Archive for November, 2019

Warren Storm review…November 30, 2019…..

WARREN STORM

TAKING THE WORLD, BY STORM

A REGIONAL ROOTS JOURNEY WITH THE GODFATHER OF SWAMP POP

APO RECORDS  APO 2026

LONG AS I CAN SEE THE LIGHT–MATHILDA–LONELY NIGHTS–LET THE FOUR WINDS BLOW–TENNESSEE BLUES–MAMA MAMA MAMA–MY MOMENTS OF SORROW–PRISONER’S SONG–MY HOUSE OF MEMORIES–TROUBLES TROUBLES–RAINING IN MY HEART

Warren “Storm” Schexnider is a musical legend, and especially in his home region of South Louisiana.  Growing up in rural Vermillion Parish, he is a master of what is lovingly referred to as “swamp pop,” an amalgam of traditional Cajun sounds mixed with blues, R & B, zydeco, and country, and made popular in the Fifties.  Warren Storm has done it all–he’s been a drummer, a singer, and a front man.  Yvette Landry wrote his biography, “Taking The World, By Storm,” and this album, the accompanying soundtrack, if you will, also has the name “A Regional Roots Journey With The Godfather Of Swamp Pop.”  Rather than re-hash many of Warren’s seminal recordings for this project, his vocals were so strong that the decision was made to record an all-new album. He and his band headed to Dockside Studios, where all eleven tracks were laid down on half-inch tape, live-in-studio, the way they did it back in the Fifties.

Joining Warren on this project are John Fogerty, Marc Broussard, and Yvette Landry on vocals, and Sonny Landreth on slide guitar.  The set opens with one of our favorites, and one of the set’s most powerful performances, as Warren and John Fogerty duet on one of John’s most endearing classics, “Long As I Can See The Light,” featuring Derek Huston on sax.  “Mathilda” is a traditional Cajun love song, inspired by Fifties’ pop, presented herein with Marc Broussard on vocals, Eric Adcock on piano, and Sonny Landreth on slide guitar.  Warren brings a plaintive touch to the lovelorn vocal on a tender read of Robert Charles Guidry’s “Tennessee Blues,” with pedal steel from Richard Comeaux, and fiddle from Beau Thomas.

We had two other favorites.  Yvette Landry joins Warren on a playful duet of one of his earliest hits, “Mama Mama Mama, guess what your little boy’s done?”  The set closes with the Slim Harpo classic, “Raining In My Heart,” with Derek on sax, Eric on piano, and Roddie Romero on guitar.

At 82 years young, Warren Storm’s voice is as vibrant and powerful as ever, and he has lovingly recorded a new album of standards that have helped him earn the nickname “The Godfather Of Swamp Pop,” over a career that has spanned nearly seventy years!  Enjoy and hear for yourself this great singer’s talent with “Taking The World, By Storm!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance

Rebekah Meldrum review…November 28, 2019…Happy Thanksgiving!!!

REBEKAH MELDRUM

(SELF-TITLED)

SET YOUR SOUL FREE–WHISKEY AND WINE–FAR AWAY–AIN’T THINKING ‘BOUT YOU–GYPSY–COAT TAILS–I’M HERE

Songstress Rebekah Meldrum gets the passion involved in loving the blues, comparing it to a near-religious experience.  Makes perfect sense, as she is a preacher’s daughter who grew up singing in her church.  However, hearing Koko Taylor at age eight changed her young life,  and she took the fork in the path of the musical road that led to the blues.  Now, fans everywhere can witness to her powerful and methodical approach to the blues.  She has just released her self-titled debut, seven originals that trace that musical road down thru the Delta, contemporary blues, New Orleans-styled rhythms, and even country.

Backing Rebekah, Paul Holdman is on guitar and duet vocals, and Patrick Long and Severn Records special guest Tad Robinson are on the harps.  The journey begins deep down in the Delta, with Paul’s guitar and Tad’s harp adding to the spiritual groove of Rebekah’s “words to live by,” “Set Your Soul Free” and “enjoy that ride!”  Next up is a more contemporary “shot,” if you will, as our heroine “loves my Whiskey And Wine,” featuring more of Tad’s Walter-riffic harp lines.  A Susan Tedeschi-inspired song “Far Away,” has our girl longing for a better time and place, while one of our favorites is a new outlook on life, the funky strut of “I Ain’t Thinking “Bout You!!”  “Gypsy” follows a laid-back groove, telling the story of that girl with the wandering soul who “likes to dance anywhere,” and can “surprise you when you least expect it!”

Our final favorite closed the set.  “I’m Here” features Paul on duet vocals as he and Rebekah offer a poignant ode to victims of suicide and those they leave behind, always vowing that “I’m here,” to lend an open ear.

The pull of the secular versus the sacred has always been a strong one throughout the history of mankind.  With Rebekah Meldrum, she has successfully straddled that imaginary line, and with her self-titled debut, she shows that the blues was indeed the right path for her!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Joanna Connor review….November 25, 2019…..

JOANNA CONNOR

RISE

MC RECORDS  MC 0086

FLIP–BAD HAND (FEAT. MIKE ZITO)–JOANNA IN A–EARTHSHAKER–RISE–SINCE I FELL FOR YOU–MY IRISH FATHER–MUTHA–IF YOU WANT ME TO STAY–CHERISH AND WORSHIP YOU–BLUES TONIGHT-DEAR AMERICA

Forget the fact that Joanna Connor is lovingly referred to as that “middle-aged lady with the scorching guitar.”  She’s one of the best slide players on the planet, gender notwithstanding.  For her first album since 2016 and “Six String Stories,” she carries this bidness on of dazzling guitar licks and wailin’ vocals throughout her latest, “Rise,” for MC Records.  It is ten originals and two covers that allow Joanna to stretch out a bit from her traditional sounds. Herein, she explores jazz, Celtic music, and even a touch of hip-hop.  Her current backing band now features Joewaun Scott on bass, Cameron Lewis and Tyrone Mitchell on drums, Delby Littlejohn on keys, and young rapper Alphonso BuggZ Dinero.

The set opens with one of those shots of contemporary blues, “Flip.”  It’s the lusty tale of a May-December romance, and a young man’s entry into “the Cougar club!”  Alphonso expounds upon the theme with a killer rap break at the end of this one.  “Bad Hand” is next, chronicling young folks and their sometimes-unwise choices, and living with the consequences.  This one has Mike Zito on vocals and guitar, also.

One of our favorites was Joanna’s sultry take on the Lenny Welch Sixties’ chestnut, “Since I Fell For You,” and the misery and pain brought on by love.  “My Irish Father” is Joanna’s Celtic-flavored tribute to her ancestry, and her birth father, a former NBA player.  There are several more excellent instrumentals, including “Joanna In A,” and the jazzy title cut, giving everyone a chance to stretch out a bit.

We had two other favorites, that closed the set.  First up, it’s a good ole Chicago-styled, Elmore James-inspired boogie blueser entitled, “Blues Tonight.”  The set proper closes with perhaps Joanna’s most powerful statement on any of her previous albums.  It’s a topical tune regarding the  state of the union, over the last thousand-or-so days.  Joanna’s slide and vocals are drinkin’ TNT and smokin’ dy-no-mite on the scathing look at the current administration’s apparent disdain for the Constitution.  Alphonso BuggZ Dinero returns on the fiery rap of “Dear America,” which began as a re-working of “When The Levee Breaks,” but turns into a socially-conscious look at society’s biggest problem today, tastefully done without calling his name.

Joanna Connor did most of the writing on “Rise,” and this is arguably the most powerful statement of her career.  It shows her rising to explore the music inside her, with no regrets for putting it all out there for us fans to enjoy,  Bravo, Joanna!!  You said things that have needed saying for quite some time!  Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

A Rock By The Sea Christmas, Vol. 10 review…November 22, 2019….

VARIOUS ARTISTS

A ROCK BY THE SEA CHRISTMAS,VOL. 10

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY–FILM  LITTLE DRUMMER BOY–DAVID RYAN HARRIS  CHRISTMAS EVE CAN KILL YOU–BOOK CLUB  KISS A GIRL–STEVE EVERETT  THE CHRISTMAS SONG–KEVIN KINNEY  IT’S CHRISTMAS ONCE MORE–MARY KARLZEN  THE DREIDEL SONG–FIVE STAR IRIS  HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS–JD EICHER  TENNESSEE CHRISTMAS–SCOTT MUNNS  IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME–JENN BOSTIC  SNOW (FEAT. RYAN WRIGHT)–TODD WRIGHT  LET IT SNOW–FRANCISCO VIDAL  DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?–BESIDES DANIEL.

Next up in our reviews of holiday releases, is a collection that comes to us courtesy of the fine folks at Rock By The Sea.  They are a Florida non-profit that organizes festivals  and events with the purpose of raising funds to assist charities who provide direct services to those in need.  This is their tenth annual album dedicated to this project, and is entitled “A Rock By The Sea Christmas, Volume 10.”  It features traditional holiday tunes as well as holiday-themed originals performed by some of the brightest stars on the Americana scene today.

Highlights abound.  Clarinet adds a jazzy touch to Francisco Vidal’s take on “Let It Snow,” which climaxes on a rockin’ note!  Jenn Bostic offers up a gospel-fired “It’s Christmas Time,” while Book Club give a somber read of the Everly Brothers’ chestnut, “Christmas Eve Can Kill You.”

We chose three as favorites. Film’ “Merry Christmas Everybody”begs the musical question of Santa, “do the fairies keep him sober for one day?”  Scott Munns’ warm vocals are perfect for that “tender Tennessee Christmas, the only place to be!”  And, David Ryan Harris, longtime vocalist for John Mayer, gives a mighty bluesed-up version of “Little Drummer Boy!”

A Rock By The Sea does a great service in charity fundraising for those in need.  Volume Ten of their Christmas album is a perfect addition to your holiday festivities, as well as a perfect example of this season of giving!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers review…November 21, 2019….

MICHELE D’AMOUR

AND THE LOVE DEALERS

CHRISTMAS IN BLUE

BLUES KITTY RECORDS

CHRISTMAS IN BLUE–ELF ON A SHELF–FUNKY SANTA–BRING MY BABY BACK–ALL I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS–NAUGHTY LIST–WEATHERMAN–SILENT NIGHT–THE NOISIEST TOY–LITTLE DRUMMER BOY

Michele D’Amour grew up in west Seattle, and was a child prodigy on piano by the age of six.  In 2017, she won a Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.  She and her band, The Love Dealers, have released six albums, and they begin our holiday season with “Christmas In Blue,” for Blues Kitty Records.  It consists of ten cuts, eight swingin’ originals and two covers done up in the band’s inimitable way.

Leading off is the horn-driven, jazzy title cut, where, if you’re tired of the more traditional fare, just “turn up your records and party all night,” for a cool “Christmas In Blue.”  “Funky Santa” pays tribute to James Brown, with the jolly old dude down on Beale Street, smokin’ a stogie!    Our poor lass seemingly missed out on all the gifts ,’cause all the band members got new instruments.  As for Michele, “All I Got For Christmas is the blues,” plus a band that plays them extremely well!

One of our favorites finds Michele and her lover in a playfully-sexy mode, anxious to “get real cheery” and get on “The Naughty List!”  “Weatherman” is a swingin’ ode to Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass, while our other favorite is a Sun-tanned splash of rockabilly boogie as our lass is asking Santa for “The Noisiest Toy you got!”  The set closes with one of the most unique versions of “Little Drummer Boy” you are likely to hear.  Yep–Michele and the fellows second-line it all the way down Rampart Street with a cool, “hurry up, Mardi Gras” groove!

Michele D’Amour And The Love Dealers bring some fine new music to the table for your holiday enjoyment, along with a new spin on a couple of old favorites.  For a cool change of pace, have a merry “Christmas In Blue!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Breezy Rodio review….November 20, 2019….

BREEZY RODIO

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT

DELMARK RECORDS  DE 860

IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT–FROM DOWNTOWN CHICAGO TO BILOXI BAY–A WOMAN DON’T CARE–I’M A SHUFFLIN FOOL–A MINUTE OF MY KISSING–LOOK ME IN THE EYE–DESPERATE LOVER–LOS CHRISTIANOS–LED TO A BETTER LIFE–GREEN AND UNSATISFIED–THE BREEZE–I’LL SURVIVE–PICK UP BLUES–DEAR BLUES–I NEED YOUR LOVE–ANOTHER DAY

It might sound cliche’-ish, but Breezy Rodio has sho’ nuff paid his dues in order to become a force on the fiercely-competitive Chicago scene.  Nine years spent as a guitarist in Linsey Alexander’s outfit gave him the impetus to go out on his own, and he has not only survived, but thrived.  Witness his latest set for Delmark, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.”  It is a whopping sixteen original songs, featuring Breezy on guitar and vocals, and this set also has special appearances from Monster Mike Welch, Corey Dennison, Kid Andersen, and Quique Gomez.

Opening the proceedings is the Godfather Of Soul-inspired title cut,  as our hero tells an indifferent lover that he’s here to play the blues, ’cause “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.”  Next up, Breezy finds that one special lover, and shouts it “From Downtown Chicago To The Biloxi Bay,” set over some fine slide playing.  Kid Andersen is on second guitar here, too.  Breezy gets in a Berry-licious mode on one of our favorites, as he extols the virtues of “A Minute Of My Kissing,” spiced up by piano from Ariyo Ariyoshi.  His introduction to his Lord and Savior is chronicled in the Sunday-morning fervor of “Led To A Better Life,” while another of our favorites is a spoken-word, slow-blues tribute to several of his heroes, “Dear Blues.”  Our other favorite was aimed at the guys–be you young, old, rich, or poor, beware–“A Woman Don’t Care who she gives the blues!”

Breezy Rodio just keeps getting better with each album.  He’s hit on a solid, winning formula, as his fans thrive on his versatility, so, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Matty T Wall review…November 18, 2019….

MATTY T WALL

TRANSPACIFIC BLUES VOL. 1

HIPSTERDUMPSTER RECORDS

BOOM BOOM–HI HEEL SNEAKERS–QUICKSAND–SHE’S INTO SOMETHING–STORMY MONDAY–BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN–I’M TORE DOWN–CROSSROADS

Matty T Wall is another shot of that “thunder from Down Under,”as the Australian bluesman’s career has been on the steady rise since his 2016 debut, “Blue Skies,” and its follow-up, “Sidewinder,” from 2018.  On his latest album from Hipsterdumpster Records, “Transpacific Blues, Vol. 1,” features Matty paired with some of the most dangerous guitar-slingers on the scene today!  On this set, we need to use our collective imaginations, and picture a huge freight train, with Matty and the guests “ridin’ the blinds” and getting on and off to play their selections.

Along with Matty on guitar and vocals, his core band features Ric White on drums, and Stephen Walker on bass.  The big train stops first “down under” again, with fellow Aussie sltdemaster Dave Hole as he and Matty show us how to “talk that baby talk” on a cool cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.”  Eric Gales gets on board next, and brings the scratch ‘n’ funk to a sweet take on “Hi Heel Sneakers.”  The train pulls into the Harris County, TX, station next, for Kid Ramos and Matty to jump the boogie on Albert Collins’ “Quicksand.”  Walter Trout steps up next, on the New Orleans-styled, rhumba rock of “:She’s Into Something–you should be in to something, too!”  Our final guest gets on board in Memphis, as Matty and Kirk Fletcher lay down that menacing, minor-key groove of “Born Under A Bad Sign.”

Matty goes it alone on three cuts.  First up is a monster, six-minute slow-ride on that big train out west again, for T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday.”  He pays a sweet tribute to Texan Freddie King on a slowed-down take of “I’m Tore Down,” and this mythical train ride comes to its conclusion down in Mississippi, at Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” where that infamous deal went down.

Matty T Wall, along with some of his best friends, make “Transpacific Blues, Vol. 1,” a real treat for lovers of traditional blues that is given a contemporary spin.  Matty, bring on Volume 2!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.