Archive for December, 2017

Christmas Eve, 2017….

To all our readers, supporters, PR and A & R folks, artists, families, fans, and friends, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, full of love, peace, and joy in this most wonderful season of all!  More reviews on the way in the coming days!

Until next time….

Sheryl and Don Crow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heather Newman review…December 16, 2017…

HEATHER NEWMAN

BURN ME ALIVE

VIZZTONE   VT-HN-001

WILLIE JAMES–BRING THE SWING–HOWLING FOR LOVE–BURN ME ALIVE–HIGH MOUNTAIN BLUES–HOW MANY TIMES?–LOVE STRONG–I DON’T KNOW WHY–WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?–DIRTY BLUES–SHARE YOUR LOVE–I’M THROUGH WITH YOU

We first heard Heather Newman as a guest vocalist on “Live At Knucklehead’s, Vol. 1,” from the Nick Schnebelen Band.  Hailing from Omaha, NE, Heather has literally grown up as a musician and composer during this year, using her time on tour with Nick to watch, listen, and learn.  She’s stepped squarely into the national spotlight with the release of her first studio set, “Burn Me Alive,” from Vizztone.  Heather is on vocals and bass, with Keith Ladd on guitar, Ryan Flemmer on keys, and Cole Dillingham doubling down on drums and guitar.

On this set, Heather offers twelve original looks at life, love, and the human condition, at times wearing her heart painfully on her sleeve in the process.  Up first is a shot of Delta blues with the tale of “Willie James, drinkin’ his whiskey and gin,” then gives way to the Diddley sway of the yin and the yang, as Heather’s “got the rhythm, while you Bring The Swing!”  Nick Schnebelen brings his axe to the party on the rhumba-rock of “High Mountain Blues,” while “How Many Times?” is Heather’s ode to life on the road as a traveling musician.  The question of trust between lovers is addressed in the Fifties-inspired balladry of “I Don’t Know Why,” and, when Heather’s lover isn’t around, she’d rather you’d just “Burn Me Alive,” for “without you, I got nowhere to go.”

We had two favorites, too.  Michael Lefever’s sax adds to the smoky, after-hours vibe of “Dirty Blues,” while the set closes on a second-line note, as Heather catches her lover “messin’ ’round all over town,” and, sho’ nuff, “I’m Through With You!”  And, hang on after the cut ends–a few seconds later, there’s a cool piano-guitar instrumental coda to close everything out!

2017 has been good to Heather Newman.  She’s come into her own as a bandleader, composer, and vocalist, with the material in “Burn Me Alive” giving the listener a great insight as to what the blues means to her!  Best of luck, Heather!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Jim Shaneberger Band review…December 15, 2017….

JIM SHANEBERGER BAND

ABOVE AND BELOW

SELF-RELEASED

MY WAY–INDIFFERENCE–ABOVE AND BELOW–BRIGHT SIDE–AIN’T YOUR DADDY’S BLUES–I CAN’T  SLEEP–WAY DOWN SOUTH–JUST SAYIN’ BRO–WHOLE LOTTA SOUL

Blasting out of Western Michigan, the Jim Shaneberger Band features Jim on guitars and vocals, with Jeff Baldus on bass, and drums shared by Steve Harris, and, on one cut, Karl  Schantz.  Of the nine original cuts that comprise their second album, “Above And Below,” all were either written by Jim wholly, or  with other band members.  They mix elements of Hendrix, SRV, and Led Zep, and toss in a love for the Motown sound to give the whole project a little shot of funk.

The fellows set up a stone free groove on the leadoff cut, where Jim sings, “It’s My Way or no way at all.”  They proudly preach ’bout that “new sound goin’ down, and it Ain’t Your Daddy’s Blues,” over a roadhouse shuffle beat,  and then they all head “Way Down South, chasin’ my demons while my demons chase me!”  This one features Jim’s Delta-fied slow-blues guitar, set over a pounding, percussive backbeat.

We had two favorites, too.  Both “Indifference” and “Above And Below” beg the musical question, “how many lives must be lost before we get things right,”  with “innocent people dying in the streets every time I see the news!”  “Indifference” was written in response to the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016, and each of these songs show the power of music in reaching out to a troubled society.

For the Jim Shaneberger Band, it’s all about that music.  Each song on “Above And Below” is a unique, energetic look at what these guys typically bring to their live shows, and we give this one two big thumbs up!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

FreeWorld review…December 13, 2017….

FREEWORLD

WHAT IT IS

SWIRL DISC  SD 87625  445

DEEPER BY THE MINUTE–FIND A BETTER WAY–SHRIMP ‘N’ GRITS–DINJA BABE–IT’S ALRIGHT–FOR THE MOMENT–THE SHAPE I’M IN–SIDESWIPED–ANOTHER SUNDAY NIGHT–BELIEVE–EVE WAITS

FreeWorld describe themselves as an “independent, regionally-touring, ever-evolving, Memphis-based musical ensemble” who have been performing as a unit since 1987.  That 30-year celebration coincides with the release of their seventh album overall, “What It Is.”

The group formed back then when bassist Richard Cushing met sax legend Dr. Herman Green.  The band’s many influences are all over this collection, including Tower Of Power, Grateful Dead, Coltrane, Booker T., Zappa, The Meters, Steely Dan, and many more diverse outfits.  These originals take the listener up and down Beale St. with some serious funk, jazz, blues, R & B, and even an Eastern-influenced tune.

Let’s get down to what it REALLY is.  The set starts with the horn-driven funk of “Deeper By The Minute,” then gives way to the socially-conscious  explosiveness of “Find A Better Way,” where we learn to “celebrate, don’t separate,” and “every day is a gift.”  “Beatle-esque harmonies and backing vocals from Memphis icon Jody Stephens drive the dreamy “Dinja Babe,” while Stephani McCoy is the guest vocalist on the jazz-themed, “Believe.”

Our favorite was easy.  Capturing the very spirit of Memphis blues, and, more specifically, Beale Street, “Another Sunday Night” is a stone party from B. B.’s, down ta Blues City Cafe and every joint in between!  Add in some killer tenor work, and you’ll see why they call him “Dr. Green!”

FreeWorld funks up the rock, and rocks up the funk.  They’ve cooked up a serious Memphis soul stew on Bobby Flay’s cooking show, and, they are a Beale Street institution, and they have their own Brass Note on the Beale Street Walk Of Fame as proof of their excellence in all things music.  Satisfy your soul, and find out “What It Is” all about from FreeWorld.   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Paul Mark CD Single teaser…December 12, 2017….

PAUL MARK

DECEMBER AT THE P. O.

CD SINGLE

RADIATION RECORDS   RDTN 5980

Paul Mark is one of the most eclectic and avant-garde artists on the contemporary scene.  He’s always good for  unusual and thought-provoking material, , and this holiday season finds him spending “December At The P. O.” on his latest single for Radiation Records, from the forthcoming album, “Silent Movies.”  This song is set over a piano-and-strings holiday-themed arrangement, and traces the angst of our hero as he is “an all-night sorter down at the P. O.!”  Simultaneously bittersweet, honest, and humorous, he finds himself on yet another “18-hour Sunday,” with “a trick knee that blew out on a Black Friday lift,” looking forward only to “drinking in the New Year once  this blizzard’s through.”

A perfect fit for this tumultuous holiday season, we anxiously await what’s to come, but for now we’ll settle for “December At The P. O.”    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

2017 International Blues Challenge #33 review….December 10, 2017…..

VARIOUS ARTISTS

THE BLUES FOUNDATION PRESENTS

INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE #33  2017

SHINE ON–DAWN TYLER WATSON  LET’S HEAR SOME BLUES–JOHNNY FINK AND THE INTRUSION  ‘TILL I GET TO MEMPHIS–RANDY MCQUAY  2029–BRODY BUSTER’S ONE MAN BAND  DON’T DIG TODAY–AL HILL  CATFISH BOOGIE–SOBO BLUES BAND  I DON’T HAVE PROOF–RUTH WYAND AND THE TRIBE OF ONE  GOOD LOVIN (HOT AND FRESH FROM THE OVEN)–THE SOULIZ BAND FEATURING SUGAR AND SPICE  I HATE YOU ‘CAUSE I LOVE YOU–FELIX SLIM  CHAINS THAT BIND–WES LEE  ONIONS AIN’T THE ONLY THING–SAM JOYNER  ELBOW GREASE–RAE GORDON AND THE BACKSTREET DRIVERS  DANGEROUS–KING BEE  MEET ME IN THE COUNTRY–SUGAR BROWN

It’s that time of year again, and we don’t necessarily mean the holidays.  We’re talking about the exciting compilation CD put together thru a joint effort of The Blues Foundation and the good folks over at Frank Roszak Promotions.  Yep–“IBC #33” features fourteen live cuts culled from the hundreds of performances occurring in the week-long festivities during The International Blues Challenge in Memphis back in February of this year.  Players from both the Band and Solo/Duo Category are represented, and the songs are all-originals from the players.

First Place Band winner Dawn Tyler Watson leads off by taking us to Blues Church with the powerhouse gospel overtures of “Shine On.”  Solo/Duo winner Al Hill plays piano on his “Don’t Dig Today,” but his axe skills also brought home the coveted Solo Division Outstanding Guitarist award.

Those who didn’t win have plenty to offer, tho.  Check out Brody Buster’s One Man Band with his apocalyptic tale of what might happen on “September 23, 2029!”  Ruth Wyand And The Tribe Of One touches on the topic of a cheatin’ lover with “I Don’t Have Proof,” while The Souliz Band Featuring Sugar And Spice are in it for a down-home good time on “Good Lovin (Hot And Fresh From The Oven).

We had a favorite, too.  Likely this one is a crowd-pleaser wherever it is played, as Johnny Fink And The Intrusion dig on every classic riff they can get their frets on, from Freddie to Elmo and everywhere in between with the party anthem, “Let’s Hear Some Blues!”

In about six weeks or so, after the turkey is all eaten and the packages are all unwrapped, the festivities will crank up for the 34TH IBC, and if you’re lucky enough to go, you’ll be in the presence of the most comprehensive gathering of blues talent on the planet.  For a taste of what’s coming, grab a shot of what has been with “International Blues Challenge #33!”  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Dave Keyes review…December 8, 2017….

DAVE KEYES

THE HEALING

CHANGE–DANCE IN THE DARK–NOT SO NICE ANYMORE–AIN’T LOOKING FOR LOVE–TRAVELING RIVERSIDE BLUES–BOOGIE FOR STEFAN–COME TO ME–STRANGE THINGS HAPPENING–FAITH GRACE LOVE AND FORGIVENESS–TAKE YOU BACK–BOX OF BLUES

New York-based keyboard wizard/composer/vocalist Dave Keyes is another artist we always look forward to when it comes to new music.  He’s eclectic and unique with a style rooted in traditional blues as well as keeping an eye toward the future.  That spirit drives the eleven cuts that make up his latest set, “The Healing.,” nine originals and two righteous covers.  If you check out our review for Popa Chubby’s latest set, (posted December 4), you’ll notice that Dave Keyes is all over the keyboards on that album, and Popa returns the favor here, swingin’ his mighty axe on five cuts.

The party starts with a harp riff from Rob Paparozzi on the clarion call for “Change” everywhere, “if you don’t like that view,” and be sure to “keep on heading toward the light!”  Vaneese Thomas plays the female lead while Dave is the tomcat on the prowl, as our two paramours “head straight for dessert,” ’cause “I Ain’t Looking For Love!”  Rob’s on the harp here, with Popa on guitar, too.  A cool horn section gives Dave’s original, “Dance In The Dark,” the feel that it coulda been a long-lost gem from Allen Toussaint, while Dave’s mean left hand takes us thru a swingin’ instrumental, “Boogie For Stefan.”  “Come To Me,” a lovely ballad written by Dave and Popa, features Popa’s guitar as Dave pleads for a lover to leave a bad situation.  He stays in that poignant moment for a definitive call for healing through “Faith, Grace, Love And Forgiveness,” this one backed by the voices of the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir.

This one was full of favorites.  Chubby’s slide glides over a Diddley beat as Dave sings of being “tired of living for what I’ve settled for,” “Not So Nice Anymore.”  Dave and Chubby get on down to the bidness of the blues, with a six-minute ride to the Crossroads by way of Robert Johnson’s iconic “Traveling Riverside Blues.”  Then, just as sure as Sunday morning follows Saturday night, Dave’s vocal and piano and the backing chorus do some sweet trstifyin’ on Sister Rosetta’s “Strange Things Happening every day!”

Dave Keyes knows the only way for things to change starts within all of us.  On the music contained within “The Healing,” he offers up some excellent social commentary  and sends a message of hope to a troubled society, and, Dave,  for this we thank you!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.