Archive for January, 2019

Dearling review…January 30, 2019…

DEARLING

SILVER AND GOLD

WHAT I DON’T NEED–SILVER AND GOLD–CHAMPION–REAL LOVE

Denver, CO-based quartet Dearling burst onto the Americana scene with their debut, “Inheritance,” and knew, afterwards, that they’d have to up the ante on their sophomore release to keep up with the changing tastes of today’s sometimes-hard-to-please listeners.  Thus, they have just completed “Silver And Gold,” for release on February 22.  It is a four-song EP that focuses on the incredible talents of vocalist Rachel James and guitarist/vocalist Dave Preston.  This is what they  refer to as “Colorado country,” meaning that it is comprised of several influences, including alt-country, rock, and folk.  Rounding out the foursome are brothers Joel and Noah Matthews, on drums and bass, respectively, and long-time fixtures on the Colorado scene.

This set leads off with the radio-ready duet of our lovers proclaiming their love for one another, “like something strong in my cup,” “What I Don’t Need,” a fine shot of contemporary country with a touch of rock.  The set closes in a similar vein, with the more subdued tones of “Real Love.  Here, our lovers realize that true love is “the kind that don’t hide.”  In between, the title cut served as our favorite.  “Silver And Gold” looks at the everyday hero–not necessarily the Lebrons or the Bradys, but the firemen, policemen, teachers, and others who are “warmin’ up the cold” for others, treatin’ love like Silver And Gold.”

Dave and Rachel married in 2014, and their creative talents began making music that tells a story.  They have become extremely comfortable in their writing, and “Silver And Gold” brings to life the concepts of true love and everyday heroes.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Jason Robert review…January 27, 2019….

JASON ROBERT

THE DEATH OF STONE STANLEY

SOMEDAY–SOUL OF A MAN–ALL I NEED–MR. BELL–MOONSHINER–YOU GOTTA MOVE–GOOD VIBES–SAT AROUND–NEVER GONNA DIE–JOHN THE REVELATOR–HEREAFTER–WOKE UP THIS MORNING

Jason Robert hails from Hesperia, CA, in San Bernadino County.  This area has been compared to the Old West, and Jason’s latest release, “The Death Of Stone Stanley,” embodies that region, as Jason combines blues, folk, Americana and even gospel into a style he refers to as “Mudstomp,” which, after repeated listenings, we likened to a grungier, more reverb-oriented amalgam of the music of the Hill Country in North Mississippi.  As one listens, one can also sense that “lost” or “soul-searching” quality in his vocals.  (Think Muddy in “Two Trains Runnin’ or Son House in “Death Letter Blues.”).  Those vocals and powerful guitar sounds bring this material into sharp focus, beginning with “Someday,” where one day “I’ll meet my Redeemer face to face where I belong.” “All I Need” takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the divisiveness rampant in today’s society, as Jason looks at focusing on the simpler aspects of life.  “Good Vibes” is another of Jason’s originals that also seeks enjoyment from simple pleasures, by “lettin’ the rough side drag, it just might smooth out.”  This one follows a cool, reggae backbeat, too.

Our favorites tho, were the gospel-themed cuts from the pre-WWII masters, and how Jason worked them into the overall concept of this album.  First up is Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul Of A Man,” likening a man’s soul to “his mind,” as well as “a burnin’ light.”  “Woke Up This Morning” is a nod to Mississippi Fred McDowell and closes “The Death Of Stone Stanley,” as our hero awakens on that distant shore, “with my mind straight on Jesus!”  And, a set such as this would not be complete without perhaps Blind Willie Johnson’s most famous piece, the story of  Christ and his twelve Apostles, “three he led away,” the powerful “John The Revelator.”

Jason Robert’s talent as a composer, guitarist, and vocalist is undeniable.  He has taken the premise of Delta blues and infused it with a sound that is rough, raw, and, indeed, unique.  His originals are created in the style of the past masters, and, “The Death Of Stone Stanley” is a crowning achievement!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Tomislav Goluban review…January 26, 2019…..

TOMISLAV GOLUBAN

CHICAGO RAMBLER

SPONA CD 203

PIGEON SWING–LOCKED HEART–BAG FULL OF TROUBLES (FEAT. JOE FILISKO)–JERRY RICKS ON MY MIND–CAN’T FIND MYSELF–HOME MADE HONEY–ONE WAY TICKET–DO THE RIGHT THING–LITTLE PIGEON (FEAT. JOE FILISKO)–JERRY RICKS ON MY MIND (ACOUSTIC)–SEARCHIN’ FOR MY BABY–I’LL GO TO MY COTTAGE

Fans, the “Croatian Sen-Sa-Shun” is back!  Yup, for his tenth studio album, Croatian harmonica man Tomislav Goluban ventured to the hallowed ground of the Windy City to immerse himself in the sounds and history of Chicago to get just the right feel for “Chicago Rambler.”  Tomislav wrote all the cuts save for the one traditional Croatian song that closes the set, and he is on vocals and harp throughout.  Eric Noden is on guitar, with stalwarts E. G. McDaniel on bass, and Beedy Eyes Smith on drums.  Guest Joe Filisko adds harp on two cuts.

Tomislav counts among his influences just about all the greats–Little Walter, Big Walter, Kim Wilson, and a host of others.  Now, they call this man the “Little Pigeon,” and he starts this party with an @$$-kickin’ instrumental, aptly-titled “Pigeon Swing,”  blowin’ like a reincarnation of both Walters.  Joe Filisko joins the party as the fellows get into a cool Junior Wells groove with “Bag Full Of Troubles,” while Eric adds some deep slide guitar on the dark-and-stormy blues of “Can’t Find Myself, on this long and lonesome road.”  Joe returns for Tomislav’s “autobiography,” if you will, the swagger-filled braggadocio of “they call me Little Pigeon–I like to strut across the floor!”

We had several favorites.  Back in the mid-Nineties, when we were members of the original Music City Blues Society, Philadelphia Jerry Ricks was one of our members, and played around town.  He sadly passed in 2007, but he was a major influence on Tomislav, who “taught me what the blues was all about,” and Tomislav returns the favor with the sweet, rhumba-rock of “Philadelphia Jerry Ricks On My Mind,” which appears later in acoustic form.  Our other favorite was also an acoustic number, the Delta-fied, call-and-response of :Searchin’ For My Baby.”

Tomislav Goluban is sho’ nuff rockin’ the roads.  Right this very minute, he’s down on Beale for the IBC’s, and he’s fulfilled a lifelong dream of recording in the Windy City with “Chicago Rambler!”  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Coyote Motel review…January 25, 2019….

TED DROZDOWSKI

COYOTE MOTEL

DOLLY SEZ WOOF DSW 003

STILL AMONG THE LIVING–JOSH GIBSON–LOS ALAMOS–FROG ALLEY–DOWN IN CHULAHOMA–TROUBLE–MY FRIEND–JIMMY BROWN–57 FLAVORS–TIN PAN ALLEY

It has been our pleasure to have known Ted Drozdowski since he moved to Nashville some years back.  But, we were familiar with his music and his contributions to publications such as “Blues Revue” long before his move.  He’s always been a wonderfully-unique individual with a kind heart and a gentle soul.  As guitarists go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one any better, even in a town noted for ’em.  And, he can hold his own with any of the writers you can name.  His latest band and album share the same name, “Coyote Motel.”  There are nine originals and one cover, with excellent examples of protest songs, songs that evoke memories of his time spent in the Hill Country of North Mississippi, with the likes of Jessie Mae Hemphill, Junior KImbrough, and R. L. Burnside, and some songs that are just plain fun.

Joining Ted, who’s on guitars, diddley-bow, percussion and vocals, we have Sean Zywick on bass, and Kyra Curenton on drums.  There are a couple of cool tracks that deal with the Apocalypse, and one of them leads off.  Pounding, Doomsday-ish percussion drives the haunting “Still Among The Living,” while, a little later on, “Los Alamos” is a bit more light-hearted, as “Jesus is coming, and he’s got a grudge!”  “Frog Alley” is a real twang-fest that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the opioid crisis in East Tennessee, while the set closes with one of Ted’s favorite songs, as well as one of ours.  The set’s lone cover is done in tribute to SRV, the iconic “Tin Pan Alley.”  Ted sets it over echo effect instrumentation in that place where people “live for whiskey, wine, and gin!”

We loved Ted’s “hero songs” the best, tho.  A song that rocks with punk-like abandon details the life of “Jimmy Brown,” who’s “daddy marched with Dr. King.”  “Josh Gibson” traces the life and times of the great slugger from the old pre-Integration Negro Leagues, whose 800 home runs are legendary.  Herein, Ted aptly describes Babe Ruth as “the white man’s JG!”  And, Ted uses the beats of the Hill Country to describe his feelings about “My Friend,” the late soul man, Mighty Sam McClain.

Ted Drozdowski has always had an avant-garde, free-wheeling outlook on not only his music, but life in general.  A staunch animal activist and a man we are proud to call our friend, he has brought that same feel to the grooves of “Coyote Motel.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Ina Forsman review…January 24, 2019…..

INA FORSMAN

BEEN MEANING TO TELL YOU

RUF RECORDS 1262

BE MY HOME–GET MINE–ALL GOOD–GENIUS–WHATCHA GONNA DO–WHY YOU GOTTA BE THAT WAY–MISS MISTREATED–FIGURE–WHO HURT YOU–EVERY SINGLE BEAT–CHAINS–SUNNY

Ina Forsman burst onto the worldwide blues scene in 2016, as one of Thomas Ruf’s hottest talents, solidifying that rep during the 2016 Blues Caravan tour.  She had a load of new songs on her phone during that time, but, as Fate would have it, she lost her phone and, sadly, everything in it.  But, she dusted herself off and spent two years bringing forth a new set of songs that have become the twelve cuts of “Been Meaning To Tell You.”

Leading off is a swirling, piano-driven ballad done for “the ones that I love,” entitled, “Be My Home.”  She revels in the pure joy of being young and a singer in the wah-wah-infused quasi-rap of “Get Mine,” while she gets downright soulful in an ode to being grateful for her many blessings, “All Good.”  She takes a clever look at sexual harassment with two cuts that address the situation from the viewpoint of each respective sex.  “Whatcha Gonna Do, honey, can’t let her get away,” looks at wrong decisions made from the guy’s point of view.  Then, the guy who just won’t leave our girl alone is the subject of “Why You Gotta Be That Way,” and looks at the problem from the female perspective.  She closes the set powerfully, giving her voice free rein in a cool a capella love song, “Sunny.”

Perhaps the set’s bluesiest cut served as our favorite.  Soulful, searing guitar from Blues Award nominee Laura Chavez and keys from Red Young play out over our heroine’s tale of being used by those whom she thought she could trust, “Miss Mistreated.”

Ina Forsman seems to have picked up right where she left off in 2016.  That promise of stardom has now been fulfilled by “Been Meaning To Tell You.”  Perhaps losing her phone wasn’t so bad after all….Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Juliet Simmons Dinallo review…January 21, 2019….

JULIET SIMMONS DINALLO

DREAM GIRL

BFD 140

DREAM GIRL–MOONSHINE AND SWEET TEA–THE ABYSS–SOMEONE FOR YOU–TENNESSEE–FLY (A PRAYER FOR SANDY HOOK)–DON’T GOT MUCH–UNTIL I GO–CURIOUS GEORGE–IN THE CORNER

Juliet Simmons Dinallo grew up in Maine and Boston, but now resides amidst the musically-fertile ground of East Nashville.  Drawing on a style that is playfully described as “Boston roots and cowgirl boots,” she has just released her latest album, “Dream Girl.”  Her rich, supple voice pulls in elements of both Nashville and Memphis, and this set deals with the challenges involved with moving, growing up, and getting older.

The set begins with the title cut, written by Juliet’s husband for their daughter, Annabel.  (Thus its actual title, “Dream Girl (Annabel’s Lullaby.”)  This breezy track finds our heroine looking at the world thru a child’s perspective, “dreamin; of a better world,” and is reprised at the end of the set, with Annabel’s recording debut, singing the track!  In between, there is a poignant look at the Sandy Hook tragedy, “Fly (A Prayer For Sandy Hook)”, with additional backing vocals from fellow Bostonians Amber Casares and Anita Sahanin.  They also add backing vocals to a beautiful, waltz-time number, “Moonshine And Sweet Tea,” with the authentic instrumentation provided by Tim Carter, a direct link to the Carter Family.

Our favorites leaned more toward Juliet’s bluesier side.  A mythical 200-mile road trip evokes memories of “white picket fences, all the way from Nashville to Memphis,” the bright-and-breezy “Tennessee.”  And, “Curious George”is rocked-up, stones style, and deals with spoiled-brat rich kids, who, sadly, grow into spoiled-brat adults, wondering “what their money won’t buy!”

Juliet Simmons Dinallo is touring throughout Tennessee, and makes a couple of stops in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and one in Acton, MA.  Get out and support her and her brilliant voice and “Dream Girl.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Benny Turner and Cash McCall review…January 21, Martin Luther King Day, 2019….

BENNY TURNER AND CASH MCCALL

GOING BACK HOME

NOLA BLUE RECORDS  NB 007

GOT TO FIND A WAY–SPOONFUL–POISON IVY–MONEY–SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER–IT HURTS ME TOO–IT’S A MAN DOWN THERE–THE DIRTY DOZENS–BUILT FOR COMFORT–BRING IT ON HOME

There just ain’t nothin’ better than two veteran blues men doing what they do best–gettin’ together to get down on some of the classics from the cream of the entire blues canon.  That’s what we have with the latest from Benny Turner and Cash McCall, affectionately-entitled “Going Back Home,” for the NOLA Blue label.

Benny, the younger brother of the great Freddie King, and Cash, met in the clubs on the South and West Side of Chicago over sixty years ago. They decided to put together a set of standards and originals done up in the old-school way, just the way they rocked the house back in the good ol’ days.

The party starts with a good-old horn-fueled soul shouter, “I Got To Find A Way to get you back,” as Benny’s daughters, the Turner Sisters, give this one a gospel-ish, Staples Singers vibe.  Benny is on vocal, with Cash on rhythm guitar on the iconic “I’m like Poison Ivy, I’ll break out all over you!”  The fun just keeps on comin’ with good-time takes on Elmore’s “Shake Your Moneymaker” and a cool re-working of his “One Way Out,” with different lyrics that play out as “It’s A Man Down There–might be yo’ man, I don’t know.”

This whole thing is juiced and loose like a long-necked goose, and Cash’s vocals prove that he’s still got it goin’ on.  Check out his original, “Money,” about tough times in the world today, where “talk is cheap, except when there’s 20% inflation!”  And he goes right on down to the alley behind Memphis Music for “The Dirty Dozens,” where, as Roosevelt Sykes used to say, it’s a dirty mother for you, don’t you know!”

These weren’t even our favorites.  Cash is on vocal and Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone is on the harp for “Spoonful.”  Now, the story always was that it was Hubert Sumlin on guitar on the Chess original, but recent statements show that it was more likely Benny’s brother, Freddie King on the original, and, with Benny on rhythm herein, this song comes full-circle.  The set closes with a stone blues party as Billy Branch joins in on vocals and harp on Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Bring It On Home.”  As the festivities draw to a close, Billy, Cash, and Benny recall tales of their youth in the clubs of Chicago!

Fans, this was a whole lot of fun.  Benny and Cash are having their CD release party down at Malcolm Anthony’s Memphis Music at 149 Beale, from 1:30-4:30 PM on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019.  If you can make it, please do so, and purchase a copy of “Going Back Home” and a T-shirt to help defray Cash’s medical expenses, then do one more thing—shake their hands, pose for a selfie, and tell them how much you appreciate them and their talents, and how much their music, and the music of their all-too-few remaining contemporaries means to you!  Fellows, we got the pork chop sandwiches covered, and we love you!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, the Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.