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 Info@Bmansbluesreport.com

Friday, September 10, 2021

Schubert Publishing artist: Nathan Jacques - Loud Mind - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Loud Mind, from Nathan Jacques and it's an interesting blend of acoustic folk, western and pop. Jacques has a potent voice and on the opener and title track, Loud Mind, accompanies himself on acoustic guitar with atmospheric backing by Adam Churilla and Michael Madill on electric guitar, Madill again on glockenspiel, Charles La Cagnina on acoustic bass, Kaya Shaffer and Ed Donnelly on drums and percussion and wailing pedal steel by Tim Fleming. Cool opener. Young Devil has real radio potential with a firm rhythm and forward guitar by Churilla and Jacques on pedal, all presented over a strong melody and nice backing vocals by Tyler Carlson. Bold rock rhythm directs Physical Forever, with Churilla, Jacques, Madill, Donnelly, and John Mueller on electric guitar, deep grinding vocals by Jacques, Donnelly on essential B3, Madill on vibraphone and stiff drum rhythms by Shaffer and Donnelly that really sets this track apart. Rocker, Dream, Dream Away has a driving beat thanks to Shaffer and Chuck Bartels (on bass) and nicely blended lead vocals by Jacques and Carlson. A bit of reverb saturated guitar pyrotechnics gives the track just a bit more edge. Quiet Mind is a solid contemporary acoustic rock closer. With just a touch of western, via Fleming's pedal steel work and the ongoing vocal blending of Jacques with Carlson, this is a solid wrap. 



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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Chocolate Fireguard Music Ltd. artist: Pat Fulgoni -Dark Side of The Blues - Live In Prague - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Dark Side of the Blues, Pat Fulgoni Live In Prague and it's a smoking cover of some of the top blues tracks that you know. Opening with Sonny Boy Williamson's classic, Help Me, Fulgoni on vocal gets this band rolling with Jan Martinek, Lukas Martinek and Richard Mader exchanging guitar riffs over the keys of Boris Secky and Jan Korinek, Brian Regan, Mick Reed, Vladimir Grunt on drums, and Leos Drabek, Robert Mader and Jason Riley on bass. On soulful, Hard Times, Fulgoni really turns on the heat and his guitar arsenal is right there with him creating a steamy, Ray Charles like feel and featuring Jim Corry on sax. Very nice. BB King's hit, the Thrill Is Gone gets a bouncy rework but without losing it's blues intensity. A real nice showcase for Fulgoni's vocals, the track actually seems to strut rhythmically as it rolls and the guitar intensity is tight. John Lee Hooker's boogie, Think Twice Before You Go sets a nice groove and Fulgoni's vocals are full and clipped giving it a bit of old blues, authentic feel. Good jam. Larry Davis' Texas Flood gets a pretty honest SRV cover by Fulgoni band with some real nice SRV style blues rock guitar riffs...sit back. Wrapping the release is a cover Robert Johnson's Crossroads, using pretty much of Cream's arrangement from the 60's. A great blues rocker and driving guitar anthem, this is a solid closer for a live concert release. 


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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Blue Heart Records artist: Tony Holiday - Porch Sessions Volume 2 - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Porch Sessions Volume 2, from Tony Holiday and it's a great Chicago style blues party. Opening with She's Tuff, Victor Wainwright and his rhythm section really get things rolling with Wainwright on vocal and piano and Holiday on harmonica. With plenty of attitude in presentation and this dynamic duo, this is a strong opener. Willie Buck has the mic on Honey Bee with Rusty Zinn on slide and Kim Wilson on harmonica. Zinn really conjurs Muddy's tone on guitar and Wilson's sound is fat and rich. Excellent! In more of a Delta styling on Recipe for Love Master, Bobby Rush on vocal and Vasti Jackson on guitar really make a great team serving up a heavy helping of blues. Very nice. Going to Court is a real hot number with James Harman on harmonica and Kid Ramos and Landon Stone laying down pure fire on guitar. Lurrie Bell teams up with harpmaster Mark Hummel on a shortened take on Everyday I Have The Blues but not without playing some blistering riffs. Ace guitar man Johnny Burgin and Holiday play Bad Bad Girl with Kid Andersen on bass. With it's 2 step rhythm, this track is a nice change up. Rae Gordon adds a lot of spice on lead vocals on shuffle,  Find Me When The Sun Goes Down complimented by Holiday on harmonica and backed by her own band. Ben Rice does a real nice job on That's How I Learned with his ultrasoulful vocals and deft acoustic steel resonator accompaniment. Very nice. Mark Hummel & Dennis Gruenling do a great duet on Cake Walk a terrific harmonica shuffle. One of my favorites on the release. JD Taylor on harmonica and vocal and his son Alex do a really nice on Family Tree with harmonica/ guitar backing of a great blues vocal. I particularly like the way Alex plucks his guitar accents. Excellent! Wrapping the release is the lush gospel fused Peace Will Come by Memphis based Southern Avenue. To say that this release is packed with goodies would be an understatement. Very strong release.



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Monday, September 6, 2021

Fireplace Recordings artist: Tom Rodwell - Wood & Waste - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (October 22, 2021), Wood & Waste, from Tom Rodwell and I really like it. English artist and writer Tom Rodwell, now living in New Zealand has completed this most recent work and it's diverse and interesting. Opening with Don't Be A Fugitive All Your Life is a cool mix of Hillcountry Blues styling and primitive rock. It's simple structure, which relly sets it on it's way is propelled by Rodwell and simple blues guitar riff and vocal, Chris O'Connor on drums and Jeff Henderson on bass drum. Very cool. Carry On is a simple straight up rocker with a solid radio melody. Henderson on bass drum and O'Connor work great with Rodwell's guitar environment and cool backing vocals by Colleen Davis. Blues rocker, Touch Me Like A Teddybear is a real interesting track with classic blues guitar riffs with a twist and overlayed guitar work making this one of my favorites on the release. With a Latin beat, a great percussive beat and Rodwell on synth, She Got Me Boiling is sure to be a favorite. It's danceability and smooth vocals are intioxicating. Small Town is a cool rocker with Phill Dryson on phased strat and Rodwell on guitar working up a really cool beat track. With simple lyrics, and featured guitar, it really puts me in mind of some early Blondie, Stones and Jeff Beck. Wrapping the release is Dead End Road with a euphoric blend of synth and guitar. This is a hard release to pigeon hole and it keeps yu guessing. Quite interesting...I like it! 


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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Greg Loughman - Re: Connection - New Release Review

  I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 24, 2021), Re: Connection, from Greg Loughman and it's fresh and inventive. Opening with Disunion, a song originally titled Darling Nellie Grey when written by Benjamin Hanby during the civil war era about a runaway slave pining for his love. In 1915, Ralph Chapin wrote lyrics for this song then called The Commonwealth of Toil. Loughman has reinterpreted this tune, setting up the composition with an extended acoustic bass intro, adding to it Nathan Kay on trumpet, Dan Elbert on alto sax, Anton Derevyenko on tenor sax, Matt Stubbs on clarinet, Anastassiya Petrova on piano, Tyson Jackson on drums and Max O'Rourke on guitar, weaving in dramatic themes and interpretations on what sums up like an epic theme song. Isolation uses a similar structure of Loughman's acoustic bass line to set the stage on which this track is built. Lead lines by Kay on trumpet and Stubbs on clarinet further the theme with compliments by Elbert and Derevyenko into a loosely woven fabric of melody. Very interesting. With a really cool drum line by Jackson and piano work by Petrova, semi funky, From All Sides is a full blown jam. With a layering theme of one instrument echoing the other and the tight drum line of Jackson this track takes shape. With piano and drums as the constant, the musicians grow slowly apart and more loosely connected and then back together for a solid conclusion. With a slight melancholy overtone, Grow is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Petrova's piano, the dominant pace setter on the track slowly builds with the gradual addition of Loughman, Kay, Elbert and Derevyenko. Nice lead lines by Kay, Elbert and Derevyenko add just the right contrast. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Horizon featuring Faris Ishaq on fey, an end played flute instrument. With tight drum and piano rhythms, Kay's trumpet melody, Nadia Washington on vocal, Jerry Leake on percussion and O'Rourke working the counter rhythms, this is a strong closer.



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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Benjamin Schnake Ensemble - The Joy of Playing - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (October 4, 2021), The Joy of Playing, from the Benjamin Schnake Ensemble and it's really cool. Opening with Marisol, a hot, South American style jazz number featurning multi instrumentalist, composer and arranger, Benjamin Schnake on nylon string guitar. Joined by Dave Pietro on alto sax, Tim Stuven on tenor sax, John Blevins on trumpet, Eric Quinn on trombone, Jennifer Wharton on bass, Santiago on piano, Gui Duvignau on bass and Paul Shaw, this track is an excellent opener. There is no denying the latin influence on this release, it's band leader being born in Santiego de Chile where he started playing guitar at 10. With a lighter touch, Fragment, features beautiful piano work by Santiego Leibson with Schnake on nylon string guitar Sunhyun Yoo on alto sax and Paul Shaw on drums. Beautiful. She's Gone is a bit more quiet yet features a stunning trombone solo by Eric Quinn and complimentary sax solo by Dave Pietro. Aju features Schnake on electric guitar and his contemporary Latin styling comparable to contermporary player Al DiMeola. Leibson again takes a commanding piano solo and Gui  Duvignau and Paul Shaw each present short solos of their own. Very nice. Mingus' Goodbye Porkpie Hat really gives the Ensemble a terrific opportunity to improvise over a true standard. Leibson shines on piano and the horns are arranged in an unconventional yet extremely interesting way. Wrapping the release is Lakitas, is inspired by the Andean musical tradition of Lakitas. This traditional folk basis is expanded and improvised into a modern jazz beauty. Featuring Schnake on mandolin, Ammon Swinbank on flute, Leibson on piano and Shaw on drums, this is a beautiful closer for a terrific release. 


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Monday, August 30, 2021

Sweetspot Records artist: Al Basile - B's Testimony - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, B's Testimony, from Al Basile and it's a real cool mix of blues and jazz. Opening with Lucky Man, a lightly funky, New Orleans flavored track with loose drum rhythm by Mark Teixeira, Brad Hallen on bass and Bruce Bears on piano. Adding in a bit of rock to the blues on If All It Took Was Wishing, Basile on cornet works with Doug James and Doc Chanonhouse to get just the right sound. Funky blues, I'm Bad That Way features some real tasty guitar work from Kid Andersen under some of Basile's best vocals on the release as well as a real nice laid back cornet solo that flows perfectly. Horn backing by James and Chanonhouse give it just the right amount of soul. Andersen steps up early on Up Close And Personal Best with some real hot riffs and follows with some absolute stinging solo guitar lead and Basile's muted cornet soloing lays in the slot making this one of my favorites on the release. Shuffle, I Oughta Be Your Monkey, is a lot of fun with just Basile front and center on cornet and lead vocal and a cool interface between Andersen's fine guitar work and the horns of James and Chanonhouse. Very nice. Another tight guitar solo by Andersen highlights It's Your Pain. Kid blends chickin pickin styling with bluesy approach, Basile's own laid back cornet solo laid in and the rich organ work of Bears tying it all together.  On Through Thick and Thin Andersen really gets loose on guitar and if you've never heard that, it's an absolute joy. The guy really can play and he's really inventive. He swings from riff to riff with wreckless abandon and blows the top off of this one. Excellent! Built around a similar musical theme as "A Thrill Is Gone" Would I Do That To You?, is a great R&B shaped blues number. Basile leads on vocal with horn response by James and Chanonhouse. This track is a real sweet showcase of his cornet work and again resolves with Andersen just slaying the guitar. His bends, mixed with his (what sounds like) whammy vibrato is off the hook. Soft horn backing by James and Chanonhouse really add warmth for a strong finish. Wrapping the release is He Said, She Said, a low slung blues number with a real nice piano display by Bears and solid vocals by Basile leading to another hot guitar solo by Andersen. Basile closes the show with a poised cornet solo line. Really cool release. 


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Friday, August 27, 2021

Ted Hefko & the Thousandaires - Down Below - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Down Below, from Ted Hefko & the Thousandaires and it's strong. Opening with alt country track, Lay Your Problems On My Knee, Ted Hefko really comes out hard with a terrific track, sounding like a new formation of The Band. The writing is powerful, the vocals very good and with his own guitar work, Matt Galloway on guitar, Justin Carlo Davi on bass and Isaac Eady on drums, this is a great opener. Another track with strong country threads but in this case more of a rocker (think Dead Flowers), Hurtin' Too, Hefko is hitting on all cylinders. With Lynn Drury on backing vocals, this is quickly becoming a go to release. With a funky blues feel, Please Don't Refuse, is a total change of pace. Solid vocals, smooth organ backing by Beck Burger and solid guitar lines by Alex Mallet over rhythmic percussion by Michael Skinkus and horn work by Kevin Louis on turmpet this track is a sure bullseye. Ella Speed is a great New Orleans blues rag with Hefko not only singing but wailing on clarinet, with Kevin Loius on trumpet, Craig Klein on trombone and great falling down drum work by Chris Davis. Excellent! Another track with a rich alt country flavor (think Black Francis or Jimbo Mathus) is Big Thing with cool vocal backing by Jamey Saint Pierre and firm country footing. Excellent! Wrapping the release is soulful ballad, One More Picture of You with insightful lyrics and an easy instrumental backing. This is a potent new release and although not a "real" blues release, I love it! 


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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Kris Gruen - Welcome Farewell - New Release Review


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 24, 2021), Welcome Farewell, from Kris Gruen and it's a cohesive set of well crafted tunes using pop, rock, country, folk and blues attributes to create a interesting mix. Opening with Water Into Wine, a strong country rock tinted track with a straightforward melody, Gruen on guitar and lead vocal is joined by Rob Morse on bass, Randy Schrager on drums and Jack McLoughlin on steel guitar. Skyline Drive is a real nice track with a great melody and well blended vocals with Michael Flynn over the wailing steel guitar of McLoughlin. Very nice. The Painter is a really strong ballad featuring Gruen, accompanied primarily by acoustic guitar but with touches of trumpet by Probyn Gregory and percussion by Butch Norton giving it a Spanish flair. Wrapping the release is ballad, You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory... a simple but powerful tune with piano and acoustic guitar backing. This is a serene release with powerful words. 


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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

VizzTone label group artist: Hector Anchondo - Let Loose Those Chains - New release review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Let Loose Those Chains, by Hector Anchondo, and I really like it. This is an unusual contemporary blues release in that it walks the line between acoustic, primitive style and modern, electric blues. Opening with title track, Let Loose Those Chains, Hector Anchondo on vocal and guitar, backed by Joe Corley on bass and Khayman Winfield on drums. This has a strong melody with only necessary guitar work, and terrific, sparce percussion. Excellent! Cool shuffle, I'm Going To Missouri presents a forward vocal by Anchondo, a solid bass line by Corley and light touch drumming by Winfield with a crisp electric guitar solo to balance the track. Very cool. Candy Shop really tails back to a more primitive approach with delta style riffs and slide on acoustic guitar over light touch on bass and drums. Anchondo sticks to the blues formula with prominent lead vocal, and well placed guitar soloing and I think it's great. One of my favorite tracks on the release is soulful, Sometimes Being Alone Feels Right, which really shows the sensiitive nature of Anchondo's vocals and the dynamics of the band as a whole. Very nice. A real treat on the release is Strike It Down with it's european street ... almost gypsy jazz guitar artistry. Excellent! Wrapping the release is straight up blues shuffle, You Know I Love You But You Got To Go. With Anchondo singing at easy pace and his fingers dancing across the fretboard, it's a great closer. This song has great tempo. You'll find yourself tapping your feet and singing to your office mate... I love you but you got to go... Strong closer. 


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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

VizzTone Label Group artists: Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers - Self titled - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release (September 10, 2021), from Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers and I really like it. Opening with One Condition, a blues rock n roller with a steady Chuck Berry like rhythm, Lindsay Beaver on drums and Brad Stivers on guitar share the lead vocal, Kirk Fletcher joins on guitar and Barry Cooke plays bass. Excellent opener.  With a strong Texas style lope, I Know What To Do is up next with Beaver really belting out the lead vocal and on drums, joined by Stivers on guitar, and . Joe Murphy on harmonica. The is another potent blues number. Up tempo swing track, Getting Gone, has Stivers up front on lead guitar and vocal. Beaver really holds a tight beat and with Cooke on organ Stivers really makes his guitar talk. Really nice. Another cool rocker, You've Got No Right, features Beaver on lead vocal and really plays to her vocal strength. Joined by Zach Zunis on guitar, this track has plenty of hot riffs to go around. Stivers takes his guitar for a nice walk on It's Love, a cool shuffle with Stivers and Beaver blending nicely on lead vocal. My favorite track on the release is Somebody Else Will, showcasing Stivers on lead guitar and vocal. Stivers has a really great hand for blues phrasing and he lays it all out there on this one. Excellent! Jump track, Slim Pickin' is another hot number with Cooke and Stivers really dukeing it out. If this track doesn't get you moving, youre likely dead. Wrapping the release is The Falcon's R&B classic, You're So Fine with Beavers accompaning herself on guitar. This is pure soul and a solid closer for a strong release. 


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Monday, August 23, 2021

VizzTone Label Group artist: Gabe Stillman - Just Say The Word - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Just Say The Word, from Gabe Stillman and it's a solid blues release. Opening with slide exdplosion, Give Me Some Time, Gabe Stillman on guitar and vocal really gets it rockin. With Elmore James like flair, Stillman really ramps it up, backed by Colin Beatty on bass, Ray Hagen on drums, Taylor Streiff on B3 and the Texas Horns doing the rest. Excellent opener. R&B flavored, Let It Go, gives Stillman a chance to not only show his wares vocally but excellent guitar phrasing. No Time For Me has a lumbering pace and Stillman turns up the gain for a saturated tone on his guitar to grind over the full tone of Streiff's B3. This track has more rock but in the tone of a ZZ Top like jam. Very cool. Ballad, Heartbreak Makes A Sound, is a mellow, radio track, with solid vocals and guitar by Stillman, Streiff on piano and with a nice sax solo by Mark Kazanoff. Anson Funderburgh and Sue Foley take turns on shuffle, No Matter What You Wear and Foley joins Stillman on vocal.  Susquehanna 66 is a hot jazz like shuffle with some smoking harmonica work by Greg Izor and some really hot guitar work by Stillman. Excellent! Soul track, I'll Take Care Of You really shows off Stillman's soul prowess, cradled in a keyboard bed and capped off with a solid guitar solo. Very nice. Wrapping the release is See BT Blues, an excellent blues number with a jagged rhythm, cool. unconventional double stops and perfect B3 and drums accents. This is an excellent closer for an excellent release. 


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Friday, August 20, 2021

Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans - The Music Gets Us Through - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Music Gets Us Through, by Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans and it's a mix of blues and rocks styles. Opening with Dumb Like A Fox, brad Vockers on lead guitar and vocal is joined by Margey Peters on bass and vocal, Bill Rankin on drums, Jim Davis on tenor sax and V D King on bari sax. Jimmy Reed's Take It Slow slips into a Chicago style groove with Mikey Junior on harmonica and adding Dean Shot on guitar. With a shift to rag time style, Margey Peters is featured on lead vocal on Big Wind with Dave Gross and Vickers on guitar and with Charlie Burnham on violin. Nice job. Leroy Kirkland's slues shuffle, I'll Be Sittin', I'll Be Rockin' is pretty hot with Vickers up front on guitar and vocal and solo sax by Jim Davis. snappy drum work by Bill Rankin and with VD King on accordion. Wrapping the release is Alex Atkin's shuffle, When I Am Drinking, with Peteres and Vickers on duet vocals over a straight up guitar rhythm and strong sax work by Davis. 


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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Pepper Cake Records/ZYX-Music artists: Raphael Wressnig & Igor Prado - Groove & Good Times - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 17, 2021), Groove & Good Times, from Raphael Wressnig and Igor Prado and it's a blast. Opening with a funky jazz groove, Bill Withers' Kissing My Love, Raphael Wressnig on B3 is joined by Igor Prado on guitar and Yuri Prado on drums. This track is bound to make you squirm if not outright get up and dance. A blast right out of the gate, it's really hot. Another funky track, Isley Brothers' I Know Who You Been Socking It Too switches gears but if you like funky B3, this is it! James Brown's Blues & Pants shifts into a JB like rhythm with snappy percussion and shared lead between Prado and Wressnig. As typical in some jazz/rock jams, occasional vocal phrases are thrown about by Wressnig and "Hot Pants" sums it up! Johnny Guitar Watson's blues track, You Bring Love has a great R&B feel with super vocal work by Igor Prado and Jenni Rocha. This is a really nice track and a strong contender for radio track select. Really nice blues guitar soloing by Prado accents this track nicely really punctuating it. Junior Wells' Snatch It Back And Hold It is a terrific redo with Prado really working the lead like a Texas guitar slinger. Wressnig, known as one of the best funk/jazz B3 guys around shows why. Reese Wynans Crossfire gets the funky treatment and Prado, who is really upfront on this really uses the Albert King/SRV stylistic influence blended with his own phrasing, over hot rimshot rhythms by Yuri. Wrapping the release is Bob Marley's Soul Shakedown Party. With a tight reggae drum rhythm Prado and Wressnig alternate laid back lead sequences for their own unique take on this classic. Solid closer for a really fun release. 


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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Blue Heart Records artist: Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps - Rose-Colored Glasses Vol.1

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 17, 2021), Rose-Colored Glasses Vol. 1, by Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps and it's a smooth blend of blues, rock and R&B styles. Opening with Show Me How You Do It, Teresa James on keys and lead vocals shows why her newest releases are widely anticipated. With Yates McKendree putting up some real nice lead guitar, and backed by Jay Bellerose on drums, Kevin McKendree on B3, Paulie Cerra on sax,  this is a solid opener. R&B flavored title track, Rose-Colored Glasses, really has a nice feel that I would expect to garner strong airplay with some nice slide guitar work by James Pennebaker. With a cocky strut, Wish It Into The Cornfield features Anson Funderburgh playing up the guitar starch and McKendree's B3 giving flow under the horn work of Cerra. Goes without saying that James has a natural voice for this and she really works it on this track. Really nice. Dean Parks, well known session man, pops up on Once The World Stops Ending, adding some hot punctuation under some of the best vocal blending on the release. Darrell Leonard on trumpet and Richard Millsap on percussion add some nice juice on this track making it one of my favorites on the release. Soul track, When My Baby Comes Home is another solid entry with strong vocals by James and the addition of Michael Starr on violin, viola and cello. Wrapping the release is Gimme Some Skin driven by heavy tom tom work by Bellerose and with some cool, stylized guitar work by David Millsap, punched up by Leonard on trumpet. Cool closer. 


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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Navy House Records artist: Avey Grouws Band - Tell Tale Heart - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review themost recent release, Tell Tale Heart by the Avey Grouws Band and it runs the gamit from straight up radio focused, vocal tracks and some stiff, guitar blues balladry. Opening with rocker, Love Raining Down, Jeni Grouws on lead vocal and rhythm guitar takes the lead, with Chris Avey driving the train with agressive lead guitar riffs, Randy Leasman on bass, Bryan West on drums and Nick Vasquez on keys. Crisp opener. With a strong guitar fed, R&B style Bad, Bad Year has a real nice feel. Avey has just the right amount of  gain and saturation to get a nice growl out of his guitar and Grouws vocals are sassy and powerful. Avey sets off on a gritty blues rock solo which gives the track a stinging kick. Title track, Tell Tale Heart, is a bluesy ballad with a wide open floor for Grouws to shocase her vocals and she really does a nice job. Avey's guitar soloing on this track is the stuff that guitar heroes like Gary Moore are made of with sweet phrasing and plenty of feel. Very cool. My favorite track on the release is instrumental, Mariana, which gives Avey the spotlight and he really works the guitar over with soaring lead and ripping bends. If you are a fan of David Gilmore, this seven minute plus track is a adventuresome guitar exploration and one to catch. Very cool! Funky, We're Gonna Roll, gets Avey on guitar and Grouws on the top over the rhythm of Vasquez's Billy Preston like organ work, Leasman  on bass and West on drums. This track is a mover and one that just really works well. Wrapping the lease is country style 2 stepper, Eye to Eye with Grouws belting out the lead and Aven in duet and his saturated guitar tone. This track is straightforward radio but it's well written and performed. Nice closer. 


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Monday, August 16, 2021

Mascot Records artist: The Cold Stares - Heavy Shoes - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Heavy Shoes, from The Cold Stares, and it's a solid hard rocker. Opening with heavy bottomed, Heavy Shoes, and it's as solid a rocker as you'll hear. With it's crisp drum snap by Brian Mullins and growly guitar line and vocal by Chris Tapp it's a solid opener. 40 Dead Men kicks up the pace but the dark, heavy vibe is ever present and cool. It's hard to believe that all of this sound is coming from 2 guys. Hard Times is another solid track with a strong guitar vamp and heavy drums. Strange Light is a more Zep like rocker with a great lead drum focus. Tapp's guitar isn't really flashy, staying primarily on the lower frets but this is some powerful stuff. He breaks loose on lead guitar but again, not running up the fretboard to deliver his lead. Very cool. Prosecution Blues is heavy and lumbering but right down the middle of the blues highway. Delivery is still fat and driven... a really nice approach. Mullins really works the drum kit and Tapp thins out his tone a bit with screaming attack. It's A Game flips over to a funky, James Brown rhythm with Mullins driving the train and Tapp playing great accent riffs against his own vocal. These guys have that two man formula down to a real science. Another track with that special, Bonham, type rhythm is Election Blues. Don't get me wrong..at no time does this band sound like Zep but the hot drum attack works really well with Tapp's aggressive vocal style and underplayed guitar work. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Dust In My Hands turns back to the more metal driven, harder work of the beginning of the release with a dark bottom, tight drums and Tapp's soaring guitar soloing and vocal styling gives this track a good weight for a closer. 


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