Archive for September, 2018

Dennis Herrera review…September 29, 2018…

DNNIS HERRERA

YOU STOLE MY HEART

YOU STOLE MY HEART–TAKES MONEY–FORE–WITH NO REFRAIN–LOOK OUT –RECOVERY–YOU CAN NAME IT–BACKED-UP–MY PAST TIME–RUN WITH THE LOSERS–BITTERSWEET

Guitarist Dennis Herrera is a California bluesman who writes his own material, gleaned from his experiences in everyday life.  His latest is entitled “You Stole My Heart,” and the eleven originals were split between four tracks being laid down at Greaseland Studios in San Jose, and the remainder in Torrance at Ardent Audio Productions.  Thus, the backing musicians represent “NorCal,” and “SoCal,” respectively.

NorCal rules on the leadoff title cut, a blastin’ rocker that sounds as if it coulda been a long-lost Specialty gem, with wailin’ sax from Jack Sanford, and Sid Morris on piano.  They get into a jazzy mood for the mid-tempo swing, “With No Refrain,” and NorCal finishes their portion of the program with a tall, cool, Collins-mixed instrumental, “You Can Name It,” with icy-cold guitar from Dennis.

SoCal rocks the house, too, as Dennis lays down a Chicago groove, with harp from Dennis Depoitre, as we learn a lesson most of us already know—“ain’t nothin’ free,” and “it Takes Money for this, takes money for that.”  “Backed-Up” plays out as a traditional Chicago-styled blues, as Dennis laments traffic problems “that get worser every day!”  He closes the set with a beautiful acoustic number– just Dennis’ vocal and guitar–on a tune about two lovers that “sometimes just don’t see eye to eye,” “Bittersweet.”

Our favorite was one with Dennis and the NorCal guys.  They bust out a shake and finger pop groove on the story of the eventual ravages of Father Time on us all, “Look Out,” and enjoy life as long as you can.

“You Stole My Heart,” from Dennis Herrera, is a party from the first note.  The whole thing has a live, spontaneous feel throughout, and the musicianship and material makes this one sweet ride all the way from Torrance to San Jose!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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Josh Smith review…September 28, 2018….

JOSH SMITH

BURN TO GROW

VIZZTONE VT-JS 0010

HALF BLUES–THROUGH THE NIGHT–WATCHING YOU GO–THAT FOR YOU TOO–YOUR LOVE (IS MAKING ME WHOLE)–LOOK NO FURTHER–LET ME TAKE CARE OF YOU–WHAT WE NEED–YOU NEVER KNEW–SHE SURVIVES-BURN TO GROW

Josh Smith isn’t afraid to take chances.  Within his music, you’ll find just about everything, from rock, jazz, and soul, but it’s all rooted deeply in the blues.  A brilliant guitarist who released his debut album as a fourteen-year-old Floridian, he has since relocated to Los Angeles, where he is in high demand as a session player.  His latest offering for Vizztone is the all-original “Burn To Grow,” eleven cuts that showcase his varied strengths.  Self-produced at his own Flat V Studios, Josh turns up the heat on all eleven cuts.

In leading off and in closing, Josh gets into a grungy guitar groove.  Up first, the horn section punches up the Hendrixian riffs that drive the tale of a lover who just won’t make up her mind. “Half Blues.”  The set closes with the title cut, a powerful song urging us to “bend but don’t break,” and “rising up is the right thing to do.”  Monet Owens adds delectable backing vocals on a tale to which we can all relate.  “Through The Night” deals with how we cope, and “doesn’t matter what life you live,” we all need that someone to get us thru.  Monet returns a bit later for a dazzling lead vocal turn on the sweet Southern-styled soul of “Your Love (Is Making Me Whole).”

Josh gets down into some fine Texas-edged blues, first with the six-minutes-of-slow-blues-bliss that is just “What We Need,” and it’s followed up by the horn-rich strut of a lover who never had a clue as to what she had, “You Never Knew.”  Those two cuts served as our favorites.

Josh Smith continues to forge his legacy as one of the most vibrant, versatile, and sought-after players in all of contemporary blues.  Please enjoy “Burn To Grow!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Salim Nourallah review….September 27, 2018….

SALIM NOURALLAH

SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF SANE

PALO SANTO RECORDS

BOY IN THE RECORD SHOP–LET GO OF THE NIGHT–RELIEF–RAINBOW DOLPHINS–WHITEHEART–MOVING MAN–GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS–A THOUSAND WAYS TO MISS YOU–EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN–A BETRAYAL–TUCUMCARI (RADIO VERSION)–SWEET AS A WEED–ROBOT–THE HEART WANTS WHAT THE HEART WANTS–I MISSED MY OWN LIFE–IS THIS WHERE THE TROUBLE BEGINS–CHOPPING BLOCK–COLD CUDDLE–FEBRUARY 23–LIFE SCHOOL–SLEEPWALKING

Salim Nourallah is the son of a Syrian immigrant, and, in a career that has seen him release seven albums, he has affectionately become known as the godfather of the Dallas, TX, indie music scene.  His seventh release is perhaps his most ambitious and powerful thus far, entitled “Somewhere South Of Sane,” a robust twenty-one tracks on a single CD that shows our hero at his most vulnerable, and seeks to serve as music for us souls who may be going through problems in our own lives.

With a quietly-unassuming vocal style that lies, er, somewhere south of the more melancholy side of Lennon, Salim leads off with a near-autobiographical tune of that young “Boy In The Record Store,” holding on to his “strange dream” of one day becoming a musician.  “Rainbow Dolphins” plays out as a classic love song, with references to “polar bears dancing with a broom,” and “dolphins spray-paint rainbows in the sky.” “Moving Man” explores the difficulties of being a single parent, while “I Missed My Own Life,” (this song written in 2008, and thus the oldest within the collection), deals with being a self-supporting musician trying to raise a family while life virtually passes you by.  “Cold Cuddle” was not originally intended to be on the album until Salim got a visit from a friend that had a close shave with death.  It has a strong Lennon and McCartney feel, fitting comfortably within the context of the set.  The album closes with the somber, placid “Sleepwalking.”  It traces two lovers for whom the “new” has worn off their relationship, and they go thru life just going thru the motions of the love that once was.

Literally wearing his heart on his sleeve with “Somewhere South Of Sane” is Salim Nourallah.  His intentions, tho, are well-founded, as his songs become more like photographs for one’s feelings, and this music is excellent therapy for coping with life’s problems.  It is indeed a brilliant opus from one of indie music’s most heralded players!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Kerry Kearney review…September 26, 2018….

KERRY KEARNEY

GOT SLIDE GUITAR?

DWAZ ENTERTAINMENT

LAWDY MAMA–POOR BOY–JESUS IN BATON ROUGE–FATHERLESS BOY–MEAN OLD FRISCO–WORLD TRAIN–GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY–MEMPHIS HIGH–LITTLE PLAYMATE–REALLY RUINED IT–ONLY GOLD STAYS–BLOW YOUR LITTLE HOUSE DOWN–SWEET HOME CHICAGO–MISSISSIPPI RIVER STOMP–THANK YOU JESUS–TROUBLE IN MIND–WENT TO SEE THE LORD–LOUISE LOUISE BLUES–WELL TRAINED GIRL–LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS

The second CD we received from Long Island bluesman Kerry Kearney is entitled, simply, “Got Slide Guitar?”  This one is chock full, at a robust twenty cuts, of blues standards and Kerry’s originals, all composed in the style of the early Delta masters.  Special guest vocalists include Alexis P. Suter, and the late Sam Taylor.

Leading off, Kerry’s stompin’ slide glides thru the traditional blues of “Lawdy Mama, don’t need to worry,” with added harp from Charlie Wolfe and B-3 from Tony Campo.  Kerry’s composition, “World Train,” is done with acoustic dobro, and recounts a trip from “Mississippi to Tennessee,” on that mighty train, with mandolin from Papa Jim Fleming!  Another excellent cut is the Americana-flavored cover of Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country,” with Maria Fairchild on banjo and duet vocals.  Maria also adds the layered second guitar on one of our favorites, the beautiful take of “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms.”

We had a tough time picking out more favorites, for, trust us, they are all good, but we chose two, one cover and one original.  “Sweet Home Chicago” is a bluesman’s staple, but Kerry treats it herein as a New Orleans-styled romp, with Jason Chapman’s trumpet and killer piano from Mark Mancini ridin’ over Kerry’s slide!  Our other favorite was Kerry’s original, “Thank You Jesus, for your sweet, sweet yesterdays!”  This one is beautiful and bittersweet as well, featuring duet vocals from the late, great Sam Taylor.

With “Got Slide Guitar?,” Kerry Kearney offers up twenty fantastic shots of blues in all shades of the palette, brought to life by his masterful work on the guitar!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Kerry Kearney review…September 24, 2018…..

KERRY KEARNEY

BLACK TEA REVISED

SHAKIN’ LIKE JELLY–LONG TALL MAMA–PRETTY BABY–GOIN’ TO THE MARDI GRAS–STATESBORO BLUES–CREOLE WOMAN–WAKE ME, SHAKE ME, BAKE ME–GIRL FROM MEMPHIS

Guitarist Kerry Kearney (pronounce it CAR-nee) hails from the Long Island area, having won several awards from the LI Blues Society, as well as having been inducted into the prestigious New York Blues Hall Of Fame.  A masterful guitarist and killer slide man, his unique style of blues has been described as “psychedelta,” given his penchant for deftly combining the sounds of the pre-WWII masters with his own blues-rock interpretations.  He has graciously offered us two CD’s for review, and we begin with “Black Tea–Revised,” which features seven outstanding originals and one ultra-cool cover.  With Mario Staiiano on drums, Gerry Sorrentino on bass, and David Cohen on keys, this set covers a wealth of musical territory over its eight cuts.

Leading off is the pounding shuffle of “Shakin’ Like Jelly–I’m your peanut butter, baby!,” setting the definition of “psychedelta,” as well as the tone for the rest of the album.  “Long Tall Mama” is sho’ nuff a cool swig of Sun-drenched rockabilly, as is the set-closing “Girl From Memphis,” with some sweet dobro, and harp from Charlie Wolfe.

Our two favorites further showed Kerry’s amazing uniqueness within individual songs.  A perfect example is his version of Blind Willie’s “Statesboro Blues.”  Most of us know either the Allman Brothers version or the original, but Kerry’s is neither.  This one plays out as a vibrant, New Orleans-styled party anthem, complete with Charlie’s harp, David’s piano, and cool trombone from Victor Poretz!  You can echo those same sentiments on “Wake Me, Shake Me, Bake Me,” this one with Kerry on scalded-dog electric guitar, and David’s piano groove reminiscent of the ABB’s “Southbound.”

There is another excellent set from Kerry Kearney entitled “Got Slide Guitar?”, which will be our featured review on the morrow.  Just as “Black Tea–Revised,” it is a guitar-lover’s dream!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

September Sunday Night with Susan Angeletti…September 23, 2018…..

SUSAN ANGELETTI

BITTERSWEET

INTO THE FLAME–BITTERSWEET–FEEL LOVE TONIGHT–PIECE OF MY HEART–OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER–LOVE DOCTOR–FEELS LIKE RAIN–GO TO HELL–DON’T WANT YOUR LOVE–NOWHERE TO RUN–YOU’RE MY BABY–LOVE IS A DANGEROUS THING

For our third installment of September Sunday Nights with Susan Angeletti, we offer her “Bittersweet” CD.  This set has a lot of good things working in its favor before you even put it in your device.   Many readers of this humble forum may be familiar with drummer/composer/producer Tom Hambridge, as he has gained quite a measure of notoriety thru his recent work with Buddy Guy.  He’s also worked with Susan Tedeschi, and was right at home working as producer for the equally-soulful and big-voiced Ms. Angeletti on this set.

“Bittersweet” is, indeed, just that.  Our heroine penned the originals, and many songs deal with love, the pain of loss, and coping in the aftermath.  Leading off, Susan ponders, amid the pieces of a broken relationship, “did we stare too long Into The Flame?”  Pat Buchanan’s guitar fuels the title cut, as, once again, our girl tries to get along with a lover, but, gets only that “1000-yard stare.”  She closes the set with an ode to just forgetting, drinkin’ your problems away with the funky, late-nite strut of “sometimes, Love Is A Dangerous Thing.”

We had three favorites, too.  The vocal comparisons between Susan and Janis Joplin have always been apparent, and Susan gives a compelling read of the iconic “Piece Of My Heart.”  Our other two favorites totes rocked the joint!  One of her best roadhouse rockers is a punch in the gut to a cheatin’ lover with a cool call-and-response lyric perfect for singing along, “treat me right” or “Go To Hell.”  It’s full of Berry-licious guitar licks, as our girl leaves nothin’ on the table on this one.  Speaking of licks, Susan gets in some good ones on the sly-and-sexy “Love Doctor, never went to doctor school,” but “I’ll fix you up as good as new!”

With “Bittersweet,” Susan Angeletti shows a somewhat softer, more vulnerable side to go along with her bluesy, rocker chick side.  It makes for a great listen, and is good for what ails you.  Oh, Susan—isn’t it time for my medicine now?   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Rachelle Coba review…September 22, 2018…

RACHELLE COBA

BLINK

AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC  ASM 7411

HIGH AND DRY–DANCE THESE BLUES AWAY–GOOD OLE HEARTBREAK–NO DEALS–RIVER OF BLOOD–BLINK–BAD REPUTATION–YOU STOLE MY HEART–SHUFFLE YA–MAYBE–BLAME IT ON THE BLUES

We were first introduced to the immensely-talented Rachelle Coba a few years ago thru her producer, keyboard whiz John Ginty.  Her 2014 release, “Mother Blues,” established her as a force in contemporary blues, and its follow-up is here.  “Blink” finds Rachelle offering up eleven originals and co-writes that covers a wide range of her musical influences, from blues to soul to funk, with even a touch of the Delta added in.  In addition to Rachelle on vocals and guitar, John Ginty is co-producer, along with Ben Elliott, and John is on all things keys.  Together, they make a powerful statement on this record.

That funk hits the fan on the opening cut, when a lover leaves our girl “High And Dry,” with John’s piano preachin’ fire and brimstone, and Rachelle’s guitar smokin’ the solo!  That segues’ into a slowed-down look at our heroine as she’s “lookin’ to ease my mind” with a girls’ night out to “Dance These Blues Away!”  She refuses to let evil get her in a bind and spits on the ground down at the Crossroads, defiantly stating “I ain’t making No Deals!”

That Crossroads theme makes a slight return of sorts, with at tune co-written by Rachelle and Liz Mandeville.  It’s the story of the corruption that went along with the building of the levees along the Mississippi River, leading to memories of nothing but “greed and sin” in a “River Of Blood,” serving as one of our favorites.

Rachelle closes the set on a really soulful note.  Two lovers constantly at odds, and where she always loses, has her ready to just “Blame It On The Blues.”  Our other favorite showed that same soulful side on a cut that sounds as if it could have been a long-lost gem from Barbara Lewis or Dusty Springfield.  It has a cool Sixties’ vibe, helped immensely by vintage piano from John, as Rachelle welcomes “Good Ole Heartbreak, here we go again!”

Rachelle Coba has a beautiful, supple voice that lends itself well to varied kinds of material.  She puts it all together for everyone to enjoy  with “Blink!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.