Archive for May, 2019

Silver Lake 66 review…May 31, 2019….

SILVER LAKE 66

RAGGED HEART

BLUE EARTH COUNTY–RAGGED HEART–BROKEN–FADED TATTOO–TENDER–CHECK OUT TO CASH–HARD THING TO DO–LIKE A RIVER–BROKEN DREAMS AND CIGARETTES–SUCH A MESS

Silver Lake 66 are Maria Francis (vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion), and Jeff Overbo (vocals, acoustic, electric, and baritone guitars), and they hail from the Portland, Oregon, region.  Fans, they have it ALL, y’all–roots steeped deep in classic country, roots, and good ole rock ‘n’ roll, and display it for everyone on ten originals that make up their latest set, “Ragged Heart.”  Like any great duet, the pair switch off on lead vocals, and sweet, strong harmonies are plentiful.  Their full sound is rounded out by a brilliant band of backing musicians, including producer, pedal steel, and alto sax man Bryan Daste.

Jeff lights the fuse to this dynamite party, joined by Maria, on the country-rockin’ tale of a man tryin’ to “find my blessing” with “Derek And The Dominos to satisfy my mind,” in “Blue Earth County.”  Maria takes the lead on the story of busted love and second chances, where “you never said life would be easy,” the title cut, “Ragged Heart.”

Jeff gives a shout-out to Southern rock with “Check Out To Cash,” while it’s cry-in-your-beer time down at Tootsie’s as Maria lays her heart out on the story of lovin’ a cheater, which, as any country fan knows, is a “Hard Thing To Do.”

Our favorite was a gimme.  Channeling George and Tammy at their “Golden Ring”-era finest, our lovers trade lines throughout, and each one knows what  it’s like when you’re “Broken.”

With the CMA Fest taking over downtown this week, perhaps now might be a great time for the suits down on Sixteenth Avenue to take a long listen to Silver Lake 66 and “Ragged Heart.”  It might  serve as a reminder to them what that “C” actually stands for.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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Kevin Breit review…May 30, 2019….

KEVIN BREIT

STELLA BELLA STRADA

STONY PLAIN RECORDS   SPCD 1406

A COMMON VOW–BUTTONS AND ZIPPERS–VEGAS ADDRESS–MOTHER’S CUPBOARD–SHOO THE BLUEBIRD–STELLA BELLA STRADA–OF SILK AND HONEY–MARCELLO LOREN–IF YOU KNEW–KICK AT THE GRAPE

Guitar virtuoso Kevin Breit released two albums for Stony Plain Records in collaboration with fellow fretburner Harry Manx, and has now completed his second solo project for the label.  “Solo” hits it squarely on the head–Kevin is not only on guitars, mandolin, and bass clarinet, he serves as producer, and headed up the mixing, mastering, and engineering as well.  Also, as with his other musical projects, many of his friends are along for the ride.

Special mention must be made of the guitar used by Kevin throughout this set.  The Stella Bella Strada was custom-made for Kevin by Joseph Yanuziello, and he puts it to great use on these ten unique instrumentals.

Leading off the parade is a string section intro that gives way to Kevin’s single-note leads, making  “A Common Vow” quite the orchestral statement!  “Buttons And Zippers” plugs into a funky second-line pattern, this time utilizing a horn section.  “Vegas Address” is full of showmanship and pomp and circumstance befitting that town, while the title cut features some of the few words on this album.  An Italian-spoken intro gives way to flashy runs on this unique guitar over another orchestral backdrop and Gary Breit’s Wurlitzer organ!

Kevin Breit’s last album, “Johnny Goldtooth And The Chevy Casanovas,” was nominated for Best Instrumental Album at the 2019 Juno Awards.  His latest, the “beautiful star of the road,” “Stella Bella Strada,” is another guitar masterpiece!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Meghan Hayes review…May 29, 2019….

MEGHAN HAYES

SEEN ENOUGH LEAVERS

CRANKY HEARTBURN MUSIC  CHM 53072-03

GEORGETTE–SEEN ENOUGH LEAVERS–THIS SUMMER’S SLEEPER–BURLEY–POTHOLES–CORA–BIRTHDAY IN THE PAWNSHOP (MORRISTOWN)–SECOND TO LAST STAND–NEXT TIME AROUND–STORY OF MY LIFE

Meghan Hayes is a brilliant East Nashville songwriter who has just finished her third album, this one a collection of ten originals entitled “Seen Enough Leavers.”  Meghan had just gotten a divorce after a twenty-year marriage, and these songs feature elements of pain and loss, which would be expected in such a situation.  However, Meghan takes things a bold step forward with this material.  As you listen, you’ll find some silver linings in the clouds, along with the faintest glimmer of sunshine peeking over the horizon to signal the hope and salvation that comes with each new day.

The title cut speaks volumes.  Set over Audley Freed’s 12-string guitar, Meghan’s “Seen Enough Leavers to know he won’t  be back,” while proclaiming that “Time’s the fastest thing I know, it’s run away with everything I’ve had to show,”  Bad memories surface in “Potholes,” where “we’re just done shoveling us out when another one starts.”  She closes the set with her own accompaniment on acoustic guitar and Derry DeBorja on accordion, as she spins a somber autobiography, where I’ve been out looking for the light” becomes “The Story Of My Life.”

Undoubtedly, tho, the set’s centerpiece was “A Birthday In The Pawnshop (Morristown).”  It deals with a young girl from a broken home whose adult life fares no better, until her tragic “farewell party of meth and wine.”

Human emotions and their complexities often force one to cope in the best way they know how.  For Meghan Hayes, she poured out her heart into the songs of “Seen Enough Leavers” and brought us all along for an incredible ride!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Michele D’Amour review…May 27, 2019…..

MICHELE D’AMOUR

AND THE LOVE DEALERS

HEART OF MEMPHIS

BLUESKITTY RECORDS

ANOTHER SLEEPLESS NIGHT–DIRTY POOL–COME ON OVER–CRADLE TO THE HEARSE–NO TIME–HEART OF MEMPHIS–MEMPHIS SOUL STEW–STRANGE ANGELS

Michele D’Amour grew up in the Seattle region, and she and her band, The Love Dealers, have four releases already under their belt.  Back in January, they made the trek to Memphis for the IBC,  and were so taken in by the ambience and history of the Bluff City that they headed straight to Royal Studios and producer Boo Mitchell to lay down what would become their fifth release, “Heart Of Memphis.”  Seven originals and one sho’ nuff funky cover make this one a solid package, indeed!

Michele’s got that big, bold voice, and The Love Dealers have a cool rhythm and horn section, laying down a serious groove, no matter the song.  Leading off is the Santana-by-way-of-Peter Green vibe of “Another Sleepless Night, my baby’s gone away!”  Michele gets into her best come-hither lines to coax a lover to “Come On Over, I need some relief,” in this smoldering, sexy, strutter.  Our heroine later finds herself down at the Crossroads in “Cradle To The Hearse,” where “nothin’s so bad it can’t get worse!”  This one has some fierce, booty-kickin’ sax from Noel Barnes.  Everybody gets funky on a cool take of one of STAX’s most iconic instrumentals, “Memphis Soul Stew,” and they close out with our favorite.  Michele plays the blues preacher to the hilt as she lays out a bittersweet story of playing in bars for the lovers, the broken, the homeless, and those who just want to drink their troubles away over a musical backdrop.  It’s a church-ified tale of “Strange Angels,” where “we’re all community here,” unlikely shepherds to a culturally-diverse flock.

Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers are all fantastic musicians in their own right.  When you add the soul, blues, and overall vibe of Memphis and the Royal Studios into the mix, “Heart Of Memphis” becomes a powerful set, indeed!!!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

 

Jon Gindick review…May 26, 2019….

JON GINDICK

LOVE AT THE ALL NIGHT CAFE

I WAS BORN TO WAIL–FEELING HER GONE–BABY’S GOT THE BLUES–THE ALL NIGHT CAFE–LOAD ME UP BABY–MISSISSIPPI MOODS–HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE, HAPPY HOME–THE SONG I COULDN’T WRITE–I LOVE THE FEMININE GIRL–HAND HOLDING MAN–CAN’T GET THAT GIRL OFF MY MIND–IN THE LAND OF YOU

Jon Gindick is a master harp player, UC-Berkeley grad (1970), and a composer extraordinaire.  He grew up a Beatles and Stones fan, as did many of us, but was drawn to the harp after hearing Larry Adler’s version of ‘Rhapsody In Blue.”  For his second release, he has teamed up with producer-bassist-keyboard-and anything else with strings-man Ralph Carter drummer Pete Gallagher, and guitar man Franck “Paris Slim” Goldwasser for “Love At The All Night Cafe,” twelve tasty blues morsels full of his unique, harp-fired looks at life, love, and everything in between.

Kicking things off, Jon proclaims, “I Was Born To Wail,” and name-checks Walter, Sonny Boy, and many more of his harp heroes.  The title cut served as one of our favorites.  Set over a sweet samba groove, Jon’s harp sets the backdrop for the place where lonely lovers can always find 24-hour service, “The All Night Cafe.”  A song that oughta be required listening for all men 18-and-over, “,even tho “it might cost you some dough,” it’ll be worth it in the long run, is “Happy Wife, Happy Life, Happy Home!”

Our other favorite finds Jon in a good ole Excello groove, as he extols the virtues of his lover, from her swingin’ hips, her hourglass figure, and “high class bad ass, and I’m her crazy fool,” “I Love The Feminine Girl.”

As we walk down the celestial fields of life, it’s always a good thing when you’ve an excellent storyteller with a little Delbert in his soul to get you thru both the good and not-so-good times.  Jon Gindick is such an artist.  A brilliant harpoon man, he’s made an instructional video on teaching the harp with B. B. King,  You can get yo’ fill of good blues as well as “Love At The All Night Cafe.”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Sunday Wilde review….May 25, 2019…

SUNDAY WILDE AND THE -EYED JACKS

EVIL–LOVE IS–DEAD MAN’S CLOTHES–SHOW ME MERCY–DEAD PRESIDENTS–IT HURTS ME TOO–MY BABY’S DEAD–CAPTURED ME–SPIRITS UP MY FRIEND–SWEAR YOU’RE CHEATIN–I GUESS I DIDN’T HEAR YOU

Sunday Wilde is a sho’ nuff blues-beltin’, piano-poundin’ mama from Thunder Bay Ontario, who possesses a voice big, bold, and brassy enough to get and hold your attention.  She and her band have just released their eighth set, the self-titled “Sunday Wilde And The 1-Eyed Jacks.”  Herein, she applies that tremendous voice to eleven cuts, a cool mix of originals and covers that deal with loves won and lost, and a touching tribute to an old friend.

Leading off is a voodoo-esque read of “Evil is goin’ on,” and is quite different from Wolf’s or even Koko’s versions, filled with twangin guitar and honkin’ sax.  “Give Me Mercy” finds our heroine out of touch after pulling an all-nighter trying to drown her sorrows with nary a friend to be found.

In a beautiful tribute to her late partner, Reno Jack, she offers the poignant piano-and-vocal of “Spirits Up, My Friend, it’ll only be a flash ’til we meet again.”

She pitches a mean boogie, and those served as our favorites.  Calling out a no-good lover, she tries to be strong, but, “I Swear You’re Cheatin’ every time you turn around!”  And, she knows what it’s like when “I ain’t broke but I’m badly bent,” on a hot read of Little Walter’s “Dead Presidents!”

Sunday Wilde has won numerous songwriting awards, has been on the Roots Music Report for several months, and ol’ Harpdog Brown himself declares that she’s “pure blues!”  Check it out for yourself with “Sunday Wilde And The 1-Eyed Jacks!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, THe Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Tomiko Dixon review…May 24, 2019….

TOMIKO DIXON

BLUES ARISING

LITTLE RED ROOSTER–I’M READY–IT DON’T MAKE SENSE, YOU CAN’T MAKE PEACE–IT DON’T MAKE SENSE, YOU CAN’T MAKE PEACE (INST.)–YOU DON’T WANT TO MESS WITH THE IRS–YOU DON’T WANT TO MESS WITH THE IRS (INST.)–WANG DANG DOODLE–HEARTACHE BLUES–A NEW DAY ARISING–A NEW DAY ARISING (INST.)

Tomiko Dixon is sho’ nuff blues royalty.  Yup–her grandfather was the one and only legend of the blues, bassist and composer extraordinaire Willie Dixon.  Willie wrote some of the most powerful songs in the entire blues canon, from “Hoochie Coochie Man” to “Little Red Rooster,” to “Wang Dang Doodle,” and countless others that we have all grown up listening to.  Tomiko has taken her huge voice and lent it to several of grandad’s greatest plus a few other originals and turned it into “Blues Arising.”  In the grand tradition of Koko, Big Time Sarah, Zora Young, Mary Lane, and other powerhouse women of the blues,  she treats these classics with respect, and shows a passion for this music that is unparalleled.

She leads off with a 21ST Century contemporary take on that “Little Red Rooster on the prowl,” before gettin’ down to bidness with the traditional Chicago-styled sounds of “drinkin TNT and smokin’ dynamite,” the iconic “I’m Ready,” and an equally-impressive read of “pitchin’ a ball, on down to the Union Hall,” at that “Wang Dang Doodle!”

Tomiko shows off her “torchy” side, with only her vocal and piano for the smoldering, church-ified “Heartache Blues.”  And further proving that a great singer can handle any material, she closes the set with a pure-country anthem of survival, growth, and prospering throughout whatever life may throw at you, “A New Day Arising.”

Tomiko Dixon is a noted philanthropist who continues to give back to the music community that has given so much to her.  As for grandad’s music, well, with “Blues Arising,” it is definitely in good hands!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.