Archive for September, 2017

Dudley Taft review…September 19, 2017…

DUDLEY TAFT

SUMMER RAIN

AMERICAN BLUES ARTISTS GROUP

FLYING ON LOVE–DARK BLUE STAR–SUMMER RAIN–EDGE OF INSANE–LIVE OR DIE–PISTOLS AT TEN PACES–DON’T LET IT FADE–MOONBEAM–COME WITH ME–I LOST MY WAY–FIND MY WAY BACK HOME

Hard-rockin blues man Dudley Taft has always had an intense passion for those that serve in our nation’s military, and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.  He’s taken that passion and channeled it into the eleven original cuts that comprise his fifth solo album, this one for American Blues Artists Group, “Summer Rain.”  The feeling of anguish thru long periods of separation from family permeates these songs, as well as a  feeling of toil that has no end.

The set leads off with Dudley’s trademark layered guitars laying the groundwork for “Flying On Love,” as memories of “fine tequila and sensimiila” help keep this soldier sane through the tough times.  The title cut uses the metaphor of constantly being battle-ready to that endless summer that begs for the rain to cool things off, and ultimately, wash away all  worldly troubles.  Dudley’s daughter, Charmae, is featured herein as a backing vocalist.

Longtime SRV keyboard man Reese Wynans is also featured throughout,  but his contributions to the Hendrix-inspired “Live Or Die” give this cut that extra somethin’ special that only Reese can do.  “Pistols At Ten Paces” takes a hard look at the true consequences of war, with a plea to “learn from their mistakes” for the future.  And, the set closes full-circle, using both acoustic and electric guitars to convey a soldier’s vow to, eventually, “Find My Way Back Home,” ’cause “this old bird needs two good wings to keep flying high!”

Dudley Taft realizes that separation due to fulfillment of military obligations is a necessary but daunting task.  He does what he does best–serve s  up a set of hard-biting blues with “Summer Rain,” to let those who wear the uniform and their families know just how much their efforts are appreciated.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Advertisements

Sarah Lou Richards review…September 17, 2017….

SARAH LOU RICHARDS

SOMEONE WHO GETS ME

HIGH ON A HILL–RIGHT WHERE I NEED TO BE–THE FISHERMAN–AFTER THE STORM–ON ACCOUNT OF RAIN–PLANE BLUE–SOLDIER’S HEART–TREASURE–NEW KIND OF SONG–KEEP SINGIN’–SONG FOR PEACHES–JAIDYN’S LULLABY–LOVE ALWAYS WINS

Sarah Lou Richards moved from Wisconsin to Nashville in 2007, to be closer to the music she loves, a hybrid blend of pop, contemporary country, and Americana.  Toss that together with her innate way with lyrics, and you have one winning combination, indeed!  It all comes full-circle on her latest release, “Someone Who Gets Me.”  Produced by Adrian Suarez, the thirteen originals herein combined the use of guitar and pedal steel over layered harmonies.  And, Sarah’s voice is a thing of beauty as she easily goes from powerful to a whisper dependent upon a song’s needs.

The songs mirror life’s major events–falling in love, marriage, giving birth, and personal empowerment by staying true to one’s convictions.  The set leads off with one of those songs of empowerment, “High On A Hill,” which cleverly incorporates the chorus from Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” as the song closes.  Those beautiful harmonies pervade a song about finding that special “Someone Who Gets Me,” and the hollow pain of loss is spelled out in “After The Storm,” where “over seems a silly place to start.”  She pays a sweet tribute to the births of her niece and nephew with “Jaidyn’s Lullaby,” and “Song For Peaches,” and closes the set with a celebration of weddings, the lush “Love Always Wins.”

We loved two cuts, tho, that show her versatility as a writer.  “The Fisherman” traces the daily grind of a woman married to a man who is also married to the sea.  And, the set’s most unusual cut was borne right down at the Crossroads, a bluesy love song told from a man’s point of view.  Yup, as it always seems to play out, “my baby blue beauty had a wandering eye,” along with the usual ensuing consequences.  The grungy, hellhound guitar is courtesy of Mr. Suarez, too.

Sarah Lou Richards has an eclectic sound that plays to her strengths of great vocals and rich songwriting.  She brings the events and characters of “Someone Who Gets Me” into vivid focus on this most excellent collection!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Mindi Abair And The Boneshakers review….September 16, 2017….

MINDI ABAIR AND THE BONESHAKERS

THE EASTWEST SESSIONS

PRETTY GOOD FOR A GIRL RECORDS

VINYL–NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL–PLAY TO WIN–PRETTY GOOD FOR A GIRL (FEAT. JOE BONAMASSA)–LET ME HEAR IT FROM YOU (FEAT. SWEET PEA ATKINSON)–LIVE MY LIFE–FREEDOM–HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY–SHE DON’T CARE NO MORE (FEAT. FANTASTIC NEGRITO)–DONE ME WRONG–I LOVE TO PLAY THE SAXOPHONE

Mindi Abair is one of the most versatile sax players on the planet.   With her ability to easily play blues, funk, jazz, and, even a bit of country. you almost expect her to leap tall buildings in a single bound, too!  Her exquisite talent is all over  the eleven cuts  of her latest set with The Boneshakers, “The Estwest Sessions,” named for that legendary Hollywood studio.

Mindi and the Boneshakers have been basically on the road, touring incessantly behind their last set, the very well-received “Live In Seattle” from September of 2015.  Along with Mindi, there is Randy Jacobs on guitar, Rodney Lee on keys, Derek Frank on bass, Third Richardson on drums, and guest vocalist Sweet Pea Atkinson.

The set opens with the sound of a needle touching down on an LP, and is a stone blast of funk, “just like a needle on Vinyl.”  Randy  lights the fire with some guitar spunk that plays over Mindi’s vocal on her ode to survival in the music business, “knock me down, I get right back up again,”  “cause I Play To Win.”  She continues in that vein with a spit in the collective eye of all her critics and naysayers over a killer slow-blues groove that proves she’s waaaay more than just “Pretty Good For A Girl.”  And, to further set things straight, Blues Award winner Joe Bonamassa adds guitar to this one!  More celebs step up to the mic as 2017 Grammy winner for Contemporary Blues album, Francisco Negrito,  teams up with Mindi for a midnight ride down to the Crossroads on the brooding, “She Don’t Cry No More.”

We had two favorites, too.  Another fine shot of funk is Mindi’s ode to “holding my ground,” because “no one said it was gonna be easy,” “Had To Learn The Hard Way.”  And, she closes the set with her breezy, country-tinged autobiography, “I Love To Play The Saxophone–the sound of the sax always brings me home!”

Funk master Bobby Rush himself compared Mindi’s sax work to that of the great harp men, using her sax to play the lead lines as well as the fills.  She’s jammed with the Roots on “Jimmy Kimmel–Live!,” and, we are gonna take it up to the next level.  If we may be so bold as to paraphrase the Godfather Of Soul, Mindi Abair ain’t nothin’ but a stone cold “SAX MACHINE,” and, with The Boneshakers,  The Eastwest Session” solidifies it!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Benny Turner review…September 15, 2017….

BENNY TURNER

MY BROTHER’S BLUES

NOLA BLUES RECORDS

BIG LEGGED WOMAN–IT’S YOUR MOVE–HAVE YOU EVER LOVED A WOMAN–I’M TORE DOWN–YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE HER WITH A FEELING–I’M READY–SEE SEE BABY–MOJO BOOGIE–WEE BABY BLUES–GHETTO WOMAN–SAME OLD BLUES

Benny Turner is indeed the younger brother–by five years–of legendary bluesman Freddie King.   Their mother, Ella Mae King Turner,  ended up giving birth to two titans of the blues community!  Benny started out on electric bass for some gospel groups (before it was widely accepted), but signed on with big brother when the hits started happening.  He toured with Freddie until his untimely death in 1976.  Benny became somewhat of a recluse after his brother’s death, but  an offer from Mighty Joe Young brought him back to the stage.  After moving to New Orleans, Benny has just released his fifth solo album, assuming his rightful place at center stage with “My Brother’s Blues.”  It is eleven cuts of songs most closely-associated with Freddie, and plays out as a heartfelt tribute to a legend.  Freddie used horns on many of his songs, and Benny’s NOLA influences show up as all these cuts feature sweet, funky horn arrangements.

Leading off, just as Freddie always did, is that irresistible boogie-funk of “Big Legged Woman, in that short-short miniskirt,” with June Yamagishi on guitar.  Benny gets into his slow-blues groove on two famous cuts.  “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” becomes a testifyin’, gospel-ish number with that B3 from Davell Crawford and preachin’ backup vocals from Earl Smith.  But, in the end, we all know “she bears another man’s name!”   Benny has a  blast with the stop-time strut of “You’ve Got  To Love Her With A Feeling,” and he adds the risque’ last verse of this song deemed too controversial for radio back in the Fifties on Freddie’s Federal original.  Joe Krown’s keys and “sacred steel” from Roosevelt Collier spice up “I’m Ready,” and the set closes with another great moment of testifyin,’ as Benny and June Yamagishi on guitar give a poignant read of one of Freddie’s best-loved songs about when “the sunshine turns to rain and all my laughter turns to pain,” Don Nix’s iconic “Same Old Blues.”

We had a favorite that simply couldn’t be denied.  Before their untimely passings, this high-spirited version of “I’m Tore Down” teams Benny with soul stalwarts Otis Clay and Marva Wright for a sho’ nuff houserockin’ good time!

A great man once opined about stayin’ “up all night with Freddie King–I got to tell you, poker’s his thing,” and only Benny Turner can regale us with these tales of traveling from town to town by bus with Freddie.  “My Brother’s Blues” is a heartfelt tribute from Benny Turner to a man he called big brother, bandmate, and best friend!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Jimmy Carpenter review…September 15, 2017…

JIMMY CARPENTER

PLAYS THE BLUES

VIZZTONE–VTJC17

YOU BELONG TO ME–TOO LATE–JIMMY PLAYS THE BLUES–KID IN MY HEAD–BLUES WITH A FEELING–SURF MONKEY–CHANGE IS GONNA COME–PREACH–ALL YOUR LOVE (I MISS LOVIN’)–SHOTGUN

Jimmy Carpenter has been blowin’ that mean sax since his career started in 1980.  He’s played with Jimmy Thackery, Tinsley Ellis, and a host of others, which now includes Mike Zito.  It was Zito who urged Jimmy to record an album of classics, and got behind the project as its producer.  The result is the ten tunes that comprise “Plays The Blues,” for the Vizztone label.  Some of Jimmy’s best friends drop by to make this a sho’ nuff party, including Zito, Tinsley, Jonn Del Toro Richardson, Anders Osborne, Dave Fields, and plenty more.

Fans, this one plays out like a big ol’ party back at the chicken shack with the fellows playing everybody’s favorite tunes.  Wes Cide Rules with the leadoff cut, a blistering take on Magic Sam’s “You Belong To Me,” featuring Tony Ditendoro on guitar.   They revisit that groove a bit later, this time with Zito on vocals and guitar as the two of ’em work that rhumba-rockin’ blues of Otis Rush’s “All Your Love (I Miss Lovin).”

Wouldn’t be a sax show without some cool instrumentals, and Jimmy busts a move on several.  “Jimmy Plays The Blues” is a slow-drivin’ , down ‘n’ dirty lesson on how to coax some of the deepest shades of blue imaginable outta that horn of plenty.  Freddie King’s “Surf Monkey” has Tinsley Ellis on guitar,  and the great King Curtis’ “Preach” has that sax doin’ some mighty testifyin.’  The party closes ’bout 3  AM, with “everybody gonna pick tomatoes and dig potatoes,” doin’ Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun!”

We had two favorites.  One of Jimmy’s originals is a cool, piano-pounding ode to that teenage boy that still lives in the psyche’ of all us guys, and makes us do weird things, all due to that “Kid In My Head.”  And, for us, one of the most beautiful songs of the Sixties was Cooke’s immortal “Change Is Gonna Come.”  Jimmy and Anders Osborne on subtle guitar will give you goose bumps as they turn this iconic tune into an emotion-packed instrumental.

Jimmy Carpenter steps to the front of the stage on these ten classics, and gives them all his no-holds-barred treatment.  The whole thang has a vibe that is old-school at heart and contemporary in nature.  So, y’all git on back to the chicken shack and dig “Plays The Blues!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Joel DaSilva review…September 13, 2017….

JOEL DASILVA

EVERYWHERE FROM HERE

SHAKE–EVERYDAY MAN–DOWN IN THE DELTA–CHASIN THE SUN–CADILLAC MAMA–BAD WORLD–THIS DAY I BLEED–SPELL ON ME–TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS–MY BRAZILIAN SOUL

Joel DaSilva recorded his latest set, “Everywhere From Here,” down in Ft. Lauderdale at the Tru Noyz Studios,  with Grammy-winner Eddie Perez producing.  This set is all-original material, and Eddie coaxed a cool, garage-rock and blues-roots vibe out of Joel and his fiery fretwork.  On these cuts, you can hear influences of JLV and Joe Bonamassa, as well as Brother Ray, and even the White Stripes.

His varied guitar lines and echo-effects give some of these cuts a vintage rockabilly feel, and some are pure fun,  West Coast-styled jump blues.  Check out the leadoff cut with its fine call-and-response guitar in a swampy tale about that girl “lookin’ real good with that red dress on,” “Shake.”  A rumba-rockin’ beat that features accordion from Alejandro Sanched  gives a song about being a “bad boy in a Bad World” who’s sho’ nuff got a “bad girl to pour some of her bad stuff in my cup” a mysterious groove.  He closes the set with a samba-esque instrumental that serves as his autobiography of sorts as the son of Brazilian musicians, “My Brazilian Soul.”

Our favorites were some of his more blues-oriented offerings.  There ain’t nothin’ quite like a good ol’ “Cadillac Mama,” one that’s “built for comfort, not for speed!”  And, you gotta love the deep, slow-blues groove of a man who realizes a love affair has turned “cold and lonely,” but “Time Heals All Wounds.”  The set’s most unique cut takes place at the corner of Mississippi highways 61 and 49, where you’ll find that dude with the really bony fingers  always lookin’ to make a deal.  Yup–the grungy guitars on this one are helped out by a backing chorus of baying hellhounds, and conjures up the ghosts of Mr. Waters, Mr. Sumlin, Mr. Johnson, and the Howlin’ Wolf himself.  They’re all there, right where they oughta be–“Down In The Delta!”

Joel Da Silva reached down into his bluesman’s soul to bring forth a set of roots-rock and deep blues that all fans are sure to enjoy.  Musically, with this set, you can get “Everywhere From Here.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Bob Bradshaw review…September 11, 2017…

BOB BRADSHAW

AMERICAN ECHOES

FLUKE RECORDS 2017

EXOTIC DANCERS WANTED–MEET ME–CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL–THE ASSUMPTIONS WE MAKE–WORKIN ON MY PROTEST SONG–A BIRD NEVER FLEW ON JUST ONE WING–WEIGHT OF THE WORLD–STELLA–MY DOUBLE AND I–MATERIAL FOR THE BLUES–O BROTHER–OLD SOLDIERS

Irish-born Bob Bradshaw has been a Boston resident since 2003, but, he’s been everywhere, man, busking on the streets of Europe, as well as NYC and Frisco before finally settling in Massachusetts.  Obviously, he’s seen a lot, and, thru his studies at Berklee, he’s honed his songwriting to make his characters people that we can all relate to.  This is especially true on his seventh studio album, “American Echoes,” for Fluke Records.  This all-original album combines his passion for folk, blues, and bluegrass with that innate ability to tell a cool story in five minutes’ time.

His characters are all of us–hopeless dreamers, lovers, saints, and sinners, and everyone in between.  “Meet Me” name-checks many NYC landmarks and turns them into places for a romantic rendezvous, for “anyplace, anytime, I’ll be there!”  The denizens of The Keystone Bar And Grill offer up the sage advice, over a few pints, that “a cup of tea won’t make you sing, and A Bird Never Flew On Just One Wing.”  “Stella” is a story of true love between aging lovers set to waltz time, while the set closes on a “marching beat,”  with the story of the bravery and chivalry of Civil War soldiers, “Old Soldiers never die–they just fade away.”  This one has fiddle from Chad Manning and banjo from Andy Santospago, and the traditional instruments add to the ambience of this cut.

We had two favorites, too.  The set starts with “Exotic Dancers Wanted,” and you can almost see the grainy, black-and-white film noir of the ladies and their clientele,  as the longer they ply their trade, the more they become unable to “tell the dancers from the dance.”  And, a tongue-in-cheek nod to Dylan and the Sixties finds Bob ducking “mushroom clouds” and “tommy guns,” all the while “Workin’ On My Protest Song!”   This one has a rich, Garcia-era Dead vibe, set over a quirky time pattern that woulda been right at home during the folk boom.

On “American Echoes,” Bob Bradshaw comes full-circle.  These songs trace the history of the music that first inspired Bob, and evolve into the layered arrangements he studied at Berklee.  This is indeed an aural treat!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.