Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Jesse Terry review…November 12, 2017….

JESSE TERRY

STARGAZER

JACKSON BEACH MUSIC

STARGAZER–WOKEN IN THE WILDFLOWERS–DANGEROUS TIMES–ONLY A PAWN–KALEIDOSCOPE–STAY LOW–WON’T LET THE BOY DIE–DANCE IN OUR OLD SHOES–RUNAWAY TOWN–TROUBLE IN MY HEAD–DEAR AMSTERDAM

For Jesse Terry’s fourth album, entitled “Stargazer,” he sends out a message of hope for a world that is seemingly without hope.  The songs herein, all originals, share Jesse’s feelings that hope is always eternal, and life is in a constant state of flux, with a light always at the end of the tunnel.

These tracks were recorded at the East Side Manor Studios here in Music City, with Josh Kaler producing.  Also prominent within the context of this set is the use of strings throughout, which gives this material a definitive added dimension, courtesy of  arranger Danny Mitchell.

Jesse Terry grew up listening to much of the same popular music as did we, and you’ll hear many varied influences, from Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and ELO, The Byrds, Beatles, and Tom Petty, among many others.  Check out “Woken In The Wildflowers.”  It was written while Jesse was on holiday in New Zealand with his wife during the Women’s March back in the spring.  This song urges us all to return to a sense of urgency, and “wake up, wake up,” to the values of justice, love, and moral decency.  “Kaleidoscope” traces the toxic behavior of a lover thru the use of Beatle-esque guitars and harmonies, while “Runaway Town” is an ode to Nashville, Jesse painting it as a place where you “can find shelter when the weather gets crazy!”

We had two favorites, too.  The influences of The Traveling Wilburys are on display with an ode to happier times, when we’d “Dance In Our Old Shoes,” while twangy guitars set the tone for a song that ponders things “I never thought I’d live to see,” for “these are Dangerous Times,” for the whole world, indeed.

The common thread for all these cuts, tho, is that of hope for a better day.  The set has its own peaceful perspective, and Jesse Terry, with “Stargazer,” reminds us to hold onto the values we hold dear.  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Erin Harpe And The Delta Swingers review…November 11, 2017…..

ERIN HARPE AND THE DELTA SWINGERS

BIG ROAD

VIZZTONE RECORDS/JUICY JUJU VT-JJ-002

KOKOMO–LONELY LEAVIN TOWN–BIG ROAD–FRANKIE–SHAKE YOUR HIPS–CASEY JONES–VOODOO BLUES–STOP AND LISTEN–GUILTY–GIMME THAT (SOMETHIN SPECIAL)

For their second full-length album for Vizztone, Erin Harpe And The Delta Swingers built a three-week whirlwind tour around their IBC performances in Memphis, where they eventually made it to the semifinals.  They were fired up and on an obvious roll, so they hit the studio for “Big Road.”  It is ten red-hot cuts, four originals and six covers, from Delta legends such as both “Mississippi’s,” John Hurt and Fred McDowell, and contemporaries like Slim Harpo and Randy Newman.

Big Road sums up where this band has been since the release of their 2014 debut, “Love Whip Blues.”  They’ve toured basically non-stop since then, tightening up their sound and  winning new fans in every city.  Their unique sound is built around Erin’s outta-sight guitar work.  She can do it all, folks–bristle the funk, finger-pick it Piedmont style, or get her Muddy on with slide and electric, and we get a taste of it all over these eclectic selections.  Joining in on the fun are Jim Countryman on bass, Matt “Charles” Prozialeck on the harp, and Kendall Divoll on percussion.

The fun starts with Erin and the band hittin’ a Hill-Country vibe on the playful, “write me a few of your lines,” of “Kokomo.”  An original is up next,  and “Leavin’ Town Blues” has a good ‘ol vintage vibe, with fine call-and-response harp from Matt.  They pull out all the stops on the endless boogie of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips.” and get in a rockabilly groove as Erin’s original, “Voodoo Blues,” features accordion from Michael Casavant.

Our favorite went waaaay on back down to the Delta.  Erin’s vocal, Piedmont-style picking, and Matt’s harp, set up a lively groove for the country-blues tale of “Frankie,” which, as you listen, realize it is John Hurt’s tale of the ill-fated lovers, Frankie and Albert, and she sho’ nuff shot him dead ’cause he done her wrong!

Erin Harpe And The Delta Swingers have finally made the album they always wanted to.  It’s got a great, “live in the studio” vibe, and “Big Road” brings this band full-circle back to their roots!  Until next time..Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Casey Hensley review…November 10, 2017….

CASEY HENSLEY

LIVE

FEAT. LAURA CHAVEZ

VIZZTONE RECORDS  VT CH 01

BIG MAMA’S COMING HOME–PUT YOUR LOVIN’ WHERE IT BELONGS–YOU CAN HAVE MY HUSBAND–SPELL ON YOU–HARD HEADED WOMAN–DON’T WANT IT TO STOP–I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU–HOT! HOT! HOT!–VOODOO WOMAN–TOO TIRED–BALL AND CHAIN

Imagine, if you will, a young woman of the blues with the powerhouse vocals, brass, and sass of Big Mama Thornton, Candye Kane, and Janis Joplin, all rolled into one package!  If you can grasp that scenario, then you can sho’ nuff dig Casey Hensley.  She’s got it all, folks–chops, power, stage presence, you name it–and it’s all on full display on her latest set for Vizztone, “Casey Hensley Live, Featuring Laura Chavez.”  Herein, Casey rolls thru three originals and eight crowd-pleasing covers in front of a raucous crowd at the Thunderbird.  Laura’s guitar is the perfect complement for Casey’s vocals–they never get in each other’s way–and we also have Candye’s son, Even Caleb Yearsley, on drums, Marcos C. on bass, and the inimitable Jonny Viau on sax.

Fans, it doesn’t get much better than this for a live show.  You get a taste of everything–jump-blues, slow blues, and rockers, done up right by world-class players.  They kick off with one of Ms. Thornton’s best, as Casey tears up the vocal, announcing “Big Mama’s Coming Home.”  She bumps and grinds her way thru her original beat-down of a cheatin’ lover, telling him to “come on home and Put Your Lovin’ Where It Belongs!” Laura gets in some cool twangin’ guitar and Jonny’s sax adds the spooky vibe to Screamin’ Jay’s “I Put A Spell On You,” and they all totally funk up the joint on Koko’s “Voodoo Woman,” who “looks thru water and spies dry land!”

Those West Coast players know how to rock a jump-blues, too.  Check out another of Casey’s originals, with Laura’s mile-a-minute guitar burning up “Hot! Hot! Hot!,” and keeping that groove rolling on a song we first learned as kids from Presley’s “King Creole” soundtrack, all about that “Hard Headed Woman and a soft-hearted man!”  Casey closes the set as it began, with a torrid, smokin’ read of Big Mama’s (by way of Janis’) “Ball And Chain.”

Our favorite was too easy.  You can actually hear the women in the crowd singing along with Casey on the chorus of Dorothy LaBostrie’s classic, “You Can Have My Husband, but please don’t mess with my man!”

Casey Hensley’s talents are undeniable.  One thing we failed to mention, too, is that she is only 25 years old!  Enjoy a star in the making with this incendiary live set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Peter Parcek review….November 9, 2017….

PETER PARCEK

EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN

LIGHTNIN RECORDS  002

WORLD KEEP ON TURNING–SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN–PAT HARE–ASHES TO ASHES–EVERY DROP OF RAIN–SHIVER–THINGS FALL APART–EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN–MISSISSIPPI SUITCASE–AUNT CAROLINE DYER BLUES

Peter Parcek has long been one of our favorite bluesmen.  Now based out of New England, Peter got his start in the clubs of London in the Sixties, when blues-rock was just beginning to take root and spread “across the pond.”  It’s been seven years too long since his last album, the highly-acclaimed “Mathematics Of Love” from 2010.  He’s back with a new release, “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven,” on Lightnin’ Records.  Peter’s sound has always been rooted in not only contemporary blues, but the sounds of the Delta and masters of the history of the genre’ as well.  This collection touches on all his influences, with even a nod to the jug band sounds from the 1920’s and 1930’s.  He’s assembled a stellar group of backing musicians, including Luther Dickinson on guitar on four cuts, Muscle Shoals legend Spooner Oldham on keys, Willie Nelson’s go-to harp man, Mickey Raphael, and the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals, and several others.

Of the cuts herein–six originals and four covers, produced by Marco Giovino— most have a dark, brooding thread running thru them, adding to the Delta ambience.  Starting off is Peter’s take on a cut by another Peter—Green, from early Fleetwood Mac.  and the socially-conscious “World Keep On Turning,” done here with a decided Hendrix-ian feel. Peter’s read of “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” and the title cut, are rather reverential in nature, each full of one dazzling guitar break after another.  Peter’s original, “Things Fall Apart,” dealing0 with a relationship facing the inevitabilities of aging, is set over a surprisingly-sprightly, rockabilly groove.

There are three instrumental originals that show off Peter’s incredible skills, none more full of spunk than “Pat Hare.”  For the uninitiated, Pat Hare was the guitarist on many of James Cotton’s Sun sides from Memphis, and his distorted playing would influence a generation or more of six-string benders.  Adding to the 706 Union Ave. feel of this one is Raphael’s harp work, too.  Fiddles and a nod to the old-time jug band sounds in “Aunt Caroline Dyer Blues” served as our other favorite, as Peter sings the tale of a fortune teller and her penchant for mojos!

Peter Parcek has parlayed his love for the blues with all-world guitar skills and vocals that mix the blues of the masters with his own brand of tasty contemporary fare, with the stellar “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Johnny Nicholas review…November 5, 2017…..

JOHNNY NICHOLAS AND FRIENDS

TOO MANY BAD HABITS

PEOPLES LABEL

DISC 1:  MANDOLIN BOOGIE–LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING–TOO MANY BAD HABITS–SITTIN ON TOP OF THE WORLD–GOT THE TRAIN–ROCK MY BLUES AWAY–BLUES WALK–GRINNIN IN YOUR FACE–THE NEW CANNED HEAT BLUES–WEST WIND–BLUES CAME FALLIN DOWN–CARELESS LOVE–GETTIN OUTTA TOWN–HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL

DISC 2:  MOVE ON DOWN THE LINE–PUMP JOCKEY BLUES–BELIEVE I’LL MAKE A CHANGE–PRISONER BLUES–APPLE GROVE RHUMBA–LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING–THAT’S ALRIGHT MAMMA–HOOTIE BLUES–MONEY, MARBLES, AND CHALK–LONESOME TRAVELER–FROGGY BOTTOM–SOON FORGOTTEN

Waaaay back in 1977, at least here in Middle Tennessee, you had to search for whatever blues albums you could find in all the local record stores.  We came upon a copy of “Too Many Bad Habits,” on the fledgling Blind Pig label,  then based out of Ann Arbor, MI,  from Johnny Nicholas And Friends, that also had members of Asleep At The Wheel playing on it. We eagerly grabbed up a copy, and, forty years down the pike, we always found it hard to grasp how a fine collection of traditional and country blues played by some of the greatest within the genre’ had never been released on CD.  In 2016, Johnny Nicholas acquired all the rights and masters of everything recorded during the three sessions that led to the creation of this album,  and put it out under his own People’s Label imprint.

The original fourteen cuts are intact, fueled by Johnny’s wicked sense of humor as well as the dazzling array of musicians involved.    Then, there is a second disc of unreleased and unheard material that is straight traditional blues, featuring Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton and Boogie Woogie Red on piano backing Nicholas’ vocals.

The fellows from Asleep At The Wheel help kick things off with a lively “Mandolin Boogie,” with Johnny Nicholas doin’ the 8-stringin.  and playing piano, with Bill Mabry on fiddle, Ray Benson on guitar, and Link Davis, Jr. on sax.  They re-unite a bit later for a fine slow-blues read of the Mississippi Sheikhs “Sittin’ On Top Of The World.”

The blues players then handle the rest of the original fourteen cuts.  Johnny does an a cappella vocal of Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face,” and is on guitar and vocal along with Big Walter’s harp for excellent country-blues reads of “Careless Love” and “The New Canned Heat Blues.”  Johnny Shines is on guitar for this disc’s closer, the iconic “Hellhound On My Trail.”

By far, tho, our favorite cut was the title cut.  It’s Johnny’s tale of his penchant for booze, women, and gambling, plus the “only habit I ain’t got–the one called self-control!”   It’s humorous, bawdy, and one of our all-time favorites in any genre’.

Disc Two is equally as impressive.  It features Johnny Nicholas, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton pianist Boogie Woogie Red and drummer Martin Gross.  During this time period, Ann Arbor, MI, was a hotbed of blues, and these unreleased cuts show just how good it was.  Big Walter’s duet vocals and harp with Johnny Shines on guitar drives the walkin’ blues of  “Move On Down The Line,” and they all get in an Elmore James groove for the Johnny Nicholas original, “I Believe I’ll Make A Change.”  Boogie Woogie Red is on piano and vocal for “Hootie Blues,” and they close the show with Red on piano and Walter on harp over Johnny’s vocal on St. Louis Jimmy Oden’s “Soon Forgotten.”

Our favorite here was “Pump Jockey.”  It rivals “Bad Habits” for bawdiness and ribald humor with its sly story of a”lubricatin’ son of a gun” and the way he “tangles with your wires.”

This album has been ingrained into our musical DNA  since the first time we gave the vinyl a spin 40 years ago.  Now seeing release on CD for the first time ever, we say get yourself a cold one and a plate of that greasy barbecue and enjoy Johnny Nicholas And Friends and the Mother Lode of “Too Many Bad Habits!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Andrea Marr review…November 5, 2017….

ANDREA MARR

NATURAL

AM 2017

FORCE OF NATURE–ROCK STEADY–MAMA GOT IT WRONG SOMETIMES TOO–GRATEFUL–THAT’S WHERE LOVE ENDS–LET’S TAKE IT TO THE BEDROOM–CREDIT–WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO–SNAKES–REAL GOOD MAN–STICKS AND STONES

The first thing you are going to notice when you listen to Andrea Marr is that hugely-soulful voice.  She’s another “world-travelin” blues woman, having represented her home country (since the age of 14) of Australia twice in Memphis for the IBC’s.  She has a passion for the music of Motown, Stax, Etta, Aretha, Sharon Jones,  and JB, and she’s got the chops to pull it off.  Her full-length debut started as an EP back in 2013, featuring her tight-as-a-rib-tip 8-piece backing unit, The Funky Hitmen, and evolved into the nine originals and two covers that comprise “Natural.”

Folks, Andrea “don’t hold nothin’ back” and it’s refreshing to hear a singer just turn it a loose and have fun with this material.  She busts outta the gate with a strong tale of a “hurricane of emotion,” comparing her feelings for a lover to a “Force Of Nature.”  She reminds us all to be “Grateful” for “every day that I’m breathing,” a song with a powerful gospel feel.  She likes to get her love groove on, too, thru danceable cuts such as “Credit,” her ode to that “Real Good Man,”  who’ll “never let this woman down,”  as well as knowin’ when the time is right to say, “Let’s Take It To The Bedroom.”

We had three favorites, too.  Andrea turns in perhaps the most bluesy cut on the set with the horn-and-piano-driven sweetness of “That’s Where Love Ends.”  She shouts out to her mom and the life lessons passed down to her, altho, admittedly, “Mama Got It Wrong Sometimes Too.”  And, no album of this stature would be complete without a nod to The Godfather.  Andrea and The Hitmen get it tight, right, and outta sight on a blistering read of the ultra-funky, “What Do I Have To Do to prove my love to you?”

Fans, since the untimely passing of Sharon Jones, someone has to step up and carry the soul torch forward.  Why not Andrea Marr?  She’s sho’ nuff a “Natural!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

R. D. Olson review…November 4, 2017….

R D OLSON

KEEP WALKING WOMAN

BABY BOOMER BLUES–SHEILA–BLEED BABY BLEED–I MISS NEW ORLEANS–PETIE REED–KEEP WALKING WOMAN–JOHNNIE WALKER–UP THE LINE–CAN’T LOSE WHAT YOU NEVER HAD

Prescott, Arizona-based bluesman R. D. Olson is known as “Real Deal” to his extended blues family, and deservedly so.  He won competitions in his home state in both 2014 and 2015, each year using those victories as a springboard to the IBC Finals in Memphis.  A great harp man and vocalist, he’s been concentrating on writing his own material of late, and the result is his latest CD, “Keep Walking Woman.”  It features six from-the-soul originals, and R. D.’ll tell you right off, he’s lived every one of ’em!

Backing him on this project is Eric Williams on piano and sax, Jamie Waldron on bass, Darryl Porras on guitars, and Robert Sellani on drums.  All the arrangements are worked up so that everyone gets a chance to stretch out a bit on virtually every cut.  The fun starts with R. D.’s tale of the recession in 2007, finding him “goin’ down down down” to his current home in “the KOA,” entitled “Baby Boomer Blues.”  He name-checks many of his heroes along the way, including Muddy, Freddie King, and fellow Arizona bluesman, the late, great drummer, Chico Chism.  “Petie Reed” is is based on the life of a former model once engaged to R. D., and is set over a jazzy groove with brush-stroked drums.  “Johnnie Walker” is a deep, poignant, slow-blues cut featuring fine harp, sax, and guitar that deals with the loss of a friend who committed suicide.  The set closes with a strong shout-out to Muddy, with echo-effect vocals and slide guitar from Darryl on the classic “you can’t spend what you ain’t got, and You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had!”

We had two favorites, too.  “Sheila” is a barn-burnin’, houserockin’ slab of Fifties-flavored, harp-driven blues dealing with R. D.’s quest for a lover, who, “don’t seem to know my name.”  And, the laid-back, Big Easy groove of “I Miss New Orleans” will make you long for that sweet smell of “magnolias in June,” and that “old lazy Mississippi!”

R. D. Olson is sho’ nuff the “Real Deal.”  He’s a member of the Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame, and adds to his legacy with a strong set of contemporary blues that is “Keep Walking Woman.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.