Archive for March, 2017

Delta Moon review…March 30, 2017…

DELTA MOON

CABBAGETOWN

LANDSLIDE RECORDS  12017

ROCK AND ROLL GIRL–THE DAY BEFORE TOMORROW–JUST LUCKY I GUESS–COOLEST FOOLS–REFUGEE–MAD ABOUT YOU–DEATH LETTER–21ST CENTURY MAN–CABBAGETOWN SHUFFLE–SING TOGETHER

One of the really cool things about Atlanta-based blues quartet Delta Moon is the guitar tandem of Tom Gray and Mark Johnson, each of whom trade vocals and guitar parts throughout their latest set for Landslide Records,  “Cabbagetown.”  Franher Joseph is on bass, and Marlon Patton is on drums as the fellows romp thru nine originals and one really sweet cover of a mix of blues, roots, and even a touch of gospel.

The biography of many a rocker is laid out in the opening cut, “Rock And Roll Girl,” where “I tried to fit in, but I never really did,” so “I joined a rock and roll band!”  Mark is on lap steel on this one.  The age-old adage of “nothing beats a failure but a try” is the theme of The Coolest Fools,”  with those ultra-cool twin guitars doin’ their collective thing!  Society’s obsession with gadgetry and instant gratification is the story of the “21st Century Man,” while Marlon’s uptown funk backbeat puts a sho’ nuff new spin on Son House’s ol’ “Death Letter-now, how do you reckon that letter read?,” with well-placed harp from Jon Liebman.

We had two favorites, too.  Undoubtedly, the set’s most topical and powerful cut is “Refugee.”  A brooding, thunderous beat sets the backdrop for a series of spoken-word verses from the band members, as each boldly represents members of an oppressed society seeking safe haven  in a strange land.  And, just as sure as the sunrise promises the salvation of a new day, the lively instrumental, “Cabbagetown Shuffle,” is a refreshing blast of Delta-fied, old-time gospel, with Tom on Hawaiian guitar and Mark on slide.

Delta Moon won the IBC’s in 2003, and Tom Gray was named the American Roots Music Association Blues Songwriter of the Year in 2008.  Unique dual slide guitar arrangements and strong songwriting define “Cabbagetown” as a fine listen, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Eric Bibb review…March 28, 2017…

ERIC BIBB

MIGRATION BLUES

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1395

REFUGEE MOAN–DELTA GETAWAY–DIEGO’S BLUES–PRAYIN’ FOR SHORE–MIGRATION BLUES–FOUR YEARS, NO RAIN–WE HAD TO MOVE–MASTERS OF WAR–BROTHERLY LOVE–LA VIE C’EST COMME UN OIGNON–WITH A DOLLA’ IN MY POCKET–THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND–POSTCARD FROM BOOKER–BLACKTOP–MORNIN’ TRAIN

Eric Bibb is one of our favorite artists, a true world-traveling troubadour.  He returns to the contemporary blues arena with a scintillating collection of originals and covers, entitled “Migration Blues,” for Stony Plain Records.

In Eric’s mind, we are all refugees of some sort, migrating to somewhere for a reason—be it the promise of employment, to escape persecution, or, just to pursue one’s dreams—and the music on this set embodies that ideal.  The arrangements on these songs are sparse and respectful, altho they convey an urgent, powerful message.  Eric is on vocals and guitars, with a core group of Michael Jerome Brown on guitars, fiddle, and backing vocals, JJ Milteau on harps, and Ollie Linder on drums.

The opening track sets the tone for the remainder of the set.  Eric’s vocal and JJ’s plaintive harp on “Refugee Moan” explain the plight of those willing to risk it all in search of the “Promised Land,” while on the “Delta Getaway,” you can’t get any plainer than Eric’s belief that “it’s not God’s will to keep the black man down,” but the “evil Jim Crow laws” of the pre-Civil Rights era segregated South.  That same theme reappears as Eric covers Dylan’s “Masters Of War,” where those who “build all the bombs,” “hide behind walls,” and “build to destroy” will one day pay their own ultimate price.

Michael, on fiddle, and JJ, on harp, offer up a sprightly instrumental, “La Vie C’est Comme Un Oignon,” in tribute to the Acadians forced out of their homes in the Canadian Maritime Provinces during the French And Indian War.  They eventually settled nearly a continent away, in Louisiana, becoming known as Cajuns.  The set closes with the redemption of the traditional “Mornin’ Train,” where Eric and Ulrika Bibb sing “all my sins have been taken away,” bringing the set full-circle.

In today’s troubled society, Eric Bibb reminds us that prejudice, fear, and ignorance are the real problems–not the courageous souls that make up the characters and events chronicled in the compelling songs of “Migration Blues.”    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

The Hector Anchondo Band…March 27, 2017…

THE HECTOR ANCHONDO BAND

ROLL THE DICE

HECTOR ANCHONDO MUSIC

DIG YOU BABY–MASQUERADE–FACE IT DOWN–SOMETIMES BEING ALONE FEELS RIGHT–THAT’S HOW IT ALL GOES–JUMP IN THE WATER–BLACK MAGIC WOMAN–ON YOUR MIC, GET SET, SING–HERE’S TO ME GIVING UP

Hector Anchando hails from Omaha, NE,  and, like many young bluesmen, was drawn to the sound of a Fender Stratocaster as well as the heroes who went along with that sound–Jimi, SRV, EC, and many others.  But also, his homeland gave him a sweet appreciation for the country guys, too.  All these threads run thru not only his guitar stylings but his songwriting, too.  Everything is on full display on the nine originals and one cover (that is sho’ nuff  DA BOMB) on his latest album, “Roll The Dice.”  Hector’s on guitar and vocals, with Khayman Winfield on drums, Josh Lund on bass, and Justin Shelton on the harp.

They don’t waste any time, either.  A chugging, “endless boogie” riff plus the engaging talents of the lovely Samantha Fish  drive the opening story of two lovers, both lookin’ for “that same thing,” but neither one wants “no one messin’ ’round on me,” entitled, “Dig You Baby.”  Justin’s harp sets the tone next, as Hector tells everyone that “what you see is what you get,” and “I ain’t livin’ life like a Masquerade.”  He busts out a mean solo at the bridge, too.

Like we said a little earlier, Hector’s not afraid to show off his varied influences on these cuts, either.  Check out the Fifties-inspired rockin’ blues of “Face It Down,” and the surf-rhumba-twang of coming to grips with a lover who plain “don’t want you no more,”  “That’s How It All Goes.”

For us, the band saved the best for last.  The set-closer is a cool, “the bar closes at 3 AM” kind of groove, real slow and easy, where Hector has had it with a lover—“I’ve got to get over you, so Here’s To Me Giving Up.”  And, a dazzling intro segues’ into that unmistakable riff of Peter Green’s “Black Magic Woman,”  Hector treats this song with the utmost respect, turning it into a seven-minute guitar tour-de-force, with Justin getting in some rhumba-rockin’ harp at ’bout the halfway point.

The Hector Anchondo Band sho’nuff made it to the worldwide Elite Eight at the 2016 IBC’s in Memphis.  That has catapulted him into a seriously-creative period, culminating with the material in this set.  Come on, folks—“Roll The Dice” with this exciting blues band!   Until next time……Sheryl and Don Crow.

Reverend Peyton review….March 26, 2017…

REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND

FRONT PORCH SESSIONS

FAMILY OWNED RECORDS/THIRTY TIGERS  FOR001

WE DESERVE A HAPPY ENDING–WHEN MY BABY LEFT ME–SHAKY SHIRLEY–WHAT YO DID TO THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT–ONE BAD SHOE–IT’S ALL NIGHT LONG–ONE MORE THING–FLYING SQUIRRELS–LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE–WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR MONEY–CORNBREAD AND BUTTERBEANS

Reverend Peyton grew up in rural southern Indiana, and always had a love for vintage folk, country, gospel, and blues.  He’s even made pilgrimages to Clarksdale to study with the likes of Robert Belfour, T-Model Ford, and Honeyboy Edwards.  One of his earlier albums even paid tribute to one of his favorite artists, Charlie Patton, with “Peyton On Patton.”

As such, the title of his latest album pretty much says it all.  The “Front Porch Sessions” evoke a feeling of sitting on the Rev’s porch and lettin’ the music flow.  The Big Damn Band are on board, too, albeit in perhaps a lesser capacity than on previous outings.  We still have the Rev’s wife, Washboard Breezy, on the frottoir and backing vocals, and Maxwell Senteney is the drummer, on a suitcase kit.    The set was recorded literally down the road apiece from the Rev’s house, at Bloomington’s Farm Fresh Studio, located in an old church building.

The Reverend brings a strong sense of urgency to these songs, while maintaining a measure of “havin’ a good time,” too.  His booming voice and emotional guitar lines lead the charge, and his original songs are written within the contexts and themes of the old-school masters that he has studied all his life.

Leading off is an upbeat shot of hope and positivity for a nation at the crossroads, “We Deserve A Happy Ending.”  He turns that big voice loose on Furry Lewis’ “When My Baby Left Me, it hurt so bad, it hurt my feet to walk,” then  hits a Hill-country stride with the juke joint stomp of “What You Did To The Boy Ain’t Right.”

Blues borne of hard times are the themes of “One Bad Shoe,” and the somber tale of a family down on their luck, where just “One More Thing, and we lose our house!”  His guitar takes on an almost-pleading tone on this one, as the family struggles to find a measure of comfort.  And, no bluesman worth his salt would sing about Saturday night without offering a nod to Sunday morning, and Reverend Peyton is no different.  Here, he offers a sweet, uplifting read of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Let Your Light Shine.”

The Rev is really proud of the “Front Porch Sessions,” as he should be, and touts it as one of the best things he’s ever done.  He is on an extensive tour for this set, having played a free in-store show at Grimey’s Records in Nashville on March 14.  If you want some real-deal blues from one of the best traditional trios on the planet, catch Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band when they come to your town!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

Adrianna Marie review…March 25, 2017…

ADRIANNA MARIE

AND HER ROOMFUL OF ALL STARS

KINGDOM OF SWING

VIZZTONE  VT-AM625

KINGDOM OF SWING–BETTER BEWARE–SIDECAR MAMA–MOOD INDIGO–3 AM BLUES–GIMME A ROOMFUL–MEMPHIS BOOGIE–DRIVE ME DADDY–BABY I GOT YOU–JUMP WITH YOU BABY–THE BLUES ARE BREWIN–ONE SWEET LETTER–T-BONE BOOGIE–BLUES AFTER HOURS

Adrianna Marie takes us back to a time when the bands were big, the singers were the thing, and the airwaves and turntables were ruled by the Count, the Duke and Goodman, the kings of swing.  Adrianna has a big, bold voice tailor-made to front a modern-day big band, and, on her sophomore release, “Kingdom Of Swing,” for Vizztone Records, she struts her considerable chops over fourteen cuts of originals and well-chosen covers that run the gamut from jump blues to torch songs, to straight, no-chaser blues.  And what a mighty big band sets up behind her.  Her Roomful Of All-Stars include that “other” Duke, Robillard, who produces and adds guitar and vocals on one cut, Bob Corritore, Junior Watson, Brian Fahey, Al Copley, Kedar Roy, L. A. Jones, and all the usual suspects of that great Roomful horn section.

Another plus on this set is the fact that all the songs are arranged for every player to get in some serious solo time, built around Adrianna’s vocals.  She kicks off with one of her originals, a biography of sorts of this music, “Kingdom Of Swing,” where she name-checks all the legends while the horns keep things cookin’.  Want some jump-blues?  Then, “pick me up, Daddy, and take me for a ride,” the whimsical romp that is “Sidecar Mama,” punctuated by Al’s straight 88’s!

Adrianna can get into a “starry-eyed and dreamy” torch-song mood, too, as evidenced with the sweet and sultry “3 AM Blues,” “The Blues Are Brewin,” and a stylish read of the rarely-covered “Mood Indigo.”  And, a band of this magnitude simply HAS to show what they’re all about, so they close the set with a killer instrumental, the classic “Blues After Hours,’ with L. A. Jones on guitar.

We had two favorites, too, at the opposite ends of the blues rainbow.  First up, Adrianna and the boys take us on a little trip westward, to get a taste of that good ‘ol “Memphis Boogie,” and it jumps double-time throughout!  And, on the set’s most traditional blues cut, Adrianna’s vocal and Bob Corritore’s harp transform Helen Humes’ double-entendre’-filled, sly-and-sexy “Drive Me Daddy” into a showcase for our “high-powered mama, with plenty of octane to burn!”

Adrianna Marie has got it all–sass, brass, and a whole lotta class, with a voice that makes the grooves on “Kimgdom Of Swing” literally come to life!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Jim Gustin and Truth Jones review…March 24, 2017…

JIM GUSTIN AND TRUTH JONES

MEMPHIS

SELF-RELEASED

HALF PAST TEN–LIVE WITH YOURSELF–MEMPHIS–YOU KNOW ME TOO WELL–I LOVE WHAT I GOT–BIG HEARTED WOMAN–CRAZY LITTLE WOMAN–I AIN’T PLAYING–SLIPPING AWAY–RIGHT TIME FOR GOODBYE

Jim Gustin is a deep-voiced blues singer, guitarist, and composer from Santa Clarita, CA, and has been gigging in and around the Los Angeles area for some thirty years.  His performing partner is Truth Jones, (real name: Jeri Goldenhar), who, at over six feet in stature, possesses an equally-impressive  voice, giving them a “dyno-mite” presence as a duo.  Their latest album is “Memphis,”  ten originals that prove to be a clever mix of various genres’, all staying true to their blues roots.  Nowhere is that ideal more on display than in the leadoff cut, “when it’s half-past two, baby where are you,” you know things are ’bout to crash in a classic kiss-off song, “Half Past Ten.”

The whole group makes clever use of the second-line rhythm pattern throughout this set, too.  First up is Truth on the lead vocal over Jim’s slide as she tells the tale of a love affair beyond repair, where the best thing you can do is “Live With Yourself.”  Jim takes the lead vocal as that rhythm pattern rides his story of a man counting his blessings, ’cause “I Love What I Got.”  The third example of that teasing rhythm is a dance-floor burner, too.  “Crazy Little Woman” rocks all over the place, ’cause “she loves me ’till the break of day!”

We had two favorites, too.  The title cut finds someone asking Jim “what do you know about the blues, living in the sunshine of L. A.?”  His answer?–“I’ve never been to Memphis, but everybody gets the blues, no matter where you’re from!”  The set closes on a dazzlingly-powerful note.  Jim and Truth duet as the tortured lovers who realize that “if it’s not the right time to say I love you, then it’s The Right Time for goodbye.”

Jim Gustin and Truth Jones each have their own distinctive styles, and, when combined, indeed make  the whole greater than the sum of the parts!  See for yourself as you take a little ride down to “Memphis.”     Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Johnny Mastro review…March 23, 2017…

JOHNNY MASTRO AND MAMA’S BOYS

NEVER TRUST THE LIVING

SELF-RELEASED

SNAKE DOCTOR–WHISKEY–JUDGEMENT DAY–MONKEY MAN–DON’T BELIEVE–HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN–WALKING–NEVER TRUST THE LIVING–BUCKSNORT ANNIE–THE SAD NIGHT OWL–INDRID COLD

Johnny Mastro And Mama’s Boys have been based out of New Orleans for quite a while now, but they formed way out west at the legendary Babe’s And Ricky’s Inn in Los Angeles.  It was there that club owner “Mama” Gross encouraged them to forge their own unique sound as long as it stayed true to the roots of the blues.  Well, the fellows have done just that.  With Johnny on harp and vocals, Smoke on guitar, Dean Zucchero on bass, and Rob Lee on drums, they have just released “Never Trust The Living,” eleven cuts of originals and covers , which were laid down in the summer of 2014 at The Music Shed in New Orleans.

These songs all have a lot in common with the Big Easy, because they forge many elements of blues and rock together for a swampy-yet-futuristic sound.  You’d swear that some of these cuts were long-lost gems from the vaults of Jay Miller’s  Excello Records, thanks to the echo-laden arrangements.  Such is the case with the leadoff cut, the slide-and-harp stomp of  “Snake Doctor,” which, for us blues fans, is just what the gris-gris man ordered, climaxing with an outta-this-world slide solo!  Next up is the curious case of the girl in the “long white dress,” who’s “on the Whiskey now!”  It follows a cool, loping beat with crackling guitar-harp interplay from Smoke and Johnny.

“Don’t Believe” is some sweet slow-blues, while “Walking” has Johnny toeing that line, “straight home to you,” as Smoke rips off one slide run after another.  And, the fellows close the set on an interplanetary note, with a mythical tale from 1966, complete with a UFO and “Indrid Cold.”  It ends with some killer, frenetic harp and the sound of that spaceship landing!

We had two favorites, too.  The band puts an ominous spin on Snooky Pryor’s “Judgement Day,” where you beg “St. Peter, please open the door.”  And, for their take on “House Of The Rising Sun,” Johnny begins with a straight read on the harp, before the band kicks into the pyrotechnical stratosphere, then back down to a somber closing as it began.

Back in the day, Jay Miller at Excello or Sam Phillips at Sun would’ve signed these guys at first note. They have a sound all their own, pulling the old-school blues in with enough contemporary spunk to please today’s listeners.  Johnny Mastro And Mama’s Boys ride some sho’ nuff fine grooves in “Never Trust The Living.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.