melody. The album also reveals a definite sense of purpose; Monical spent months revising her songs to gig-tested perfection and recording a number of demos with different artists and producers as a concerted effort to bring her artistic vision into clear focus. By the time she found just the right producer in John Evans, she knew exactly the kind of record she wanted to make. And Evans, a seasoned performing songwriter in his own right, was right there on the same page with her from the start. 

“It wasn’t forced at all,” Monical enthuses. “John has experience as an artist and fresh ears with an edge on how he hears music. He is open to new ideas and ways of creating sound and that’s what made me want to work with him.”

For more information, visit