Jessie Smith review…February 19, 2017….

JESSIE SMITH

LIKE THE SUN

JESSIESMITHMUSIC.COM

INTRO–LIGHTING UP THE WORLD–JUNKYARD GOD–PAY NO MIND–TROUBLE–HERE WITH YOU–SECRETS IN THE HOLLOW–LET ME COME HOME–IN THE MORNING–SITTING PRETTY–TAKE A CHANCE ON ME–BEEN IN THE STORM

Music City songstress Jessie Smith wants her fans to know that she is taking a darker approach to the dozen originals that comprise her latest album, “Like The Sun.”  Jessie finished college at Belmont here in Nashville, following a stint studying opera at Mercer, and her supple, rich voice takes this material all over the musical map, exploring classic soul, blues, Americana, and even a touch of gospel.

“In The Morning” covers Jessie’s outlook on life–“Like The Sun, I rise”–and she meets each challenge head-on  She wants us to join her in feeling the various emotions that run thru these cuts.  She wears her heart  on her sleeve on the piano-heavy ballad that is her ode to true love, “what I want is to be “Here With You.”  But, we learn quickly that nothing lasts forever, and, when it all goes south, she’s on her knees, begging to “Let Me Come Home–I got no more miles left in these worn-out shoes.”  She lets us all know that “you can’t run from Trouble–there ain’t no place that far,’ and addresses everyone’s skeletons in their closets, with the foreboding stomp of those “secrets that never stay Secrets In The Hollow.”

Our favorite was easy.  Everybody says the economy is robust, but try selling that to the folks who are still “just another face in the unemployment line,” the poignant, piano-and-slide-guitar-driven “Take A Chance On Me.

Jessie Smith uses her voice and the material in “Like The Sun” to lead us on a journey of the trials and tribulations of the human spirit.  She also knows that, if you persevere and stay true to yourself, you’ll find the light of redemption at the end of the tunnel!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Beth Garner review…February 19, 2017….

BETH GARNER

SNAKE FARM

THE MUSIC OF NASHVILLE/CEN/RED DIST.

ALRIGHT BY ME (MR. FISHER)–BACKROADS FREDDIE–DROP DOWN–USED TO BE–RAMBLIN’ MAN–SNAKE FARM–WISH I WAS

Singer/guitarist/composer Beth Garner grew up around the Austin, TX, music scene, before moving to Algood, TN in 2007.  There, she began to hear about the goings-on down on Lower Broadway here in Nashville, and soon, that lure to play for the crowds that inhabit the honky-tonks there brought her here to stay.  Beth was sort of a rare commodity in these parts–a female vocalist who doubled on lead guitar.  She paid her dues in those Broadway bars, and was also a  regular player at Carol Ann’s, a Murfreesboro Road eatery known for its weekly jams that were decidedly more blues and R & B oriented.

Her new CD, “Snake Farm,” showcases many of her varied musical influences from Austin to Nashville and everywhere in between over the course of six originals and one cover.  Beth is on vocals, lead, and slide guitar, with Rory Hoffman on sax, keys, and rhythm guitar, Wes Little on drums, Steve Forrest on bass, and Angela Primm and Gale Mayes on backing vocals.

Leading off is the funky groove of “Alright By Me (Mr. Fisher),” with a structure that keeps her guitar at the forefront, as she takes two  choruses at the bridge.  “Backroads Freddie” is her ode to late-night rendezvous everywhere, always with “the one mama warned you about.”  Beth’s slide rolls all over the Southern-rock chug of her “Ramblin’ Man,” who “likes my clothes on the floor!”  She closes the set with a call to go back to “the good old days” with “Wish I Was,” featuring an extended slide workout.

We had two favorites, too.  In the houserockin’  traditions of Elmore James and Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor,  Beth looks for that “old time Used To Be,” with one blistering run after another!  And, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Beth channels her inner John The Revelator with the Doomsday groove of “Drop Down if you wanna get to Heaven—Judgement Day’s a’ comin”!

Beth Garner will play B. B. King’s on February 28 at 6:30 PM, then heads over to Grimeys and The Basement for a 9 PM show, as a part of Nashville’s New Faces night.  She returns on March 1 to play The Country at 6 PM.  Come out and show  some love  to this fine lady of Nashville blues in support of “Snake Farm!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

Lazy Eye review…February 16, 2017…

LAZY EYE

POCKET THE BLACK

LIVE AT CHAPEL LANE

KEEPIN’ FROM LOVIN’–POCKET THE BLACK–BACK THE WAY I CAME–LET ME DOWN EASY–MUCHO JALAPENO–SHACK O’ MINE–DO YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS–TREAT YOUR LOVER RIGHT–IT AIN’T RIGHT–SWING FOR MARZ

The Lazy Eye Band hail from waaaayyy down under in South Australia, and the Hammond B-3-led trio follows a delightful trend of recent releases from similar players including John Ginty, The Starlite Campbell Band, and Jams Hunter, all of whom use the keys as an integral part of their  signature sound.  Evan Whetter is on vocals, organ, and harp, Erica Graf is on guitar, and Mario Marino is on drums, and both handle backing vocals.  The ten-cut album is entitled “Pocket The Black,” and was recorded “live,” if you will, in front of a select few fans in the Chapel Lane Studios in Adelaide.

They begin with Erica setting up a loping groove, as Evan brings the B-3 into the fray over his vocal on “Keepin’ From Lovin You.”  The title cut has everyone in a jazzy mode with this tune’s not to billiards, as “you looked me in the eye and Pocket The Black,” while “Mucho Jalapeno” is a breezy, light instrumental.

Everybody gets their slow-groove on with Evan begging the musical question, “Do You Know How It Feels to miss the one you love,?” and again with a request of a lover to “Let Me Down Easy, baby, let me down nice!”

We had two favorites, too.  You gotta love that infectious Diddley-beat that drives the story of that “little wooden Shack O’ Mine!”  And, Erica on acoustic guitar with Evan on harp take a ten-thousand mile journey down to the Delta for the sweet country-blues of a song that is sage advice for us all, “Treat Your Lover Right.”

Lazy Eye and “Pocket The Black” won the 2016 Album of the Year award in the Adelaide Roots And Blues Association, and is nominated for the same award in the 2017 Australian Blues Music Awards.  They’ve got serious style and class, and really play the blues with a feeling!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Thornetta Davis review…February 15, 2017…

THORNETTA DAVIS

HONEST WOMAN

SWEET MAMA MUSIC

WHEN MY SISTER SINGS THE BLUES–I GOTTA SANG THE BLUES–THAT DON’T APPEASE ME–SET ME FREE–AM I JUST A SHADOW–I NEED A WHOLE LOTTA LOVIN TO SATISFY ME–I’D RATHER BE ALONE–I BELIEVE (EVERYTHING GONNA BE ALRIGHT)–SISTER FRIENDS INDEED–GET UP AND DANCE AWAY YOUR BLUES–CAN WE DO IT AGAIN–HONEST WOMAN–FEELS LIKE RELIGION

She’s got the sass of Eartha Kitt, the wang dang doodle of Koko Taylor, and the Sunday-morning fire of Aretha.  She is one of Detroit’s finest blueswomen, Thornetta Davis.  Her latest set is entitled “Honest Woman,” twelve originals and one cut written and sung by her sister  Felicia, all which explore her deep roots in blues, R & B, and gospel.

Leading off is Felicia, who’s backed by the lonesome slide guitar of Brett Lucas, as sis tells us that “When My Sister Sings The Blues, she sings like Bessie Smith and Sippie Wallace!”  It segues’ into Thornetta’s autobiographical “I Gotta Sang The Blues,”  fueled by harp and duet vocals from Kim Wilson!

In the tradition of contemporary artists such as Nellie Travis and Denise LaSalle, she gives a cheatin’ lover the boot, as “your sorry’s ain’t sincere,” and “That Don’t Appease Me.”  She gets her slow-groove on and tells another one that “I’d Rather Be Alone than be lonely with you!”  This one’s full of sass and brass, with a cool spoken-word intro.

She turns in a fine N’ Awlins-flavored story about the fact that “I Need A Whole Lotta Lovin’ To Satisfy Me,” and rides the gospel blinds of the endless boogie of “I Believe Everything Gonna Be Alright.”

We had two favorites, too.  Thornetta visits classic soul with the title cut, finally giving up one-night-stands and “Mr. Good Time” for the true love that made an “Honest Woman out of me!”  And, the horn section and backing chorus over Thornetta’s jumpin’ vocal orders us all to “get on up and Dance Away Your Blues!”

Thornetta Davis has been a driving force on the Detroit blues scene for over twenty-five years .  She’s got a great voice and a style that pleases crowds everywhere she plays, while staying true to her blues roots.  That qualifies her a a sho’ nuff “Honest Woman!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

Kathy And The Kilowatts review…February 13, 2017…

KATHY AND THE KILOWATTS

LET’S DO THIS THING!

LECTRO FINE RECORDS

LET’S DO THIS THING!–CALL ME MRS. BLUES–TALKING OUT OF MY HEAD–10 MOST WANTED–LOVE CAME KNOCKING–READ ‘EM AND WEEP–BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS–EACH KISS–ONE LIE LEADS TO ANOTHER–SPELL IT OUT—I WANT TO–EXCEPTION TO THE RULE–THESE LONELY HOURS–YOUR BARN DOOR’S OPEN–LOVEAHOLIC

Kathy Murray has been an integral part of the Austin music scene for four decades, sneaking into the Armadillo World Headquarters at sixteen, and later sharing the stage with all of the greats, from SRV, to the T’Birds and Doyle Bramhall, Sr., and a host of others.  Her vocal style may remind some folks of a cross between Wanda Jackson and “Miss Lou Ann” Barton, and Kathy, her husband, (guitarist Bill Jones), and the rest of The Kilowatts have just released fifteen originals entitled “Let’s Do This Thing!,” on Lectro Fine Records.

Over the course of this album, Kathy fulfills her stated purpose of creating blues songs in the styles that influenced her, which covers dang near everything, from blues, rock, Tex-Mex, swamp pop, country, zydeco, and much more.  And, by the way, you’ll be dancing your collective asses off all the way thru!!

The butt-rockin’ starts with the leadoff tale of a “good rockin’ daddy,” “Let’s Do This Thing!”  A cool horn section punches up the pledge of “love forever more” where “Each Kiss is better than the one before,” and sticks around for the “grammatically-correct” “Spell It Out!”

Kathy’s numerous influences make her a cinch with a torch song, too.  “Beautiful Moments In Time”and “These Lonely Hours would be my company” are excellent examples.  And, “10 Most Wanted” hits close to home for Kathy and her work with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Seedlings Promise Program, to help keep an “unwanted child” from becoming “a wanted man.”

You can’t deny the good-time vibe, tho.  Check out the story of a woman with a problem—“every time I love, I lose, so  they “Call Me Mrs. Blues.”  But, she turns the tables on the poker-themed walkin’ lope of “Read  “Em And Weep–the king of hearts is in my hand!”

Kathy Murray And The Kilowatts are doing their level best to keep that strong Austin connection thriving, and “Let’s Do This Thing!” will draw you straight to the dance floor!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Corey Ledet review…February 12, 2017…

COREY LEDET

AND HIS ZYDECO BAND

STANDING ON FAITH

CPL-009

INTRO–PUSH ME AWAY–LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD–STANDING ON FAITH–TAKE ME THERE–NEW YORK CITY–A GOOD DAY–STREET  LIGHT

Zydeco innovator Corey Ledet has been playing professionally since he was ten years old, drumming for Wilbert Thibodeaux and the Zydeco Rascals in his hometown of Houston.   It’s in his DNA–his grandfather was the legendary Buchanan Ledet, drummer for Clifton Chenier.  Corey is also adept on accordion,  and frottoir, and is a very soulful vocalist.  He’s been a student of the zydeco genre’ his entire life, and, for his ninth album, “Standing On Faith,” wanted to do something just a little different.  A bandleader for the last fourteen years, he is joined on this set by co-producers Cecil Green, on keys, and Jesse DelGrizzi on guitar, bass, Moog, and vocals.

On this set, Corey takes the traditional sounds and themes of zydeco and injects them with soul, blues, R & B, reggae, and gospel.  He likened it to being a chef, and using “a little of this, and a little of that” to achieve his desired sound.

Leading off after the Moog-influenced “Intro,” is a classic “kiss off” song, done up bayou style,  as he asks his lover “don’t know why you want to Push Me Away,”  so “there’s the door!”   “Love Never Felt So Good” is presented herein as a breezy, gliding instrumental that cleverly mixes zydeco, funk, and soul.  “New York City” is a rapid-fire dance-floor burner set over a smokin’ groove in the style of Clifton Chenier.  “A Good Day” mixes Corey’s accordion over a reggae-calypso beat  as Corey wishes “this day would never end!”

Our favorite was the title cut.  Corey uses a neo-traditional zydeco arrangement to convey his thanks to our Lord for his many blessings, including his “talents, gifts, family and friends,” and is “in His hands every day,” forever “Standing On Faith.”

Corey Ledet was nominated for a Grammy for a 2013 collaboration with Andre’ Thierry and Anthony and Dwayne Dopsie, entitled “Nothin’ But The Best.”  He continues to keep the timeless traditions of zydeco alive, mixing them with strong contemporary sounds that permeate the good-times vibe of “Standing On Faith.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Scott Ramminger review…February 11, 2017….

SCOTT RAMMINGER

DO WHAT YOUR HEART SAYS TO

ARBOR LANE MUSIC  ALM 3121165

LIVING TOO FAST–SOMEONE NEW TO DISAPPOINT–HOPING THAT THE SUN WON’T SHINE–GIVE A PENCIL TO A FISH–WINTER IS ALWAYS WORSE–GET BACK UP–IT’S HARD TO BE ME–MYSTERY TO ME–OFF MY MIND–I NEED A NEW ONE–WALK A LITTLE STRAIGHTER–MY GIRL FOR LIFE–STUBBORN MAN

Saxman Scott Ramminger was born in Huntsville, AL, graduated from UT-Knoxville, and spent 35 years in the D. C. area.  He took his sax and headed down to the Big Easy and the former Fudge Studios, and invited a ton of his best friends to drop by and add their talents to his latest, a varied musical gumbo called “Do What Your Heart Says To,” for Arbor Lane Music.

The core band has Scott on sax and vocals, and features Doug Belote and Johnny Vidacovich on drums, George Porter, Jr., and Roland Guerin on bass, Shane Theriot on guitar, and David Torkanowsky on keys.

Scott is like us in that he listened to all kinds of music growing up, and his versatility is all over these fourteen originals. Add in the special guests, and this one is a sweet party on a platter, indeed!  The pitfalls and pratfalls of trying to “hang on to love”  are a recurring theme throughout this set.  A Mardi Gras rhythm patern propels the leadoff cut as Scott’s new lover is Hell-bent on changing him, and, just in time, he realizes, “I like Living Too Fast,” with an assist from Tommy Malone on vocals.  The somber story of a shattered love affair features Delaney and Bonnie’s baby girl, Bekka, Bramlett,  as they seek solace in “Hoping That The Sun Won’t Shine.”  When “your mind is tired and your soul is weak,” the best thing to do “Get Back Up!”  This funky groove has Shane’s guitar doin’ the scratchin’, and the McCrary Sisters harmony vocals giving this one a good gospel feel.   The Sisters return a little later for Scott’s rockin’, Delbert-flavored look at a near-death experience, and he swears to “Walk A Little Straighter while I’m walkin’ around down here!”

We had two favorites, too.  Bekka adds duet vocals on a sly-and-sexy, fun tune about folks who’s habits will never change, and go looking “down at that little ol’ rock and roll joint for Someone New Tom Disappoint!”  And, Scott is joined by Janiva Magness on an upbeat story of a man constantly looking over his shoulder, because “It’s Hard To Be Me, coming up with these lies!”

Have a steak, or a bowl of kale?  How ’bout a bourbon or a ginger ale?  Sometimes, you just gotta take Scott Ramminger’s advice and “Do What Your Heart Says To!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.