Isaiah B. Brunt review…July 24, 2016….

ISAIAH B BRUNT

A MOMENT IN TIME

ISAIAH B BRUNT MUSIC

STILL WAITING–SINGING THE BLUES–THAT PLACE ON THE ROAD–LOST JACKET BLUES–MAY I DANCE WITH YOU–TRAVEL BACK IN TIME—PARTY LATE ALL NIGHT–SAME OLD ROAD–A MOMENT IN TIME

Isaiah B. Brunt is a renowned Australian bluesman with a flair for traditional blues recordings.  An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he celebrates all things New Orleans on his latest release, “A Moment In Time.”  These nine originals are a tribute to his adopted hometown, The Big Easy, and feature Isaiah on guitar, lap steel, and vocals, with George Porter, Jr., (of Meters fame) on bass, Doug Delote on drums, and Mike Lemmler on keys.  In somewhat  of a departure from some of Isaiah’s previous recordings, several of these cuts use a brass section, led by sax-meister extraordinaire Jeffrey T. Watkins, adding to the overall NOLA ambience.

He starts the party with an ode to a lost lover, “Still Waiting,” even after “that train had come and gone.”  Mike’s piano adds to the “lonesome” feel of this one, also.  “May I Dance With You” and “Party Late All Night” let the horns do their thing to be sure that the bon temps roulet, and those “Lost Jacket Blues” recounts a fateful night in a bar where Isaiah loses not only his coat, but his “phone, money and car keys, too!”  The set closes with the urgent poignancy of the title cut.  It is sage advice to a nation at a crossroads, where “A Moment In Time will pass us by, but love and kindness will never die.”

Speaking of the Crossroads, that brings us to our favorite.  “That Place On The Road” weaves an eerie tale of “swearing on your soul” to achieve one’s goals,  only to pay the ultimate price.  Smoky Greenwell blows some haunting harp lines in the background  of this story of the place where that last deal sho’ nuff went down!

Isaiah B. Brunt is a world-class musician and storyteller.  His latest set, “A Moment In Time,” brings his passion for New Orleans to vivid life thru the sounds within these grooves!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Jeremiah Johnson Band review…July 22, 2016…

JEREMIAH JOHNSON BAND

BLUES HEART ATTACK

CONNOR RAY MUSIC

MIND READER–ROOM OF FOOLS–FLAT LINE–GET IT IN THE MIDDLE–SUMMERTIME–SKIP THAT STONE–TALK TOO MUCH–SUN SHINE THROUGH–SOUTHERN DRAWL–EVERYBODY PARTY–HERE WE GO AGAIN–IT’S BEEN HARD

Connor Ray Music has belted another one outta the park with the excellent latest release from St. Louis native and now Texas resident, guitarist Jeremiah Johnson.  Yep, he’s named for the legendary movie character!  He grew up in St. Louis, and moved to Houston in 1999, absorbing the sounds of Alvin Lee, Clapton, and Hank Jr. He returned to St. Louis several years back, and is now based out of that city.  His latest set is the follow-up to “Grind,” from 2014, “Blues Heart Attack.”  It is twelve originals that show his love for the sounds of both his “hometowns,” with the emphasis on gritty, blue-collar, roadhouse blues.

Joining Jeremiah on this sweet blues journey is Jeff Girardier on bass, Benet Schaeffer on drums, Nathen Hershey on keys, Frank Bauer on the sax, and Tom “Papa” Ray on the harp.  Jeremiah leads off with a bristling guitar attack, telling a waffling lover that “I ain’t never been a Mind Reader, and I ain’t startin’ with y’all!”  “Skip That Stone” has strong gospel overtures, with a solid Southern-rock feel, and “Everybody Party” is second-line good times boogie all the way, with Frank’s sax in lieu of a squeeze box.  He gets downright funky with the strut of “Sun Shine Through,” featuring fine B-3 from Nathen.  And, perhaps the set’s most powerful piece is an ode to his heritage and upbringing, “Southern Drawl,” name-checking Elvis, Johnny Cash, and “flying the Free Bird.”

We had several favorites, too.  Down at the “Room Of Fools,” you’ll find nothin’ but “Kentucky whiskey, smoke, and pool cues,” mixed in with a bunch of “shoulda been’s and I’m gonna do’s!”  A cat-and-mouse game between two would-be lovers defines the rockin’ boogie of “Get It In The Middle,” and, another roadhouse blockbuster is the sax-fueled story of a woman who “Talks Too Much,” and “the preacher had to put you in the choir!”

Jeremiah Johnson wanted to make an album that looked at the ups and downs and good times and hard times of everyday life.  The passionate sounds of “Blues Heart Attack” bring it all full-circle!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Dennis Gruenling review…July 21, 2016…..

DENNIS GRUENLING

FEATURING DOUG DEMING

AND THE JEWEL TONES

READY OR NOT

BACKBENDER/VIZZTONE RECORDS  VT-BBR-712

KNOCKIN’ MY KNEES–MISSING PERSON–READY OR NOT–SIMMER DOWN–LITTLE SUGAR–IF YOU WANNA ROCK–READY TO BURN–ROCKIN’ WITH THE REV–WON’T YOU COME BACK–OPEN THE DOOR–THINK TWICE–GIVE ME BACK MY HEART–COUNT CHROMATIC

Harmonica master Dennis Gruenling is back with a strong, brand-new collection of all-original tunes, this one entitled “Ready Or Not,” and it, indeed, marks a new direction in his illustrious career.  Always known for his, well, “Badass” harmonica chops, for this set, for the very first time, he takes the vocals  mic as well!  For us, we wonder why he waited so long.  He has the perfect voice for these Fifties-inspired, jump-blues cuts that recall the heyday of Sam Phillips at Sun, Art Rupe at Specialty, and Ernie Young and J. D. Miller down in the swamp at Excello.

Also along for this amped-up blues journey are Doug Deming And The Jewel Tones, with Doug on guitar, Andrew Gohman on bass, and Michael  Bram on drums.  The party starts with the furious-paced rocker, “On My Knees,” an ode to those girls that know just how to “turn a saint into a sinner,” fueled by Doug’s bristling guitar and Dennis’  big ol’ chromatic work.  Echo-effect vocals over a shot of the Hook’s “endless boogie” drives “Missing Person,” while Dave Keyes’ piano is the perfect “spice” to another tune about a special  girl who may be small in stature, but “stands out in a crowd,” “Little Sugar.”

“Don’t play with fire unless you’re Ready To Burn” sounds as if it were a long-lost Excello nugget, and Doug’s Berry-fied licks help Dennis persuade a lover to “open your heart up, baby, and Open The Door!”

We had two favorites, too.  A tom-tom percussion volley leads the way for a tune we should all perhaps sometimes heed.  “Simmer Down” reminds us that, in any situation, it’s best not to be “the first to jump in and first to drown,” but to back off and assess things before losing your cool.   And, in the good-time spirit of Louis Jordan, “If You Wanna Rock, You Got To Have That Roll”—“bank-roll,”  that is!

Dennis Gruenling continues to up the ante on why he is one of the most dynamic harp players on today’s scene.  “Ready Or Not” is just begging you to give it a listen and put on your dancin’ shoes!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Ally Venable Band review…July 18, 2016…

ALLY VENABLE BAND

NO GLASS SHOES

CONNOR RAY MUSIC  CRM  1603

TRAINWRECK–NO GLASS SHOES–WOKE UP THIS MORNIN’–WISE MAN–MESSIN’ WITH THE KID–TOO MUCH TOO SOON–DOWNHEARTED BLUES–LOVE ME LIKE A MAN

The talent of many of today’s young folks is truly amazing.  A case in point is Ally Venable, all of seventeen years old, but with the heart and soul of a blues veteran.  She has just signed with Connor Ray Music, and is set to release the debut from the Houston-based Ally Venable Band, “No Glass Shoes,” on July 22, 2016.

She’s been named East Texas Female Guitarist Of The Year twice now, and is only gettin’ better.  Of the eight cuts herein, she wrote five outright, plus some new music to accompany the lyrics of the Alberta Hunter chestnut, “Downhearted Blues.”  Joining Ally on this ride is Bobby Wallace on guitar, Zach Terry on bass, Elijah Owings on drums, and special guests Steve Krase (the set’s producer) on the harp, and Randy Wall on keys.

She leads off with a fine original shot of blues-rock, the tale of unrequited love where “that train never comes,” aptly-titled “Trainwreck.”  “Woke Up This Mornin’ and realized I was through with you” is a “leavin’ song” at its best, riding that “endless boogie” groove of John Lee Hooker-by-way-of-ZZ Top, while forcing oneself to press on no matter what the obstacles is outlined in “Too Much Too Soon,” embellished by Steve’s harp.

We had two favorites, too.  Ally’s spunky read of ol’ Amos Blakemore’s “Messin’ With The Kid” is the album’s “tour-de-funk,” if you will. (Go check out the YouTube clip of this one!)  And, she certainly doesn’t sound like your typical seventeen-year-old as she gets downright down’n’dirty on a sultry read of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Me Like A Man,” with Steve’s harp and Randy’s keyboard work rounding things out nicely.

Ally Venable is another of those Millenials who are now coming-of-age and who believe that they can succeed at anything.  With a debut as strong as “No Glass Shoes,” her potential is limitless!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Eliza Neals single teaser, July 17, 2016….

ELIZA NEALS

YOU AIN’T MY DOG NO MORE (SINGLE)

E-H RECORDS LLC

Our favorite blues gal from Detroit provided fans with one of our favorite albums from 2015 with “Breaking And Entering!”  Well, the little lady with the BIG voice is back, this time with a message to all you cheatin’ knuckleheads out there who don’t know how to treat a good woman—Eliza will tell you right quick that “You Ain’t My Dog No More!”  Her vocals recall Koko Taylor at her fiercest, and this one cooks with a fiery energy.  Old friend and “usual suspect” Howard Glazer is on slide throughout, and he, frankly, wails just like Mr. Johnson’s proverbial hellhound.

This single is the first salvo from an album forthcoming in early 2017, and, if “You Ain’t My Dog No More” is any indication, it’s gonna be another sho’ nuff sweet blues ride!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

The Paul DesLauriers Band review…July 15, 2016….

THE PAUL DESLAURIERS BAND

RELENTLESS

BIG TOE PRODUCTIONS  BT-PPDB-4013

STEWTRO ROCK (JUST GOT BACK)–I’M YOUR MAN–TEN FEET TALL–STILL UNDER MY SKIN–WIPES AWAY YOUR SIN–UP IN THE AIR–WE JUST MIGHT–IF I STILL HAD YOU–GONNA MAKE YOU MOVE (PT. 1 AND PT. 2)

The Paul DesLauriers Band (you pronounce it “dee loree yay”) burst on the scene with their self-titled 2014 debut, then parlayed that success into a second-place finish in the Band Division of the 2016 IBC’s a few months ago in Memphis.  The roll just keeps getting sweeter for these guys as they have just released “Relentless.”  It’s ten more band originals that show why they are one of contemporary blues-rock’s best trios.  Each of the players are world-class musicians in their own right.  Along with singer-guitarist Paul DesLauriers, there is Greg Morency on the bass, and Sam Harrison on drums, and they possess a delightfully-uncanny musical chemistry.

Paul takes some hard looks at relationships in this instant-gratification age.  In “Ten Feet Tall,” his confusion with a lover is translated thru his guitar lines, knowing that “this game always turns out the same!”  Stabbing, staccato guitar bursts fuel the story of that one girl, who, no matter what, always seems to be firmly-ensconced “Still Under My Skin, with all her sweetness and sin.”

Being based in Canada, these fellows definitely know a little bit about life on the road, too.  “Up In The Air” is a fine shot of contemporary blues-rock dealing with “chasing that Siren’s song,” while Paul’s slide guitar is the star of “Wipes Away Your Sin,” as having your moment on the stage makes it all worthwhile.

We had two favorites, too.  We are sure the crowds and the judges as well down in Memphis loved the Sun-blessed rockabilly zest of  “I’m Your Man,” while the frenzied pace and double-entendre’-filled lyrics of “We Just Might” is perfect for “walkin’ that line between wrong and right!”

With the three members of the Paul DesLauriers Band being such stellar players, the whole is truly greater here than the sum of the parts.  “Relentless” is powerful and well-played original blues that is a winner all the way!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Eddie Turner Live review…July 14, 2016…

EDDIE TURNER AND

TROUBLE TWINS

NAKED…IN YOUR FACE

7-14 PRODUCTIONS

JODY–MISTREATED–SO MANY ROADS–RISE–BURIED ALIVE IN THE BLUES–BLUES FALL DOWN LIKE RAIN–DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD–DANGEROUS–SECRET

Guitarist Eddie Turner has been on our radar for a number of years.  He spent several years with Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth back in the day, and, more recently, as Otis Taylor’s guitarist of choice, as well as a robust solo career.  Thru it all, Eddie has never released a live album, tho.  Enlisting the aid of the Trouble Twins—bassist/vocalist Anna Lisa Hughes and drummer/vocalist  Kelly Kruse, “Naked…In Your Face” lets this power trio unleash all its blues fury on a very appreciative audience at the Blues Can in Calgary, Alberta, last August 22nd.

They start off with a good ole funky read of the age-old story of “Jody,” altho, this time, Eddie gladly “sends you to Jody,  so I can  live my life a righteous kind of man!”  Anna Lisa takes the vocal on her original, the powerful “Mistreated,” with Eddie’s gritty, stinging guitar sounding as if he were sitting in a West Side club in Chi-town rather than live on stage in Canada.  Anna Lisa returns a bit later for the vocal on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” turning this chestnut into a sultry, breathy torch song, as she plays the “girl who’s intentions are good” to the hilt.

Eddie’s original, “So Many Roads,” evokes memories of his days pushing the blues-rock boundary with Otis Taylor’s band, while the pulsating drone of “Rise” comes from his 2005 album of the same name.

We had two favorites, too–one cover and one original.  Eddie’s original, “Dangerous,” is pure Chicago swagger, as Eddie struts and proclaims himself the proverbial “rollin’ stone” with a “juju bone in my pocket!”  Our other was a playfully-funky duet between Eddie and Anna Lisa on Nick Gravenites’  iconifc “Buried Alive In The Blues.”

Eddie Turner and the Trouble Twins, with “Naked…In Your Face,” does exactly what a great live album is supposed to do.  It makes you wanna shout, dance, and, as a great man once wrote, just “forget about life for a while.”  Eddie’s in great form vocally and strings-wise, and this one is highly-recommended listening!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.