Archive for May, 2018

Kathy And The Kilowatts review…May 19, 2018….

KATHY AND THE KILOWATTS

PREMONITION OF LOVE

NOLA BLUE RECORDS  NB 005

FIRST DO NO HARM–PREMONITION OF LOVE–BEGGARS CAN’T BE CHOOSERS–ALWAYS FOOLING ME–GROW SOME–BLACK NIGHTS–WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG–FINAL VERDICT–SUGAR BEE–ANSWER YES–ALL THESE QUESTIONS–I GOT THIS–THE BIGGER PICTURE

Texan blues queen Kathy (Murray) and her band, The Kilowatts, continue to serve up blues just the way they learned ’em.  There are influences from just about anyone that has ever played Austin, Antone’s,The Armadillo World Headquarters, or any other Texas landmark.  Heck–Kathy, as a youngster, shared the stage with the likes of The T-Birds, SRV, and W. C. Clark.  With such a background, it’s no wonder her latest album, and first for Nola Blue Records, “Premonition Of Love,” is such a winner!  Her husband, Bill “Monster” Jones, is on guitar throughout, and she has plenty of special guests along for the ride.

Fans, Kathy has a voice that positively DRIPS with honey-coated sex appeal throughout this set, and, as a great man once said, “the girl can’t help it!”  Check out the leadoff cut–Bill’s stinging leads and a funky backbeat drive Kathy’s tip of the ol’ chapeau to Hippocrates, sending vibes of love with “First Do No Harm.”  She lets her hair and her guard down on the title cut, with the statement that, “the moment I saw you, I pictured myself in your arms,” a sultry “Premonition Of Love.”  Labelmate Benny Turner is on bass on another smoldering cut, where “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers, so you can do what you choose with me!

Need a cold shower yet, guys?  There’s plenty more good stuff to come.  She pays a cool tribute to South Side legend Magic Sam Maghett with “What Have I Done Wrong.” with killer leads from Bill, who picks up the squeeze box for a playful, Cajun-flavored, “Sugar Bee.”  Kathy asks another lover a series of questions with only one good response, the Diddley-beat of “Answer Yes,” and she closes the set with a pina-colada-flavored reminder to always keep your eyes on the prize, and on “The Bigger Picture.”

We had two favorites, too.  Bill’s guitar and Floyd Domino’s piano recall the halcyon days of Chuck and Left-Hand Johnnie with “All These Questions.” And, the iconic “Black Nights” is presented here in a horn-fueled slow-blues grind, as Kathy bemoans the fact that “you must have someone new.”

Thru the music in “Premonition Of Love,” Kathy And The Kilowatts ask us all to open up our hearts and give love a try, for a society that is in dire need of some healing vibes!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

!”

Advertisements

Keats review…May 18, 2018….

KEATS

RADIO SOUNDS

RADIO SOUNDS–LOVE AND AFFECTION–SOMETHING CHANGED–CLEANING WINDOWS–EAST NASHVILLE FIREFLIES–THE GETAWAY–THE ONLY WAY I KNOW HOW–TO BE HAPPY–RAINING IN NEW ORLEANS–UNA CERVEZA–THE DREAM

(Tony) Keats has been on a musical journey for most of his life, whether it be as a sideman, or hustling gigs and waiting tables to keep his dreams moving forward.  Now a Nashville resident, his latest release, “Radio Sounds,” is quite the lyrical ride, with ten original cuts and one sweet cover, that shows how Keats’ life has changed thru his music.

Every journey has a definitive beginning and end, and on this set, Keats allows us to follow him as he explores the twists, turns, and changes that crop up along the road of life.  For Keats, tho, he encourages us to explore, embrace, and empower ourselves throughout these adventures.  Laid down at Nashville’s Howard’s Apartment Studios, with Keats and Dave Coleman producing, Keats is on vocals and guitar throughout.

Leading off is the plaintive, “Running On Empty”-ish title cut, where it’s painfully obvious that we’re all getting longer in the tooth, and we’ve all paid some dues, hopefully gaining a measure of maturity along the way.  “Something Changed” is a cool love song that finds our hero seemingly doomed as far as love goes, until “I know that love can find you.”  “To Be Happy” is done in a vintage fashion, a sweet trip back to the sounds of the Fifties, while Keats gets in a Hi Records-Memphis groove for the walking strut of “Love And Affection–and you!”  This one has a souled-out horn section and Don Eanes on organ, hearkening back to the glory days of Rev. Charles Hodges.

Our favorite, “The Dream,”  closed the set.  In a well-said finish, Tony Keats reminds us of one of life’s most important aspects–“If you can’t dream, there’s no point in doing anything at all.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Kris Lager Band review…May 17, 2018….

KRIS LAGER BAND

LOVE SONGS AND LIFE LINES

AURORA BOREALIS–THE HEART WANTS WHAT THE HEART WANTS–SWEET MAGNOLIA–I WANNA HOLD YOU IN MY ARMS–SAN FRANCISCO BOUND–YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU–PICKIN’ UP THE PIECES–YOU AND I–WHERE THE GREEN GRASS GROWS TALL–GUIDING LIGHT–I’M STILL HERE AND I AIN’T LETTING GO–I’LL BE THINKING OF YOU–THAT’S WHAT LOVE IS–JOURNEY’S SONATA

The Kris Lager Band has been touring all over the country for the last fifteen years or so, literally since Kris was sixteen years old!  Along his journey up and down the blues highway, he’s reaped some gains and suffered some losses, as have we all, but the music is his calling, and he feels it his duty to spread a message of love everywhere he goes.  His latest album is a reflection of that, full of good times, hard times, scars, and healing, and is entitled, “Love Songs And Life Lines.”  All fourteen cuts are originals, and all celebrate the joys and pain of love and being loved.  The material is soulful and from-the-heart, with a taste of jam-friendly vibes throughout.

The set opens and closes with the traveling troubadour, gypsy soul of two instrumentals, “Aurora Borealis,” and the excellent but oh-so-short “Journey’s Sonata.”  A song about finding that one true love that “opens up your heart” is “The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants,” set over an almost reggae-like groove, with Kris’ slide guitar leading the charge.  You can tell this young man has some Dead in his DNA, as evidenced by his jammin’ ode to not only a rebirth from the ravages of winter when spring comes, but a re-awakening of the spirit as well, “Sweet Magnolia.”  Speaking of the Dead, Kris takes us all on a top-down trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, for the funky groove of “San Francisco Bound,” where “I never felt so free!”

Kris has a deeply-personal side, too.  “I Wanna Hold You In My Arms,” “You Know I Love You,” and “You are my Guiding Light,” all with Lefever’s sax blowing hard and strong throughout, are odes to love and his family, and they all have a good ‘ol Van Morrison soul groove goin’ on.

A song that fairly well sums up Kris’ look at life and music serves as our favorite.  “I’m Still Here And I Ain’t Letting Go” shouts-out to his late father, and the thrill he gets by “taking refuge in the notes.”

The Kris Lager Band happily and proudly celebrates life thru music, and the unbridled pursuit of one’s dreams.  Get on this peace train and enjoy “Love Songs And Life Lines!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Blind Lemon Pledge review…May 16, 2018….

BLIND LEMON PLEDGE

EVANGELINE

OFEH RECORDS

BULEY’S FARM–JENNIE BELL–BRIMSTONE JOE–MIDNIGHT ASSIGNATION–GO JUMP THE WILLIE–THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE–HAM AND EGGS–HOW CAN I STILL LOVE YOU–YOU HAD ME AT GOODBYE–EVANGELINE

Blind Lemon Pledge is the alter-ego of James Byfield, who took this nickname from one of his blues heroes, Blind Lemon Jefferson.  His latest set is ten original cuts of blues, roots, and a touch of jazz, in which each and every cut is totally different.  The title is “Evangeline,” and it just keeps on gettin’ better when you realize that Blind Lemon Pledge plays all the instruments and handles all the vocals!

Blind Lemon Pledge, as did many of us, found his musical calling at a young age, and it didn’t hurt that he grew up in the San Fran Bay Area, and soon became a part of that vibrant scene.  Finding more intrigue with the blues of the pre-WWII Delta masters, (thus his nickname’s sake!), but listened to just about anything played on the radio.  As such, these ten cuts could each, individually, stand on their own merits.  Now it’s time for us to shut up, and get on with the gettin’ on….

Remember the chilling opening to the Coen Brothers,’ “O Brother,” with the chain-gang rendition of “Po’ Lazarus?”  Well, Blind Lemon does ’em one better—he backs himself on cigar-box guitar, and layers the backing chorus, proclaiming, “I ain’t stayin’ down on Buley’s Farm” no more!  Next up is a more traditional folk song, our hero “catchin’ that 6:03 to New Orleans,” to make his mark in the music world, while his lover, “Jennie Lee” is the one he leaves behind.  And, if you need a fix to get yo’ kicks down on Canal Street, just listen for that “cat blowin’ blues,” ol’ “Mr. Hi De Ho, Brimstone Joe!”  Linguistic drawbacks might keep our hero from gettin’ it on with a pretty senorita, until he begins speaking that universal “Language Of Love!  Blind Lemon uses a Latin, merengue’ flavored arrangement here, too, for authenticity.  “Ham And Eggs and a flapjack stack” strikes a jazzy groove, and ol’ Blind Lemon brings the whole thing full-circle as he returns to the Delta to close the set, with the haunting tale of lost love, the title cut, “Evangeline.”

Speaking of a haunting tale, our favorite takes place at a very familiar address.  Down we go to where “the 61 ‘cross the 49,” and everybody knows the deal that went down there.  Blind Lemon uses rapid-fire slide leads (kinda like Duane’s in “One Way Out”), to proclaim that “the Devil is my only friend,” thanks to that fateful “Midnight Assignation.”

If you are a friend or a follower of James Byfield on Facebook, you already know he is as unique an individual as he is an artist.  Grab your porkpie hat or your red fedora with the skinny black tie, and let’s all go down to the Crossroads and help Blind Lemon Pledge find the elusive “Evangeline!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Dana Fuchs review…May 15, 2018….

DANA FUCHS

LOVE LIVES ON

GET ALONG RECORDS  3441

BACKSTREET BABY–NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE–CALLIN’ ANGELS–SITTIN’ ON–LOVE LIVES ON–SAD SOLUTION–FAITHFUL SINNER–SEDATIVE–READY TO RISE–FIGHT MY WAY–BATTLE LINES–SAME SUNLIGHT–RING OF FIRE

Dana Fuchs has one of the most powerful, soulful, and entertaining voices in any genre.’  Comparisons to Janis Joplin paved the way for her to portray the Texas blues belter in an off-Broadway production, “Love, Janis.”  Another side to her voice made its appearance in the 2007 film, “Across The Universe,” where she brought the Beatles’ Sexy Sadie to life in that underrated film.  She shows off her blues-noir chops throughout her latest album, “Love Lives On,” on her own Get Along Records, and also brings to the table a somewhat softer, more vulnerable side.  Using her own words, this marks her first album in which she has written some “happy songs,” as well.

A version of that Sexy Sadie character leads off, with “Backstreet Baby,” Jon Diamond’s riff-heavy guitar lines churning over our heroine’s vocals, with “nothin’ left to lose,”  eventually coming to a tragic end.  She channels her inner Otis with the soul-sister strut of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” with Hi Records legend, Rev. Charles Hodges, on organ.

Dana has suffered the loss of both parents and three other siblings, and honors them with the title cut, “Callin’ Angels,” and the gospel-fired “Faithful Sinner,” again with Rev. Hodges on keys.  As the set rolls on, Dana offers up some scintillating acoustic numbers.  “Fight My Way” deals with battling one’s demons, “climbing a mountain I never knew I’d made.”  She closes the set with a poignant version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire,” showing her at perhaps her most vulnerable, the whole thing punctuated by steel guitar from Eric Lewis.

We had two favorites, too.  “Same Sunlight” has a sweet Delaney And Bonnie feel, offering up hope for a troubled world, realizing that “we’re all the same, dancing in the Same Sunlight.”  And, “Sedative” finds our lass “sweatin’ thru the sheets” “wide awake but it’s way too late for a Sedative,” with nothin’ but lusty lovin’ on her mind.  Jon offers up a cool, twangin’ guitar throughout, too.

Her contractual obligation to Thomas Ruf completed, Dana Fuchs took control of her own career.  She started this label, and went down to Memphis to immerse herself in the muddy waters of the home of the blues.   Produced by Kevin Houston at Ward Archer Studios, it was Dana’s intent, thru the material in “Love Lives On” to spread a message of hope for a world split by political and racial divisiveness.  Dana, we congratulate you on a job well done!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Grand Marquis review…May 4, 2018….

GRAND MARQUIS

BRIGHTER DAYS

GRAND MARQUIS MUSIC  GMCD 009

ANOTHER LOVER–BRIGHTER DAYS–I’M ON FIRE–NIGHT SHIFT–IT DON’T MATTER–AIN’T NO SPARK–BAD SEED–MANY RIVERS TO CROSS–DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

Grand Marquis is a six-piece outfit formed in 1998 during the height of the swing and jump-blues revival in Kansas City.  They have an authentic sound, borne of the Prohibition-era speak-easies, heavy on the horns, in a cool hybrid of blues and jazz.  They always make a big splash during the IBC’s,, and, for their eighth album, “Brighter Days,” they take the listener on a sweet sentimental journey from KC to Memphis, with a hard left turn that ends up in the Big Easy.  Nine cuts are presented, with two cool covers and seven originals.

Lead vocalist Bryan Redmond kicks things off with a song that would be right at home down at 926 E. McLemore in Memphis, a fine, horn-heavy, old-school groove, “Another Lover.”  Workin’ on that “Night Shift” for musicians and bartenders alike, is a light-hearted tune set over a N’Awlins groove, with bass supplied by the Sousaphone of Ben Ruth!  The title cut lends more to the jazzier side of the bands repertoire,, where, “when you walk in lockstep with the shadow of death,” you gotta believe that “Brighter Days” are ahead!

We had two favorites, too, both of which close the set.  The band’s version of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross” is done in a reverential fashion, more in line with its use as a clarion call to participants in the Civil Rights movement.  And, we finish down at the church on Frenchman Street, with a gospel-fired trip “Down By The Riverside,” where we sho’ nuff “ain’t gonna study war no more!”

Grand Marquis continue to spread a positive message thru their music.  Fans, please enjoy some peace, love, and “Brighter Days” on the horizon!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Ike Reilly review….May 12, 2018…..

IKE REILLY

CROOKED LOVE

LIVING IN THE WRONG TIME–MISSILE SITE–SHE HAUNTS MY HIDEOUTS–TOOK IT LYING DOWN–BEEN LET DOWN–CLEAN BLOOD BLUES–LONG DREADFUL TIME–BOLTCUTTER AGAIN–DON’T TURN YOUR BACK ON FRIDAY NIGHT–TO DIE IN HER ARMS

Ike Reilly hails from Libertyville, IL, and he and his band, The Assassination, along their journeys down the blues highway, have been referred to as one of the best live bands in America.  Ike is a veteran of the blues-rock scene, and is about to release his seventh album, “Crooked Love,” on May 18, 2018.

For this set, Ike and co-producer Phil Karnats, who is on guitar on the set, also, wanted to try and capture some of the incendiary energy from their live shows by having the band in the same room as Ike.  As it played out, Ike was able to play guitar and sing at the same time, and the arrangements came as a result of those performances.  Fans, there are some excellent blues songs, all done slightly off-kilter and a bit irreverent and left-of-center, but good-rockin’ all the same.  Take the opener–“Living In The Wrong Time” looks at love thru the eyes of three splintered “couples,” each trying to figure out the other, and what they each can–or can’t–live without.  Our hero finds himself with yet another lover, these two looking for “one more lusty night” to ultimately “torch the future and scorch the past,” all done down on the “Missile Site.”  Being in a long-term relationship can at times take its toll on any man, for “it don’t take long to be in love for a “Long, Dreadful Time!”

We had three favorites, too.  A similarly-themed song about LTR’s takes a wistful turn, as Ike tries to rekindle any sparks of passion left, urging his partner to remember the good times, “Don’t Turn Your Back On Friday Night.”  In “Clean Blood Blues,” you can even walk on water, but, seemingly, you’re always guilty until proven innocent!  And, a seriously-humorous look at the immigration problems within the current administration takes a look at refugees, travel bans, and even “golden showers from golden towers,” the guitar-and-harp-heavy “Boltcutter Again!”

Every character in Ike Reilly’s songs is believable, likely lurking in the dimly-lit backstreets of all our collective blues psyches.’ They’re the ones who, once their dreams get stolen, are hell-bent to steal ’em back again!  No, love ain’t broke, it ain’t even badly bent, but sometimes it sho’ nuff is “Crooked Love!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.