My Own Holiday review,,,March 25, 2015…

MY OWN HOLIDAY

REASON TO BLEED

ECLECTO GROOVE RECORDS  EGCRD 517

HOLD ON ME–RAZORBLADES–TWO COINS–MEMPHIS–DEVIL IN ME–REASON TO BLEED–WHISKEY IN THE WELL–ON THE FLOOR BLUES–SMILE–STONE FREE–STRANDED–DON’T SHINE ON ME–RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED

My Own Holiday consists only of guitarist/vocalist Joey Chrisman and drummer Nick Bartolo.  They hail from Lake Arrowhead, CA, far enough from the glitz of L. A. for them to create a sound that is raw, passionate, and fuses the blues with elements of metal.  Their latest album for Eclecto Groove Records is “Reason To Bleed,” and these thirteen cuts put the emphasis squarely on the band’s incredible songwriting skills and their minimalist, propulsive sound.

Check out the grungy punch of a love gone so bad that “it hurts to hear you speak/I’d rather just go chew on Razorblades,” and another one that comes at you hard and fast, “on my last day you can send me away with Two Coins over my eyes!”

“Whiskey In The Well” is perhaps the set’s most somber piece, and finds Joey trying to drink a lost lover off his mind, while “Stranded” has a tremolo-drenched, Fifties’ feel.  The set closes on a Dylanesque note, with quiet guitars over Joey’s vocal, “Right Back Where I Started.”

Our favorite was easy.  Another song with a cool storyteller’s vibe is the tale of a man who realizes all too late that “I should have quit you when I had the chance to fly higher,” entitled “Memphis.”

My Own Holiday ain’t the Black Keys, nor are they the White Stripes, altho those comparisons are inevitable.  Nope—Joey and Nick owe as much to Dylan as they do Son House.  Great songs set over a sparse arrangement is the premise of “Reason To Bleed,” and we highly recommend this one to all blues fans!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

The Bernard Allison Group review…March 22, 2015…

THE BERNARD ALLISON GROUP

IN THE MIX

JAZZHAUS RECORDS  JHR 106

FIVE LONG YEARS–CALL ME MOMMA–MOVE FROM THE HOOD–TELL ME WHO–SOMETHING’S WRONG–LUST FOR YOU–I HAD IT ALL THE TIME–I’D RATHER BE BLIND–SET ME FREE–MOVING ON UP

Bernard Allison is the youngest of nine children whose father was the great Luther Allison.  Young Bernard began to play guitar around the age of ten, and, since 1990, he has recorded several critically-acclaimed albums. Since the passing of his iconic father in 1997, Bernard has accepted the challenge to keep the blues alive in his own ways.  He fuses his father’s sounds with his own, adding flourishes of funk, soul and rock to create a unique sound all his own.

Such is the premise of his latest album, and first in nearly six years, “In The Mix,” on the Jazzhaus label.  This set combines all of Bernard’s myriad of influences for a highly-entertaining album.  Check out the smooth soul of the song that finds Bernard asking Momma for advice on love, “Call Me Momma.”  He channels Pops in the haunting groove of “Lust For You,” with excellent B-3 from Mark Leach.  His love for classic soul and blues is evidenced through sweet covers of Tyrone Davis’ “I Had It All The Time,” and a funk-filled read of Freddie King’s “I’d Rather Be Blind than to see you go.”  The set closes with a gospel touch, as he soulfully covers his father’s “Moving On Up.”

We had two favorites–one cover and one original.  Bernard busts out the slide guitar on both of ‘em–his original is the tale of a cheatin’ lover, “Something’s Wrong with you!”  And, the horn section adds a touch of “uptown soul” over Bernard’s slide and vocal on his dad’s story of improving one’s lot in life, “Move From The Hood.”

Bernard Allison continues to be a torch-bearer for the future of the blues.  “In The Mix” continues his family’s strong tradition of bringing us nothin’ but the best in blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Balkun Brothers review…March 20, 2015…

BALKUN BROTHERS

REDROVA

BALKUN MUSIC

LAST JAM (OH YEAH!)–REDROVA–GOT MY BOOTS ON–KEEP ME WARM–S.F.T.A.–BIPPIDEE BOPP–KEEP IT UP–SALLY’S BLUES–FRIED PICKLE PARTY–SLIDIN BUTT–TELL ME (WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND)–TOO DAMN LONG

The Balkun Brothers hail from Hartford, Connecticut.  Steve plays guitars and is on vocals, and brother Nick is on drums and vocals.  Add in bass man Caleb Battersby, and they are a formidable power trio, indeed.  They have won numerous awards in the northeast, and have been finalists in the IBC’s.  Their latest set, “ReDrova,” takes old-school blues and turns it upside-down and rockets it head-first into the 21ST Century. Twelve cuts of intense, raw, futuristic blues-rock is the content herein, and listeners can feel the influences of Muddy, Jimi, and, even Cream.

They kick out the jams with “Last Jam (Oh Yeah!), and it has a great, grungy, Hendrix feel to it.  A spaced-out intro gives way to some serious Delta-fied slide from Steve in the title cut, and he keeps that slide smokin’ with the Hill Country stomper, “Got My Boots On.” Nick’s percussion drives another slide-driven rocker, “S. F. T. A.,” with Caleb on the big baritone horn.  “Sally’s Blues” is a love gone sour slow-blues, and the instrumental “Fried Pickle Party” is, sadly, too short.  But, “Slidin Butt” makes up for it, with a thumping opening that slows slightly at the bridge before rockin’ right over the cliff for a climax.  The set closes with a miss-my-baby ode after being on the road just “Too Damn Long.”  Steve’s guitar and Nick’s percussion drive this one home, hard and fast.

Our favorite was easy.  Steve conjures up the ghost of Elmore James with “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind).  He kicks his slide into high gear on this clever shuffle, finishing with some great staccato flourishes of fretwork, too!

The Balkun Brothers have a firm grasp on their blues history, and they do a fantastic job taking those classic sounds and updating them for today’s contemporary arena.  “ReDrova” is destined to bring them even more accolades!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

Brad Hatfield review…March 20, 2015…

BRAD HATFIELD

FOR A CHANGE

SELF-RELEASED

THAT’S MY HOME–BACK DOOR SCRATCHIN’–BEHAVE YOURSELF–SMARTER THAN I WAS–DEVIL ON BOTH SHOULDERS–SO MUCH, SO LITTLE–NEVER FINISHED NOTHIN’–GOOD LOVE AFTER BAD–DRINK DRANK DRUNK–FOR A CHANGE–SWAMP POKER–BURBANK’S BOOGIE

In 2013, Brad Hatfield received a Blues Award nomination for Best New Artist, and he’s continued to build a strong career off of that success.  His latest album is a fine one, for sure.  Brad has teamed up with producer Tom Hambridge to release “For A Change.”  It’s twelve cuts of soulful blues written by Brad and some more of the best in the blues bidness, including Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming, Scott Holt, and Gary Nicholson.  The backing band is a stout as they come, too.  Brad is on harp and vocals, Tom is on drums, Kevin McKendree is all over the keys, Tommy McDonald is on bass, and Etta’s husband Bob Britt adds great guitar.

This set puts the focus on Brad’s vocal strengths, and that gritty style he sings in.  Check out the leadoff cut, a groovin’ shuffle that pretty much describes the life of a traveling bluesman, “wherever I put down my suitcase, baby, That’s My Home.”  Bob’s slide is in overdrive as Brad sings of roadhouse women with a “Devil On Both Shoulders,” with “one speaking the truth, the other speaking in tongues,” while Brad’s harp intro leads into some fine barrelhouse piano from Kevin on the tale of a small-statured woman who “does So Much with So Little!”  Brad’s a man who’s had enough of a one-way love affair on the slow-burn of his original tune, “Never Finished Nothin,” while everybody has a good time with the ultimate party song, “Drink Drank Drunk.”

The title cut finds Brad asking a lover, who’s been the victim of many a “back door man,” “how would you like to be treated right For A Change,” and closes the set with a hard-drivin’ foot-stompin’ ode to that good ole barbecue, “Burbank’s Boogie.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Behave Yourself” lopes along at a sweet, Jimmy Reed pace, while “Smarter Than I Was” is its polar opposite.  Bob Britt’s slide comes right outta the dark Delta mists and grabs you as Brad sings that “it’s been nine cold, dark nights, and she ain’t comin’ home!”

Brad Hatfield has upped his game to the next level with “For A Change,” He’s got a great bluesman’s voice, is a killer harp man, and has a great supporting cast.  Here’s wishing him continued success with this set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Tas Cru review…March 18, 2015…

TAS CRU

YOU KEEP THE MONEY

CRUSTEE TEAS RECORDS  1402

YOU KEEP THE MONEY–A MONTH OF SOMEDAYS–HALF THE TIME–LA BELLE POUTINE–HEART TROUBLE–A LITTLE MORE TIME–ONE BAD HABIT–TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA–COUNT ON ME–HOLDING ON TO YOU–BRINGING OUT THE BEAST–THINKING HOW TO TELL ME GOODBYE

Bluesman Tas Cru has been hailed as the “master of the triple entendre,” and rightfully so.  He has always had a way with a lyric, as well as being a helluva singer and guitarist.  For his sixth album, “You Keep The Money,” he continues to bring forth songs that’ll make you think, make you smile, and make you wanna dance!

The concept of the album and the title cut came out of a conversation with Delta blues icon T-Model Ford, a victim of failing health and a home that had fallen into great disrepair.  As such, Tas Cru organized a benefit gig at the Bluesberry Cafe, with the door money going to T-Model.  He graciously deferred, asking Tas only to “show me the love–You Keep The Money.”  That sentiment drives the opening title cut, going out to every blues player knowing he’s not likely to get rich playing the blues.  It features great harp from Dick Ericksen, and B-3 from Guy Nirelli.  “Heart Trouble” follows a funky, staccato beat as Tas blames his latest malady on falling in love.  A sweet, gospel-inflected cut that pays tribute to all of the aging players still around to spread the word of the blues finds Tas asking for them all to have “just A Little More Time.”  Dick’s harp and Chip Lamson’s piano helps Tas to break his “One Bad Habit,” which just happens to be “women like you”  “Count On Me” uses Tas’ ability to make a clever play on words, and he closes the set with a country-tinged “breakup song” of sorts, “Thinking How To Tell Me Goodbye.”

We had two favorites, too.  “A Month Of Somedays” is a helluva long time, especially after your lover is gone, as evidenced in this minor-key ballad.  And, a pastoral, acoustic intro gives way to the rockin’ “Take Me Back To Tulsa,” with cool references to the Bristol Motor Speedway and the good ole boys of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Tas Cru experiments with several styles of blues and plays them with passion and soul.  “You Keep The Money”pays a debt to blues players everywhere!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Igor Prado Band review…The Ides Of March, 2015….

THE IGOR PRADO BAND

AND THE DELTA GROOVE ALL-STARS

WAY DOWN SOUTH

DELTA GROOVE RECORDS  DGPCD 167

MATCHBOX–RIDE WITH ME BABY–SHE’S GOT IT–BABY WON’T YOU JUMP WITH ME–WHAT HAVE I DONE–SHAKE AND FINGER POP–TALK TO ME BABY–IF YOU EVER NEED ME–YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES–BIG MAMA BLUES–YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT–ROOSTER BLUES–TRYING TO DO RIGHT

At eleven years old, Igor Prado of Sao Paulo, Brazil, fell in love with blues guitar.  Left-handed, Igor taught himself to play a right-handed guitar upside-down.  With brother Yuri, on drums, they soon became the “go to guys” whenever American players would venture south of the border.  Add in Rodrigo Mantovani on bass and saxman Denilson Martins, and the Igor Prado band became a reality.  Over the last fifteen years, they have backed many American players, and that is the theme of their latest release for Delta Groove, “Way Down South.”  It culls thirteen of the best performances from over the years, with many of the players coming from the Delta Groove stable.

Igor’s talent on guitar is tremendous for a self-taught player.  He can channel the styles of many classic bluesmen with ease, and does so with a whole lotta soulful expression as he goes along.

Every cut is a winner, and highlights abound.  Sugaray Rayford starts the party with a cool take on Ike Turner’s “Matchbox,” with Igor’s tremolo guitar and Denilson’s saxes bringing the heat.  The late Lynwood Slim, to whom this album is dedicated, gets in a fine, swingin’ “Mama Won’t You Jump With Me,” and comes back later for “You Better Believe It, yes I’m in love with you!”

Delta blues are well-represented, too.  Check out Sugaray’s haunting read of “Big Mama Blues,” featuring Igor and Monster Mike Welch on guitars, and Randy Chortkoff on harp.  The set closes with an all-acoustic affair, featuring Igor on guitar and Omar Coleman on harp, for “Trying To Do Right.”

We had several favorites, too.  Igor’s vocal prowess  shows thru on the soul-blues of “Shake And Finger Pop,” while he and J. J. Jackson share vocals on a rhumba-ish read of “You Got What It Takes.  And, the vastly-under-recorded Wallace Coleman rocks a while with the good-time fun of “Rooster Blues.”

The Igor Prado Band are doing all they can to keep the blues alive.”  “Way Down South” proves they can play with the best players in the world, and this is sho’ nuff a red-hot set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Eight O’ Five Jive review…March 12, 2015..

EIGHT O’ FIVE JIVE

TOO MANY MEN

RED RUDY TOO TUNES RECORDS  RRTT 002

I’VE GOT A FEELIN’–HAVE MERCY BABY–BABY I’M DOIN’ IT–MISERY LOVES COMPANY–DRUNK–YOU WAS RIGHT BABY–FEED THEM MONKEYS–INSECT BALL–KISSING IN THE DARK–YOUNG ENOUGH TO BE MY SON–TOO MANY MEN–MARKET PLACE

In the years before it became known as “rock and roll,” the genres’ of blues, jazz, R & B, swing, big band and doo-wop all coexisted peacefully in a world dominated by great players such as Louis Jordan, Joe Liggins, Wynonie Harris, Bill Doggett, and many others.  This music jumps from the git-go, and Nashville is lucky to have a funky little five-piece band that knows this music inside and out.  They are bent on keeping this sound alive, and bringing it to new audiences who might not even know it ever existed.

Submitted for your approval, then, is Eight O’ Five Jive.  They consist of the lovely and talented Lee Shropshire on vocals, Andy Scheinman on guitar, Duane Spencer on drums, Bill Bois on bass, and saxman Patrick Mosser.  On April 14, 2015, they will release their debut, “Too Many Men,” on the Red Rudy Too Tunes label.  It is a clever collection of covers and originals that is described as a twelve-song “operetta” about the search for true love.

Throughout this delightful set, singer Lee Shropshire lends her sassy, strutting vocals to bring these vintage sounds into today’s contemporary world.  The guys aren’t bad, either.  Andy’s guitar lines are perfectly complemented by Patrick’s sax, while Duane Spencer bangs away standing up on a cocktail drum kit, staying in lock-step with Bill’s bass.

They kick things off in a huge way with Lee singing, “I’ve Got A Feelin’ someone’s tring to steal my man!”  The band gets into it, adding backing call-and-response vocals on Lee’s cover of Billy Ward’s “Have Mercy Baby,” while Lee tries to comfort a downhearted friend in her original, “Misery Loves Company, so come have a drink with me!”  She tackles another swingin’ tale of too many excesses in life with “Feed Them Monkeys,” especially those “felonious monkeys and Theolonius Monkeys!”

We had two favorites, too.  Another of Lee’s originals was the result of a young man hitting on her in a Toronto bar, “Young Enough To Be My Son!” It follows a staccato, rapid-fire rhythm pattern, with Patrick and Andy feeding off each other.  And, the set closes with a rhumba-fied story of love down in New Orleans, at the “Market Place.’  Andy bends off some mighty fine, Berry-fied pickin’ on this one, too.

From her designer Ray-Bans to the perfectly-straight seams of her fishnets, Lee Shropshire and Eight O’ Five Jive keep the humor and sly double-entendres’ of this classic era in music vibrant and alive.  “Too Many Men” is a diverse rave-up of songs that will have something for everyone!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.