Archive for November, 2014

JW-Jones review…November 3, 2014…

JW-JONES

BELMONT BOULEVARD

BLIND PIG RECORDS  BPCD  5162

LOVE TIMES TEN–WATCH YOUR STEP–BLUE JEAN JACKET–COMING AFTER ME–DON’T BE ASHAMED–THANK YOU–MAGIC WEST SIDE BOOGIE–WHAT WOULD JIMMIE DO–IF IT FEELS THIS GOOD TOMORROW–WHAT’S INSIDE OF YOU–NEVER WORTH IT–COCAINE BOY

We’ve been fans of JW-Jones virtually since the start of his career, always being impressed by his ultra-smooth vocals and mastery of the guitar.  He’s won plenty of awards in his native Ottawa, Canada, already, and is poised to break out stateside with his debut for Blind Pig.  It was recorded right here in Nashville, and produced by Tom Hambridge.  It is titled “Belmont Boulevard,”  twelve cuts that feature choice covers mixed with JW’s originals.  And, for this set, his originals are written from personal experiences that he hopes listeners can relate to.

The set starts with the barroom rocker that lets us all know that sometimes we need “Love Times Ten,” to get us thru.  JW’s guitar work is augmented by the cool keyboard work of Reese Wynans.  “Blue Jean Jacket” is a vintage-flavored tale of that one article of clothing that made you feel invincible.  “Coming After Me” is a minor-key, slow blues that has JW feeling that, even tho he’s done nobody wrong, the blues hellhound is still on his trail.  One of JW’s originals deals with a marriage that goes south because “she found another man.”  But, JW is relieved, which is the classic soul theme of “Thank You, baby, for doing me wrong!”

JW’s guitar gets down-and-dirty on a burning take of Buddy Guy’s “What’s Inside Of You,” while we are warned that giving in to excesses is “Never Worth It in the morning!”  Crunching guitars and echo-effect vocals close the set with “Cocaine Boy,” a gritty tale of “growing up hard in fisticuff fights.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Magic West Side Boogie” is a blistering instrumental that owes as much to Sun Records as it does to Magic Sam Maghett.  A humorous ode to one of JW’s guitar heroes, asks the musical question, “What Would Jimmie (Vaughn) Do?”

JW-Jones lays down an undeniable groove throughout this set, both vocally and on guitar.  Here’s hoping “Belmont Boulevard” will introduce him to a world-wide legion of fans!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Lisa Mills review…November 1, 2014…

BETTER THAN THIS/I DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE–I DON’T WANT TO BE HAPPY–I NEED A LITTLE SUNSHINE–I’M CHANGING–EYES SO BLUE–SHAKE IT–TELL ME–I WISH I WAS IN HEAVEN SITTING DOWN–RAIN IN THE SUMMERTIME–TAKE MY TROUBLES–THE TRUTH–LITTLE WING

Singer Lisa Mills is from the Gulf Coast of Alabama, where her musical influences run from blues to pop to soul and to gospel.  And, Lisa has the incredible voice to do them all justice.  It wasn’t that long ago that she toured with Big Brother and the Holding Company, her amazing vocals bringing audiences everywhere the iconic catalogue of Janis Joplin.

Her latest album, “I’m Changing,” is actually a revamped version of tracks recorded in 2005.  Unhappy with the overall  sound, she contemplated re-recording all the vocals, until she turned the project over to producer Trina Shoemaker, the first female to win a Grammy for album engineering.  The results are nothing short of astounding, as Trina’s predominantly-sparse arrangements allow Lisa’s powerful vocals to come to the fore.

The set starts with her soulful take on the tale of a lyin’ lover, telling him “I deserve Better Than This and I Don’t Need You Anymore.”  Rich Hirsch’s sweet electric guitar solo carries the bridge.  “I Need A Little Sunshine” is set over a mid-tempo groove and traces Lisa’s gospel roots as she asks for an “angel from way up high!”  She explores a touch of reggae in “Eyes So Blue,” while, with the renaissance of a new love on the horizon, she vows to  “Take My Troubles off the wall and put ’em on the floor,” in this light, jazzy affair.  Lisa closes the set with a brilliant rendition of  “Little Wing,” augmented by her soul-drenched vocals and Corky Hughes’  slide guitar.

Lisa really shone on her explorations into  the gospel vein.  Hughes’ resonator guitar adds a somber touch to Lisa’s fervent read on “I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down.”  If that one wasn’t spectacular enough, “Tell Me,” one of Lisa’s originals dealing with the struggles along life’s journey, is done completely a cappella.

Lisa Mills’ voice is a beautiful instrument, and she pleases a broad scope of fans thru the ease in which she handles different styles and genres.’  “I’m Changing” has something for everyone from this gifted performer!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.