Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ethel Mae Bourque review…November 14, 2019….

ETHEL MAE BOURQUE

CHANSONS DE LA CAMPAGNE

NOUVEAU ELECTRIC RECORDS

I SANG FOR A WHOLE WEEK–CHANSON POUR PAPA–SONG FOR PAPA–BEFORE WE HAD ELECTRICITY–THAT OLD BARN–LA PLUS VIELLE–LA BOUTIELLE A RUINE MA VIE–LA RECOLTE–YOU CAN HAVE YOUR GOLD–T LOUIS–ONE OF THESE DAYS–COGNER–RECORDS EN FRANCAIS–LE CAFE CHAUD–PAS EN ANGLAIS–L’OURAGAN DE QUATRE-VINGT-DOUZE–HURRICANE ANDREW–MA JOLIE BLONDE (AVEC LES BOUGRES FAROUCHES–SONG FOR THE COWS–LA CHASSES–COME SIT BY MY SIDE–VIENS T’ASSIR AUPRES DE MOI (AVEC LES BOUGRES FAROUCHES)–LES MARINGOUINS (AVEC LES BOUGRS FAROUCHES)–LA BOUTEILLE A RUINE MA VIE

The Lost Bayou Ramblers, founded by Louis Michot, have been the subject of several reviews within this humble forum, and rightfully so.  They are Grammy winners, and are committed to carry on traditional Louisiana and French Canadian music, written and performed in the spirit in which it was meant to be heard.  A lady named Ethel Mae Bourque grew up next to the Michot family when Louis was a youngster.  She was a strong, independent woman who hunted, fished, and harvested fruit to feed her family.  She also wrote her own original songs and reworked many of the French classics for her own entertainment, but these songs became an inspiration for young Louis.  In 2003, Ethel, then at age 70, recorded twenty-five field recordings that are now compiled in one collection, “Chansons De La Campagne,” loosely translated as “Songs Of The Countryside,” for Nouveau Electric Records.  The songs are done in both English and French.

She begins by telling us that she was sixteen before the family had electricity, One of the English renditions is of “You Can Have Your Gold,” for good friends are worth infinitely more.  “Hurricane Andrew” and the toll it exacted upon her family is a poignant piece, as is “Come And Sit  y My Side Little Darlin,”  Our favorite, tho, was borne of a sad time in Ethel’s life.  Her husband, Sidney, in the last stages of his life, suffered from lung cancer and pneumonia, and the family had no means for hospitalization.  Thus, Sidney’s only measure of comfort was Ethel’s voice.  She alludes that she “sang that song for a week,” which is entitled “Song For Papa.”  It is presented in both English and French.

Ethel Mae Bourque was an unbelievably strong and independent woman, and a true survivor.   Uprooted from her home by Hurricane  Gustav in 2008, she lived out her days near her son in an Arkansas nursing home, where she passed in 2011.  Through the recordings of “Chansons De La Campagne,” and the efforts of the Michot family, Ethel’s legacy lives on.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Lena And The Slide Brothers review…November 13, 2019….

LENA AND THE SLIDE BROTHERS

IV

RETRO U ART RECORDS

YOUR KIND OF WOMAN–SNAKE BOOGALOO–NOT YOUR FAULT–BLUE SIDE OF THE TOWN–ELDORADO–RIGHT TRAIN, WRONG TRACK–LATE NIGHT WATCHDOG BLUES–NEW KIND OF SOLDIER–I CAN’T BELIEVE IT–BOURBON RIVER BLUES JAMBOREE

Lena And The Slide Brothers hail from Finland, and have just released their fourth overall album, aptly-entitled, “IV.”  Led by the supple, range-defying vocals of Lena Lindroos, the band’s sound is also expanded by the twin guitar attack of Matti Kettunen and Yks Putkinen, who play alongside each other or off one another equally well.  The ten originals herein run the gamut from Delta-inspired blues, classic Chicago-sounding blues, as well as some cool roots-rock.

One of those rockers leads off, as Lena proclaims, “I’m Your Kind Of Woman, you just don’t know it yet!”  This one has a cool Joanne Shaw Taylor or Bonnie Raitt feel to it, and the slide guitar accentuates the whole thing.  A poignant song chronicling the life and times of a seven-year old boy forced to flee from invading soldiers in World War II follows him throughout his life up to the present, and is entitled “Not Your Fault.”  This one has a spooky, swampy vibe enhanced by the percussion and guitar.  “Eldorado” blasts off into John Lee Hooker’s “endless boogie” territory, while that classic Chicago sound is at the root of one of our favorites.  Yep–our girl is all over a lover, with “where have you been all night long,” the humorous “Late Night Watchdog Blues!”

The set closes with our other favorite.  A trip down to the Delta and the cast of characters of the “Bourbon River Blues Jamboree,” is highlighted by excellent guitar from both Matti and Yka, and Lena has a lot of playful fun with the vocal.

It is easy to see why Lena And The Slide Brothers are so well-received in their homeland and abroad.  A beautiful vocalist, excellent musicianship and lyrics that draw from the traditions of the blues and that are geared toward today’s crowds make “IV” a red-hot set of boogie and blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Eddie 9V review…November 12, 2019….

EDDIE 9V

LEFT MY SOUL IN MEMPHIS

YONDERS WALL–LEFT MY SOUL IN MEMPHIS–BOTTLE AND THE BLUES–NEW ORLEANS–BENDING WITH THE KINGS–WOKE UP SWEATIN–36 AND MAIN–GHOSTS–LO FI LOVE–DON’T TEST ME–1945 (COCAINE AND RUM)

In January of 2014, this humble forum ran a review on a young trio from Georgia who’d just completed a run at the IBC’s who called themselves the Georgia Flood.  Brooks Mason was the guitarist back then, all of 17 years old.  He’s 23 now, and still a firebrand on guitar, going by Eddie 9V on his latest album, “Left My Soul In Memphis.”  Working with Layne Quest and James Dean, these cuts were literally laid down in a one-room country shack studio, as the fellows were shooting for as retro a sound as they could achieve, while getting as much soul and grit into the recordings as possible.  The absolute topper on the whole thing?  Eddie plays ALL the instruments on this album, except for the keyboards, which were from Rhett Huffman.

Eddie 9V and his Freddie King influences are all over this record.  Dig the leadoff cut, a :song for Freddie King,” a sweet read of “Look Over Yonder’s Wall!”  Next up, the sounds of STAX and HI are in the mix in the title cut, as Eddie leaves Memphis for his old stompin’ grounds in Georgia, in search of true love.  “Bending With The Kings” is a monster instrumental that pays tribute to The Three Kings, while “Woke Up Sweatin’ one of the singles designated for airplay, finds our hero anxiously awaiting the return of a lover.  It is driven by a rolling, infectious riff, and is as soulful as it gets.

We had three favorites.  “Don’t Test Me, baby,” is a stone shot of rapid-fire funk, and Eddie gets down’n’dirty on the burnin’ slow-blues of the only things a man needs with no lover to be found, a “Bottle And The Blues.”  If you go on down to “36 And Main,” you can sho’nuff find you a “midnight woman”–one who “don’t talk or complain!”

Eddie 9V is a brilliant talent with a future that knows no boundaries. He’s headin’ back to Memphis in January 2020 for the IBC’s, this time ridin’ the coattals of the red-hot “Left My Soul In Memphis.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Ghost Town Blues Band review….November 11, 2019….

GHOST TOWN BLUES BAND

SHINE

RUNNING OUT OF TIME–SODA POP–SHINE–LYIN’ TO YOURSELF–GIVIN’ IT ALL AWAY–DIRTY–HIGH AGAIN–MY FATHER’S SON–EVANGELIE–CARRY ME HOME–HEADING NOWHERE FAST–HEY THERE LUCINDA

The Ghost Town Blues Band is celebrating their tenth anniversary, and blues fans everywhere are the real winners. Led by native Memphian Matt Isbell on vocals and all things guitar, this band has finished second in the IBC’s, and played at B. B. King’s celebration of life upon his passing.  They have played on stages all over the world, and those live shows are the stuff of legend.  With their fifth release,”:Shine,” the fellows return to the studio, and  they bring a fine measure of that stage energy along with them.

Leading off is an anthem of empowerment, and not “keeping your dreams in jail,” “Running Out Of Time.”  It has a slide-heavy, good ole “Mule”-ish groove.  One of our favorites is “Soda Pop,” a slightly-naughty Hill Country stomp, where our hero asks all the girls to “shake up my soda, baby/shake it up ’til it pops!!”  Matt’s on the harp, too.  The horn section gives “Shine” a sweet STAX groove, while another favorite, “Dirty,” has some grungy guitar, as our hero recounts his life as a traveling bluesman, featuring a kick-ass rap break mid-song.  The good times roll on with “Evangelie,” with “the face of an angel and a heart of gold,” an excellent, uplifting song!  Beset by some bad breaks and setbacks, our man is “Heading Nowhere Fast, but I’m making good time!”  The set loses with our final favorite.  It’s the poignant story of a father who’s little girl is “growing up fast.”  They are separated by miles, and telephone calls are their only communications, thus, “Hey There Lucinda” accentuates the frailties of life.

The Ghost Town Blues Band, with “Shine,” have pulled off a tough feat.  They’ve gone in-studio and crafted a set that has the feel of a live show.  It continues their legacy of being equally-adept at bringing the best of traditional and contemporary blues to today’s discerning audiences!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Screamin’ John and TD Lind review…November 9, 2019….

SCREAMIN’ JOHN AND TD LIND

MR. LITTLE BIG MAN

DOWN IN THE ALLEY RECORDS

ROLLIN JOANNA–THE LETTER–SHAME SHAME SHAME–JELLY ROLL–LITTLE BIG MAN–ALL YOUR LOVE–WAY PAST MIDNIGHT–COLD STONE AND EMTINESS==GONNA DRAG YA–GOODNIGHT IRENE–REAPER’S KNOCKIN

What began as a reuniting of the members of the 90’s rock band, Edenstreet, has become a full-on blues reincarnation.  Their 2017 debut, “Gimme More Time,” played to rave reviews, and now, with “Mr. Little Big Man,” the blues have taken hold for good.  Featuring Screamin’ John Hawkins on guitars, TD Lind (Tim Arlon) on vocals, guitar, and piano, Jeff Crane on bass, Paul Culligan on drums, and Joel Pinkerton on harp, this set has five originals and six well-played, obscure covers that show the band’s ease in moving from New Orleans grooves, up thru the Delta and on uptown to Chi-Town for a more contemporary sound.  Adding to the mix is producer and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame member Glyn Johns,

TD’s piano and Joel’s harp start things off with a trip down to Basin Street, with the NOLA groove of “Rollin Joanna.”  “The Letter,” originally done by B. B. King, is presented herein as a brilliantly-played slow-blues, followed by a unique, slowed-down tempo of the Jimmy Reed chestnut, “Shame Shame Shame.”  The title cut finds our hero “raised on the blues, and boogie woogie, too,” earning his name, “Mr. Little Big Man.”  Joel’s harp adds a unique dimension to the West Side, minor-key take on Magic Sam’s “All Your Love,” while the band original, “Cold Stone And Emptiness,” is all that’s left when your lover packs up and leaves.

Two definitive shout-outs to deep Delta blues close the set, and also served as our favorites.  First, TD’s vocals and John’s acoustic guitar lines work well on Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene,” and the set itself closes with a trip down to the Crossroads, the harp-and-slide-driven, “Reaper’s Knockin!”

Altho these gents were rockers back in the day, if you have a bluesman’s soul in you, well, it’s got to come out!  Enjoy Screamin’ John and TD Lind and the killer grooves of “Mr. Little Big Man!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Various Artists….Sean Costello Tribute review…November 8, 2019…

VARIOUS ARTISTS

DON’T PASS ME BY:

A TRIBUTE TO THE ORIGINAL SONGS OF SEAN COSTELLO

LANDSLIDE RECORDS

SAME OLD GAME–ALBERT CASTIGLIA   HOW IN THE DEVIL–STEVE MARRINER   WHO’S BEEN CHEATIN WHO–WATERMELON SLIM AND DENNIS GRUENLING   I GOT TO RIDE–CANDYE KANE AND LAURA CHAVEZ   DON’T PASS ME BY–VICTOR WAINWRIGHT   LOW LIFE BLUES–BOB MARGOLIN AND DENNIS GRUENLING   ALL I CAN DO–SETH WALKER   NO HALF STEPPIN–SONIA LEIGH   HARD LUCK WOMAN–NICK MOSS BAND WITH MICHAEL LEDBETTER   FATHER–NORTH  MISSISSIPPI ALL STARS   SHE CHANGED MY MIND–THE ELECTROMATICS   DON’T BE RECKLESS WITH MY HEART–DEBBIE DAVIES WITH MIKEY JUNIOR   YOU’RE A PART OF ME–THE MORNING LIFE   CAN’T LET GO–MATT WAUCHOPE, MELVIN ZACHARY, AND TERRANCE PRATHER  FEEL LIKE I AIN’T GOT A HOME–OLIVER WOOD AND AMY HELM

With the untimely passing of guitarist/vocalist/composer Sean Costello on April 15, 2008, one day shy of his 29th birthday, the blues community lost one of its true super talents.  From his first album, “Call The Cops,” recorded when he was sixteen, Sean was something special. His soulful playing and singing captivated audiences everywhere, and, after meeting Levon Helm thru his daughter, Amy Helm, Levon encouraged Sean to step outside the “blues box,” further adding to his legacy.

His music has touched a generation of players, and fifteen of those who either played with him or were inspired by his music have pooled their vast talents to put together “Don’t Pass Me By: A Tribute To The Original Songs Of Sean Costello,” for Landslide Records.   Every song is a highlight unto itself, as the artists herein chose their favorites of Sean’s catalog, which allowed them to put their own personal stamp on these timeless tunes.

Several of the tunes are done in the straight-blues form in which Sean composed them.  Check out the swampy, echo-washed cut from Albert Castiglia, with his “brand new angle on the Same Old Game.”  Steve Marriner asks the musical question, “How In The Devil do you sleep at night,” with “your mind on someone else?”  Watermelon Slim and harpblaster Dennis Gruenling give a rapid-fire read of “Who’s Been Cheatin’ Who,” while Candye Kane on vocals and Laura Chavez on guitar offer up a more traditional-sounding take on “I’ve Got To Ride.”  Sonia Leigh switches gears a bit, turning “No Half Steppin” into a soul-blues tour-de-force, as does Seth Walker, with an almost-torchy take on “All I Can Do,” which finds our hero struggling to “make it on my own.”

For us, the most powerful statement on the album was made by piano man Victor Wainwright with his interpretation of “Don’t Pass Me By.”  The thing that sets this one apart is Victor’s vocal, which eerily takes on the ambience and shades of Sean’s, providing the ultimate compliment from one artist to another.

Kudos to Jon Justice and Dave Gross for the arduous task of producing and putting this beautiful effort together.  Blues Blast Magazine named its Rising Star Award in honor of Sean, and the fifteen folks who banded together for “Don’t Pass Me By,” pay a loving tribute to this artist gone much too soon.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Charlie Hager review…November 6, 2019…..

CHARLIE HAGER

TRUTH AND LOVE

FLOUR SACK CAPE RECORDS

TRUTH AND LOVE–STOLE MY HEART–NEVER GOOD–BIG STAR–THIS AIN’T LOVE–ALL YOURS–SHE WANTS TO BELIEVE–NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU–TRYING TO LAY THE BLAME–STAND A CHANCE AT ALL

Charlie Hager is a brilliant singer/songwriter now living out of Vegas after beginning his career here in Music City.  He learned much of his musical prowess from his dad, a bluegrass player, James Bernard, from the 1940’s up until his untimely passing in 1981.  Charlie studied two years at UT-Knoxville, and pulled a stint with the Marines, before returning to Nashville.  In 2011, post-divorce, he began to concentrate solely on his music.  During this time, he released his debut, “American Saga,” to rave reviews, while simultaneously beginning work on its follow-up.  He made that move to Vegas in July, 2018, to work with a production company and to also get a musical foothold on the West Coast.

His latest album, “Truth And Love,” is here, and consists of ten originals and co-writes, with some of these cuts created right after his debut.  The theme of the album came about as Charlie observed the number of lies being told during the 2016 election process.  The set begins with that title cut, where our hero always believes it is best to tell the truth and accept the consequences, because “Truth And Love holds the key.”  That theory is put to the acid test a few cuts later, as our lovers are definitely on the outs, and, “bein’ without trust, This Ain’t Love between us!”  A sweet horn section adds to the ambience of both these cuts, and they are present again on Charlie’s look at human nature and how, at the end of the day, “there’s only one face in the mirror” one has to answer to, in “Trying To Lay  The Blame”

It’s a natch’l fact that this ain’t Charlie Hager’s first rodeo.  He’s written songs built around life experiences, and the stories that go along with them. They’re honest, full of passion and grit, with absolutely no sugar-coating.  Enjoy “Truth And Love” from a rising young Americana star!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.