Archive for February, 2017

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.

Lisa Biales review…February 10, 2017…

LISA BIALES

THE BEAT OF MY HEART

BIG SONG MUSIC

DISGUSTED–WHAT A MAN–I DON’T WANNA HEAR IT–BE MY HUSBAND–MESSIN AROUND WITH  THE BLUES–SAID I WASN’T GONNA TELL NOBODY–CRYING OVER YOU–WILD STAGE OF LIFE–DON’T LET NOBODY DRAG YOUR SPIRIT DOWN–ROMANCE IN THE DARK–I SHOULD’VE KNOWN BETTER–BROTHERLY LOVE

Lisa Biales has one of those velvety-smooth vocal styles that lends itself well to a variety of genres’, making her right at home with a rockin’ blues, a shot of gospel, or a jazzy torch song.  That’s what she brings to the table with her ninth album, “The Beat Of My Heart,” and it’s a bountiful musical feast, indeed.  It’s twelve cuts of varied contemporary blues from some of the best songwriters in blues, all with Lisa’s indelible stamp upon them.

This set was produced by Tony Braunagel, who doubles down as drummer throughout, with Johnny Lee Schell on guitars, Jim Pugh on keys,  bassists Larry Fulcher and Chuck Berghofer,  with Larry Taylor on the doghouse bass.  Lisa kicks things off with the horn section setting a big-band groove as Lisa is “Disgusted” with “men trying to make a monkey out of me!”  She changes gears and gets her strut on with the good-time vibe of Dave Crawford’s “What A Man,” then gives a no-good lover the heave-ho with the soulful fun of “I Don’t Wanna Hear It,” and “don’t forget your shoes!”  This one has a nice baritone sax break from Tom Peterson.

She takes every one of us to church with the Sunday morning call-and-response of “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody just what the Lord has done for me!,” then turns in a quietly-somber read of Eric Bibb’s “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” as “we’re walkin’ up to Heaven!”  She closes the set with a universal call for peace and unity against “streets full of danger in a world that’s changing before our eyes,” the poignant “Brotherly Love.”

Our favorite was easy.  Lisa’s mom was singer Alberta Roberts, from whom Lisa learned the nuances of singing.  In 2015, Lisa came across a long-lost 78 RPM  of “Crying Over You,” a sultry torch song from 1947 written and sung  by her mom.  Thanks to modern technology, Alberta sings the first verse from the recording, and Lisa finishes up, as our lovelorn heroine begs the question, “why do I keep singing, I’m really Crying Over You.”  This one shows the stunning similarities in the two women’s voices.

Lisa Biales is a strong, independent woman with a voice to match.  She can handle any material, and sets the bar high with her latest set, “The Beat Of My Heart.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Josh Hyde review…February 9, 2017…

JOSH HYDE

THE CALL OF THE NIGHT

JHR-0069

THE CALL OF THE NIGHT–THE TRUTH–CLOSE–OFFSHORE–IT’S NOT TOO LATE–NEED A LIL MORE–GUITAR IN HAND–MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE–I’VE GOT THIS SONG

Guitarist/vocalist/composer Josh Hyde is a sho’ nuff native son of Louisiana.  Growing up, he spent a lot  of his childhood in Baton Rouge, where he was born,  and New Orleans, where his family moved for a time when he was seven.  He states that,  even as a youngster, The Big Easy left an indelible  musical imprint on him.  That eclectic nature is the common thread running thru the nine original cuts  on his national debut, “The Call Of The Night.”  Josh is on guitar and vocals, and his special guests are just as eclectic as the material.  Also on guitars are producer Joe V. McMahan, Buddy Flett, Tony Daigle, and  the iconic Sonny Landreth.  On keys are James Westfall and another Louisiana institution,  Papa John Gros.

The lyrical content on these cuts reveals John’s honesty  in dealing with a divorce and the passing of his mother,  rewarding listeners with enough balance to show how redemption wins out in the end.  He leads off with the title cut,  as “The Call Of The Night” and the folks who inhabit therein,  “hit you like a slow heart attack.”  The guitar work is exemplary, too, over the laid-back groove.  “Close” shows a more vulnerable side of Josh’s nature, as he begs a younger lover to “please hold me close–I’m a broken soul.”  It follows a marching beat,  and features guitar from Buddy Flett.  “Guitar In Hand” is another of Josh’s poignant tales dealing with life’s other side, as he attempts to cope with a broken love affair with “I’ve got a Bible, I’ve got a glass/one more drink to kill the past.”

We had two favorites, too.  Showing an obvious maturity  well-beyond his years, Josh wrote “Mississippi Bridge” at the age of eleven.  It dealt with his first-hand experience of riding the same Greyhound bus from Alexandria to Baton Rouge every other weekend to visit his mother and his father, who had separated.  And, “Offshore” is an eerie tale of infidelity with pounding percussion as we learn of the woman whose husband works the obligatory two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off shifts on the Gulf Coast oil rigs, and those inevitable visits from the infamous “Jody.”

Music is one of Louisiana’s most popular “exports,” if you will, and Josh Hyde is one of its most impressive and soulful players.  The infectious groove of “The Call Of The Night” cannot be denied.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Marie B. Trout, Ph. D book review…February 8, 2017….

MARIE B. TROUT, PH. D

THE BLUES–WHY IT STILL HURTS SO GOOD

Marie B. Trout, Ph. D, has a real-life doctorate, and she’s got a sho’ nuff honorary one in the blues.  She is the wife and manager of blues performer Walter Trout, and has been for the last twenty-five years or so.  In 2014, Walter had a life-threatening bout with Hepatitis C, and eventually needed a liver transplant to save his life.  During that time, Marie became his 24/7 caregiver.  Up until then,  Marie had been compiling a series of surveys from blues fans just like you and me, as well as industry leaders that would eventually result in this book, “The Blues–Why It Still Hurts So Good.”  While nursing Walter back to health, Marie found that immersing herself into the completion of this book was a cathartic form of release for her.  Thus, this book traces how those surveyed had stated that the blues was just as cathartic to them, and, along the way, we learn the various reasons why.

Marie uses the FACE acronym as one of the tools in the book to explain how folks relate to the blues.  The blues is seen as a source of Fun and entertainment, thru either listening to records or attending live shows.  Its Authenticity is next, as the blues genre’ was borne during an era when African-Americans had been sold as slaves or reduced to sharecropping to eke out a living.  They used the music as a poultice for their souls.  Next is the Connection that fans get from the blues.  We’ve all been there—relationship problems, money woes, or anything that weighs heavy on your mind.  Most fans could relate easily to the angst the singers brought out in the music.  And, there is blues music for Escape purposes.  Many of us have been there, too.  We need something , as Billy Joel once said, “to forget about life for a while,” and  blues music is seen as a healthy outlet in this respect.

There are many more examples that Marie uses to show how the blues is an art form that promotes healing and is a healthy release of emotion.  “The Blues–Why It Still Hurts So Good” is a unique and exciting look at the music we love, and is a must-read for fans everywhere!  Until next time…Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society,

The Soul Of John Black review…February 5, 2017…

THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK

EARLY IN THE MOANIN

CADABRA RECORDS CAT CDB 197604

CAN’T BE HELPED–EARLY IN THE MOANIN–CHICAGO BLUES–CROOKED LEG–CHER–THURSDAY MORNING–DAGGERS–I WISH I WAS MAKIN LOVE–EARLY RISER–SUNSET DRIVE

Guitarist and soul-blues man John Bigham is better-known in the blues community by the moniker The Soul Of John Black.  He began his career playing guitar for El DeBarge, and came into prominence after an eight-year stint with ska-punk band Fishbone, and met the blues at an unlikely Crossroads–while working as a sideman for Miles Davis, John met John Lee Hooker and was struck by how easily the free-form jazz of Davis co-existed with Hook’s endless boogie.  That chemistry is what holds the grooves together in his latest set, “Early In The Moaniin.”  It’s the Delta infused with the inner city, with doses of soul, funk, and even a touch of hip-hop, and is full of unique and eclectic jams.

He leads off with the chugging tale of a love so strong that he “Can’t Be Helped by nobody but you,” but when it all goes south, and turns into an affair “broken into a million pieces,” John can’t help but feel the biting-cold winds of those “Chicago Blues.”  Strong slide guitar simmers over the boiling lust of our two lovers on “Thursday Morning,”  recounting the days leading up to their consummation, but, alas, this too shall pass, and is documented by the soulful, scratchin’ guitars that drive those “Daggers in your eyes” from a woman scorned!

Our favorite was easy.  “Crooked Leg”is a shot of contemporary soul-blues dealing with John’s pursuit of a lover not only endowed with that crooked leg but a “crooked heart” as well.   It’s beat is infectious, and John’s acoustic guitar is the perfect complement.

The Soul Of John Black has not been compromised.  He’s just taken a bit of a sabbatical,  long enough to hit the streets, and come back to us  with these soulful gems that do their best runnin’ ’round “Early In The Moanin!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

The MAXX review…February 4, 2017….

THE MAXX

FUNK BOX

CADABRA RECORDS  CDB 19763

EMERGENCY–I CAN’T DENY I KNOW–ROCK WITH YOU–MEANT TO BE–LOVE IS GONNA GET YOU

The MAXX got their start in Hot “Lanta back in 1980.  They don’t just play good ol’ soul music—they LIVE it!  In the traditions of groups they grew up listening to, these folks bring it old-school, just like Kool and the Gang, The Commodores, Ohio Players, and Graham Central Station used to do it.  Founding members Rod Whittaker on bass and keys, Roc Lovelace on sax, and Steven Rollins on guitar, are now joined by Dwight Smith on drums,  two additional horn men–Andre’ Bernard and Menes Ray–and fiery lady of soul Rainy Middleton, making this seven-piece combo one that really plays this music the way it was meant to be played!

Their latest set is a six-song EP, “Funk Box,” originals that show where this band’s heart is.  Most of the cuts were crafted by the set’s producer, John Bigham, perhaps better-known in the blues community as The Soul Of John Black.  John was a member of Fishbone and a percussionist for Miles Davis, and duets with Rainy on two cuts–the  bouncy, breezy ode to “giving new love a try,” entitled “Rock With You,” and the set-closing cut that dancers won’t be able to resist, “Love Is Gonna Get You!”

The MAXX makes music the way they want to do it, always keeping their creative fires at “MAXX heat!”  They’ve got over three decades of experience, and continue to live out their dreams as high-school students practicing in basements and band rooms.  The results are in–you don’t need any instructions to dance, and “Funk Box” will sho’ nuff get you to steppin’!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

Paul Mark single review…February 3, 2017….

PAUL MARK

AND THE VAN DORENS

HOW DO THE BLIND BECOME SO FAMOUS?

RADIATION RECORDS  RDTN 5955

HOW DO THE BLIND BECOME SO FAMOUS?—REPUTATION TANGO

Paul Mark wrote and recorded these two tracks in 2015, as part of his “Stowawys” project, and, boy, do they both ring resoundingly relevant today.  Paul bills both of these tracks  as “inauguration-ready,”  and “How Do The Blind Become So Famous?” and its companion, “Reputation Tango,” take a long look at the current political landscape, with tongue not always planted  in cheek.

Listed as “alt-cabaret-blues,” Paul’s bombastic vocals are accompanied by piano and accordion on the opening cut, as he introduces us to life imitating art, and brazenly proposes what would happen if “dogs would learn to drive,”  or that “chimps were somehow winning elections,” leaving us all to “suffer through the antics of a few!”  The “B-Side,” if you will,  “Reputation Tango,” deals with the second-rate con artists who would glean ill-gotten gains from an unsuspecting society, and, when busted, reply with a big “I’m sorry,” to “make it all better!”

Paul Mark takes to task those whom he feels have “stupidity” as their “sole qualification,” and gives the lot of ’em an atomic wedgie with “How Do The Blind Become So Famous?” and “Reputation Tango!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Patty Reese review…February 2, 2017….

PATTY REESE

LET IN THE SUN

AZALEA CITY RECORDINGS  ACCD 1602

IS IT TOO LATE FOR ME?–YOUR LOVE–SOUL SATISFIER–I WON’T LET YOU DOWN–OPEN A WINDOW, LET IN THE SUN–GOOD NEIGHBOR–RADIO SONG–AWESOME SAUCE–I HEAR A LIE—DON’T THINK TWICE, IT’S ALRIGHT–GOODBYE

Blues belle Patty Reese has won more “WAMMIES” than you can shake a stick at.  That’s the acronym for Washington (D. C.) Area Music Awards from the Mid-Atlantic region from which she is based.  Her latest set, “Let In The Sun,” shows why she’s also won  national awards for songwriting, as this set features nine originals and two very well-played covers.

Patty has a sweetly-supple voice that easily glides over any genre’, and that is on full display herein.  The set kicks off as Patty begs for salvation as “I lost my way, searching for a happy home,” and wonders, “Is It Too Late For Me?”  This one has some mean and nasty slide from Jonathan Sloane, for that “hellhound on my trail” effect.  The Texas-flavored soul swagger of “Your Love” compares that affection to “the Mardi Gras, and you’re my King Creole!”  The title cut has Patty in a gospel groove, looking for “a better day that’s just begun,” so “Open A Window–Let In The Sun!”  The set closes with a sultry take on the iconic “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” and a poignant read of Steve Earle’s “Goodbye,” with Patty on acoustic guitar.

We had two favorites, too.  First up, Patty gets into that Mardi Gras groove with the second-line patter of “Awesome Sauce,” made from “an ancient recipe” with some “really good juju and the best of me and you!”  Frankly, the whole damn country could use a double shot of this powerful stuff, to “neutralize hate!”  And, the tale of the stuff that makes a “Good Neighbor” rocks with unabashed abandon, making for a sho’ nuff good time!

Patty Reese will be a part of Betsie Brown’s Blind Raccoon Showcase on Thursday, February 2, 2017, at 1:50 PM.  It’s a safe bet that she will be singing cuts from the most excellent “Let In The Sun,” so catch her if you can!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.