John Ginty review…January 21, 2017…

JOHN GINTY

FEAT. ASTER PHEONYX

ROCKERS

AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC

THE SHARK–LUCKY 13–BELIEVE IN SMOKE–TARGET ON THE GROUND–CAPTAIN HOOK–MOUNTAINS HAVE MY NAME–MR. BLUES–WKYA (FEAT. REGGIE NOBLE)–PRISCILLA–ELECTRIC–MAYBE IF YOU CATCH ME–ROCKERS

Jersey native John Ginty can play the Hell outta anything with a keyboard.  We’ve known him for ’bout five years now, and we’ve watched his career take several turns along the way.  He’s toured with the Dixie Chicks, rapped with Redman, played alongside Santana , Robert Randolph, and countless others, as well as releasing three highly-acclaimed solo albums.  His latest outing  finds him teamed with female vocalist Aster Pheonyx, whom he heard on stage at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.  Their outstanding collaboration is entitled “Rockers,” twelve original cuts that further exemplify John’s versatility in adapting his keyboard skills to work within any genre.’  “Rockers” is just that—Aster’s big voice  can go from a Joan Jett-meets-Janis Joplin growl to a Dusty Springfield purr in one note, and these cuts  give both ample room to shine.

John leads off with a stone slab of funk in the tradition of vintage Graham Central Station, the bass-and-keys-driven instrumental strut of “The Shark,” then closes the set  with  the similarly-themed title cut.   In between, John and Aster work their magic on varying degrees of rock interspersed with a bit of blues.

We enjoyed “Mr. Blues,” (wondering  about whom it might have been written), as Aster sings of the man who’s “judge, jury, and executioner,” and who vows to “show them righteous the door!”   John makes good use of his acoustic piano on the somber “Priscilla,” and again over a soulful, testifyin’ vocal from Aster on “The Mountains Have My Name,” giving way to a gospel-inflected organ solo from John at the bridge.

John Ginty remains one of the premier keyboard men on the planet, and is a favorite of ours.  Combining his talents with those of singer Aster Pheonyx makes  perfect sense, and makes “Rockers” a dynamite listen, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Tim Mahoney review…January 19, 2017….

TIM MAHONEY

BROOKLYN

BROOKLYN–HAPPENIN–71–HOLD ON TO YOUR HEART–UNDERSTAND–BILL’S SONG

Astute listeners may recall Tim Mahoney as one of the contestants  back on the very first season  of “The Voice.”  His latest EP, “Brooklyn,” finds him taking an introspective look at his life thru the lyrics and music within these six originals.

Written from his own life experiences, Tim puts his feelings front and center on this set.  The emotions set forth in the leadoff “Brooklyn” finds Tim hopelessly in love, looking for that one person “to stay with me forever.”  The breezy, upbeat “Happenin” is all about that love  so strong  that “time doesn’t mean a thing,” while the somber “Hold On To Your Heart” was written for a friend battling a difficult time in her life, and is set over a sparse piano and strings arrangement.  “Understand” is an uplifting, spiritually-charged reminder to us all to “howl at the moon” and continue to believe in our dreams no matter what, and he closes with “Bill’s Song,” where our hero comes to grips  with “everything turning out wrong, so I give you this song.”

Ever the philanthropist, one of Tim Mahoney’s great passions is the charity work he does for the Gillette Children’s Hospital.  He channels the feelings of love and sympathy throughout the grooves within “Brooklyn,” and looks to the future with a positive attitude, feeling this EP to be the start of something great!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Tom Craig And Soul Patch review…January 16, 2017…

TOM CRAIG AND SOUL PATCH

GET READY FOR ME

SOULPATCHBAND.NET

LOUITA–HOW DID I BREAK THE RULES–GET READY FOR ME–CAN’T STOP THINKING ‘BOUT YOU–SHE DID IT TO ME (SHE’LL DO IT TO YOU)–BALLROOM DANCER–CAPTAIN FUNK–PLEASE FORGIVE ME BABY–TORNADO–I CAN’T HELP MYSELF–NOTHIN’ THAT A MAN CAN’T DO–EVERY WOMAN

Tom Craig was a jazz vocal major in college, and his style owes  much to the crooners such as Mel Torme’ and Ol’ Blue Eyes.  He fell in love with blues and R & B thru the music of the three Kings, Otis, and Pickett.  As such, he and his band, Soul Patch, with  the twelve original cuts that comprise their debut, “Get Ready For Me,” has a little bit of something for every  taste.

Tom, on guitar and vocals, and John O’Connell on drums, have been playing together for the last decade.  Add in the horn section on these cuts, and you have a full, “big band” sound throughout these grooves.  The party starts with the story of “Louita” and her ability to “satisfy my hunger with your lovin’ stuff!”  The horns set up a sweet groove as Tom begs the question to a lover who’s grown cold, “How Did I Break The Rules.”  The title cut is just the opposite, as, with the “New York skyline in my rear view mirror,” he’s “on my way back to you, so Get Ready For Me!”  The swingin’ retro vibe of  of “I Can’t Help Myself,” with the call-and-response chorus may remind some listeners of James Hunter, while Tom gets his slow-blues groove on, with the pleading, plaintive, “Please Forgive Me Baby, all I do is disappoint you.”

We had two favorites, too.  The breezy ode to a one-night stand with a “Ballroom Dancer” sways over a cha-cha beat and begs you to dance along.  A story to which many of us guys can relate is a slab of sage advice to be wary to whom you give your heart.  If she turns out to be a cheat, then you  can tell the next man that “She Did It To Me, she’ll do it to you!”

Tom Craig And Soul Patch will represent the Central Delaware Blues Society in the upcoming  IBC’s.  When you get on that stage, you’ve gotta have something that sets you apart from the other 250 or so acts that will be vying for the same prize.  With a set as varied and enjoyable as “Get Ready For Me,” these guys are set to make a big racket down on Beale!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Derrick Procell review…January 15, 2017…

DERRICK PROCELL

WHY I CHOOSE TO SING THE BLUES

HEAR AND NOW MUSIC

THE WOLF WILL HOWL AGAIN–TROUBLE ME NO MORE–THE EYES OF MISSISSIPPI–WHY I CHOOSE TO SING THE BLUES–THEY ALL FIND OUT–BROKE THE MOLD–AIN’T NUTHIN’ MORE ABOUT IT–SORRY?–WHO WILL TELL LUCILLE–BACK IN THE GAME–DON’T WASTE A WISH ON ME–TOO MUCH (BONUS TRACK)

Derrick Procell’s intention was to write songs along with Grammy-winner Terry Abrahamson for other artists.  But, the  positive feedback from the blues community was overwhelming for the man with the voice that lies somewhere between Delbert and Gregg Allman to make his own record.  Derrick had already made a name for himself with previous sets released in the Americana genre’, but “Why I Choose To Sing The Blues” is his first foray into mainstream blues.  Fans, it is one fine set, indeed.  Derrick and Terry wrote or co-wrote all the cuts herein, and each  man has a way with the lyrics on these cuts, all of them clever with that extra touch of wit and wisdom that only a bluesman can impart to us.

Terry Abrahamson’s ties to the blues community run deep, and several f his friends lend their talent on this album.  You gotta love the cool story-in-song tribute to Chester  Arthur Burnett, “The Wolf Will Howl Again, like the calling of a friend!”  The legendary Eddie Shaw is on second vocal here, adding to this cut’s uniqueness.  Another clever lyric deals with the four “Eyes Of Mississippi,” and how they are “all on you, seeing everything you do,” featuring deep Delta slide from Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin!  And, Billy Branch blows up a storm on the harp as Derrick pleads to the Lord for a chance to get “Back In The Game!”

We had three favorites, too.  A natch’l-born charmer, guilty of “sowing seeds just like a farmer,” has no regrets for anything, and  “ain’t Sorry  at all  for things I can still recall!”  A jumpin’ track built for the dance floor deals with trying to cover your tracks when you cheat on a lover, knowing full well that “Baby, They All Find Out!”  And, the title cut tells us all we need to know about the blues, from “the drone of Bukka White” to “the boogie of John Lee,” and is Derrick’s reason for “Why I Choose To Sing The Blues.”

Want a history lesson on how the blues made it from the Delta to Memphis and up north to Chicago, Detroit, and beyond?  Then let Derrick Procell tell you how the nitro meets the fuse on “Why I Choose To Sing The Blues!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Jack Mack review…January 14, 2017…

JACK MACK

AND THE HEART ATTACK HORNS

BACK TO THE SHACK

SSR FREEROLL RECORDS

STANDING BEFORE THE KING–SOMETHING IN THE WATER–DON’T LET HER GO–NEVER TOO LATE–SOMEBODY TO TRUST–SERVES ME RIGHT–BAD HABIT–CHANGE MY WAYS–AIN’T NO WAY–LET ME IN

Jack Mack is back.  A fine champion (and a pioneer, too!) of “blue-eyed soul,”  the band has just released their latest,  “Back To The Shack.”  It’s ten cuts of nothin’ but powerhouse horn-and-guitar-driven R & B, soul, and blues that Jack Mack’s been playing for lo these last thirty years or so.  Dedicated to the legends that have passed on, such as B. B., Pickett, Solomon Burke and countless others, this set oozes soul from note one.

Featuring Mark Campbell on vocals, Mike Finnigan is on keys on the tale of corporate  and political greed that rings true today, where “who’s got the money’s got control,” “Something In The Water.”  A clever turn on the lyrics is the funky story of a cheatin’ lover, who finds out the hard way that “It Serves Me Right, for doin’ you wrong!”  You gotta love that swampy guitar from Andrew Kastner, too!

The fellows really get down on some classic-styled songs with a feeling, too.  Check out the breezy ode to that special love, “Don’t Let Her Go!”  A man burned at love once is now looking for that “somebody who’s got your back,” that “Somebody To Trust.”  And, when he’s guilty of backslidin’, he mans up and swears, “I’m Gonna Change My Ways,” for a second chance!

We had two favorites that book-ended the set.  Leading off is an acoustic intro that morphs into a full-on blast of R & B as Mark’s vocal recounts how he was introduced to the “sweet Southern comfort” of the blues of B. B., “Standin’ Before The King.”  Melanie Taylor is red-hot on backing vocals as is Carlos Murguia on piano.  He’s on fire on that piano again as the set closes, with Mark begging a lover to “Let Me In.”  This one is done up as a screamin’, shoutin’, testifyin’,  all-out stomper, with all the soul and passion of ol’ Jake Blues when he “saw the light!”

For Jack Mack And The Heart Attack Horns, “if life is a highway, then throw me the keys, ’cause all I can do is ride!”  And, when we all get “Back To The Shack,”  we’ll know sho’ nuff that it’s been one sweet soul ride!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Cary Morin review…January 13, 2017…

CARY MORIN

CRADLE TO THE GRAVE

MAPLE STREET MUSIC AGENCY

CRADLE TO THE GRAVE–LAID BACK–DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT–LAY BABY LAY–MISHAWAKA–MISSISSIPPI BLUES–GHOST DOG–TRUST–BACK ON THE  TRAIN–NOTHING COMPARES 2 U–WATCH OVER ME

Bluesman Cary Morin is Native American, specifically a member of the Crow tribe.  He was born in Billings, MT, and spent his formative years honing his guitar chops in Great Falls.  Touring with bands such as The Atoll and the Pura Fe’ Trio, as well as his solo career, has led to his becoming  one of the premier acoustic fingerpickers on the scene today.  His latest set is entitled “Cradle To The Grave,” and here he fuses folk, the blues, and sounds of his heritage over the course of these eleven songs, eight originals and three excellent covers.

Along with his incredible guitar stylings, Cary possesses a quietly-unassuming yet passionate vocal style.  The set leads off with the title cut, a poignant reminder of both the frailty and brevity of life, and closes with a continuation of that theme, with “Watch Over Me,” bringing the album full-circle.  It’s Cary’s plea to a higher power to “watch over me, for I am only a child” as he travels life’s highway.

Cary’s “protest song”  on this set deals with the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe regarding treaties and promises made by the government throughout history.  He urges them all to “Stand up and fight ’til the Dawn’s Early Light” for their freedoms.  He has a lot of fun with the Delta feel of Willie Brown’s “Mississippi Blues,” and its tales of “moonshine whiskey” and “my old-time used-to-be!”  He takes Phish’s “Back On The Train” and Prince Rogers Nelson’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and breaks them down to their bare essentials, turning each into acoustic, blues-oriented delights!

Cary Morin has toured all over the world, and continues to wow audiences everywhere  with his deft picking and unique, passionate lyrics.  “Cradle To The Grave” powerfully carries on the traditions of his native ancestors as well as the Delta masters!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Kenny Neal review…January 12, 2017…

KENNY NEAL

BLOODLINE

CLEOPATRA BLUES MUSIC

AIN’T GON’ LET THE BLUES DIE–BLOODLINE–PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE–FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY–KEEP ON MOVING–I GO BY FEEL–I’M SO HAPPY–BLUES MOBILE–I CAN’T WAIT–REAL FRIEND–THANK YOU B. B. KING

For Kenny Neal, the roots of the blues run deep, indeed.  His legendary father was Louisiana blues legend Raful Neal, and Kenny proudly carries on the family tradition with perhaps the best album of his career, “Bloodline.”  Produced by Tom Hambridge, the eleven cuts herein detail Kenny’s strong ties to his family as well as his incredible love for the blues.

Kenny’s on guitar and harp throughout, and he features eight family members playing various instruments.  Kenny comes at you right out of the gate just like a fire-and-brimstone Baptist preacher on Sunday morning with “Ain’t Gon’ Let The Blues Die,” name-checking many of the greats who have passed on and vowing to carry this bidness on!  A midtempo groover that offers up some sage advice  and reminds us all to “think twice and speak once” and just use some “Plain Old Common Sense before you jump the fence!”  The poignant minor-key ode to a blind friend from Kenny’s youth who lived his life by this mantra–“I Go By Feel”–is heart-tugging for sure.  And, at the other end of the spectrum is Kenny’s vow to “live my life to the fullest,” “I’m So Happy!”  He’ll be cruisin’ and bluesin’ down life’s highway in a big  ol’ “Blues Mobile,” too,  headin’ up 61 from Louisiana to the Crossroads at 49, then on out west along Route 66!  This one is a righteous boogie, fueled by Kenny’s harp wailin’ away!

We had two favorites, too.  The swampy feel and laid-back groove of the title cut has Kenny recounting tales from his childhood, knowing full well that “the Bloodline runs thru me!”  Closing the set is an all-out, rompin’ and stompin’ tribute to the King of the Blues–“Thank You B. B. King, for paving the way for me!”

Kenny Neal is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, and, on February 12, he may become Grammy winner, as “Bloodline” is one of the five nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album.  Best of luck, Kenny, and thanks for a fantastic set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.