Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Jonathon Long review…September 13, 2018….

JONATHON LONG

JONATHON LONG

WILD HEART RECORDS  WH 1001

BURY ME–SHINE YOUR LOVE–THAT’S WHEN I KNEW–THE LIGHT–LIVING THE BLUES–NATURAL GIRL–THE RIVER–POUR ANOTHER DRINK–THIS ROAD–WHERE LOVE WENT WRONG–PRAY FOR ME

Jonathon Long is a troubadour in every sense of the word.  Drawing from the deep wells that inspired Louisiana legends Lazy Lester, Silas Hogan, Buddy Guy, and a legion of others.  His latest set, for Samantha Fish’s Wild Heart Records, is self-titled, and is a blend of ten originals and one cut written by Kenny Tudrick, drummer for the Detroit Cobras.  These songs evoke characters from everyday life, and is full of their hopes, dreams, and, sadly, their despair.

Opening the program is a song that might well serve one day as Jonathon’s epitaph.  “Bury Me” has our hero requesting that he be remembered as not one who spreads hate, but, rather, “peace, love, Louisiana, and the heavens above.”  A poignant reference to a lover two years dead is for her to “Shine Your Love on down,” to be used as his “guiding light.”  He gets in a good shot at the “one percent,” where, “if you can’t afford to feed your family, you’re Living The Blues!”  This one, with that pointed message, was one of our favorites.  Samantha Fish is on guitar and duet vocal on “The River,” along with Michael Harvey on fiddle.

Our other favorite is a good, old-fashioned drinking song, the Van Morrison-esque “Pour Another Drink,” as our hero “can hardly keep my head from hitting the ground!”  The set closes with Jonathon asking us all to “Pray For Me, so that we may never feel pain again,” with his guitar blazing a scorching trail straight from Baton Rouge to the Promised Land!

Jonathon Long used to carry the nickname “Boogie” as a young’un, due to his penchant for playing shuffles.  Well, “Boogie” is long gone, but a staunch bluesman lives on, and this self-titled excursion is a testimony to the Louisiana legacy he carries on!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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Mick Kolassa review…September 12, 2018….

MICK KOLASSA

AND THE TAYLOR MADE BLUES BAND

149 DELTA

ENDLESS BLUES RECORDS  MMK 062018

I CAN’T SLOW DOWN–US 12 TO HIGHWAY 49–ALTERNATIVE MAN–COTTON ROAD–AMERICAN INTERVENTION–PULLIN ME DOWN–WHISKEY IN THE MORNIN–I DON’T NEED NO DOCTOR–MISS BOSS–35 MILES TO EMPTY–ALTERNATIVE MAN ALTERNATIVE–THE VIPER

Mick Kolassa has become one of our favorite players in contemporary blues.  On his last two albums, he recorded other folks’ material, and it is great to see him back in his element dropping some cool originals on his latest set,  “149 Delta.”  Mick is on vocals, and his Taylor Made Blues Band is still the “usual suspects” of Leo Goff on bass, David Dunavent on guitar, Lee Andrew Williams on drums, and Chris Stephenson on keys.  There is a literal “who’s who” of special guests on board, too.

Kicking things off is a lively look at Mick’s bluesman life, “I Can’t Slow Down–I’m afraid I’ll stop!”  Beale Street legend Eric Hughes is on the harp on Mick’s tale of his ongoing life-long journey from “the North, between the Big Lakes,” to where he is today, “US 12 To Highway 49!”  He strikes a poignant chord with a powerful tale of loved ones battling addictions with “American Intervention,” where “I can’t watch you killin’ you.”  Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson’s “I Don’t Need No Doctor” is set over a funky horn arrangement, and another of Mick’s originals features J. D. Taylor on harp, where Mick explains his love of “Whiskey In The Morning.”

We had two favorites, too.  Alligator guitar man Toronzo Cannon is all over the strings in the Delta “history lesson” all about that King Cotton and its consequences, “Cotton Road.”  And, a tune about havin’ a lover on the side is the tale of our hero who “only wants to be your Alternative Man, when yo’ man ain’t around!”  This one features Jeff Jensen on guitar.  This cut is reprised later in the set, as “Alternative Man Alternative” plays out over a much edgier, rocked-out arrangement.

Mick Kolassa is a lover of all shades of blues, and this set shows his knack with a lyric no matter what the situation.  Take a trip down to “149 Delta” with one sho’ nuff “Kolassa-l” bluesman!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Hummel review…September 10, 2018….

MARK HUMMEL

HARPBREAKER

ELECTRO-FI RECORDS  3456

HARPOVENTILATIN (LIVE)–THE CREEPER RETURNS–ROTTEN KID (LIVE)–BILLY’S BOOGALOO–WALKIN’ WITH MR. LEE–CRISTO REDENTOR–CRAZY LEGS–SENOR BLUES–READY, STEADY, ROLL–GLIDE ON–CHUCKALUCK–EVANS SHUFFLE–SEE SEE RIDER

Mark Hummel has been playing the harp since age fifteen.  His early idols were all the greats–both Walters, Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Lee Oskar and a host of others.  It has always been his desire to record an all-instrumental harp album, and that time has finally arrived.  “Harpbreaker,” for Electro-Fi Records, features thirteen hand-picked tunes, some new songs, and some unreleased cuts, both live and in-studio.  Joining him are his long-time bandmates, R.W, Grigsby on bass, and Wes Starr on drums, with special guest guitarists Anson Funderburgh, Little Charlie Baty, Rusty Zinn, Billy Flynn, and Kid Andersen.  It was recorded at Kid’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, and Joyride Studios in Chicago.  It is a harp-lover’s dream for lovers of the instrument.

Mark’s live blowouts are the stuff of legend, and several are available on CD.  This set carries on that tradition with the man himself ventilatin’ into forays of jazz, jump, swing, and even mournful, minor-key blues.

That swing’s the thing on the leadoff live “Harpoventilatin,” with Charles Wheal on guitar, as he also is on the staccato strut of “The Creeper Returns.”  Mel Brown is on guitar on a cool cover of Buddy Rich’s “Rotten Kid,” one of the set’s several looks at the jazzier side of the blues.  Add to that jazzy side “Ready, Steady, Roll,” with a horn section blowing in lockstep with Mark’s harp, and Rusty Zinn on guitar.  “Chuckaluck,” also with Rusty on guitar and Chris Burns on keys, rounds out the jazz cuts.

We had two favorites, too.  Rusty gives that cool “Muddy yell” toward the end of the country-blues of “Evans Shuffle,” accounting for the set’s only “vocal.”  Mark also offers up a fine tribute to Charlie Musselwhite by dedicating this version of “Cristo Redentor (Christ The Redeemer)” to not only Charlie but to Mark’s mom.  It was her who supported Mark in his developmental years to become the player he is today.

Without saying a word, Mark Hummel’s harp speaks volumes, for fans of contemporary, harp-fueled blues.  He swings and stomps, rips and romps thru excellent instrumentals as only a true “Harpbreaker” can!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

September Sunday Nights with Susan Angeletti…September 9, 2018….

SUSAN ANGELETTI

LIVE—99 1/2 WON’T DO

INDEPENDENCE DAY–FEELIN’ LONESOME AND LOW DOWN–HE’S INTO SOMETHING–BRING IT ON HOME–GO TO HELL–ALL GASSED UP–HOUND DOG

Many people use social media outlets for a good thing–it is a forum through which folks like us can access music from deserving artists we might not otherwise hear of.  One such artist that we recently connected with thru Facebook is the beautiful and talented Susan Angeletti.  Susan is one of those female artists that will take you back to the first time you heard Janis Joplin, or, for you young’uns out there, maybe Dana Fuchs or Beth Hart.  She has graciously offered to us her entire recorded catalog, and, beginning tonight and over the next three Sunday nights, when you get finished with Sunday Night Football, drop by here and enjoy September Sunday Nights with Susan Angeletti!

We begin with her excellent CD recorded in May. 2004, as she opened for B. B. King at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA.  It is entitled “Live—99 1/2 Won’t Do.”  Susan is on vocals and acoustic guitar, with Matt Caderette on electric guitar, Darby Wolf (all of seventeen years old here!) on keys, Peter Kim on bass, and Dave Lincoln on drums.  She leads off with a dazzling original, as she shows off her acoustic guitar skills as well as her considerable vocal chops on the lovelorn tale of “why you caused me so much pain,” “Independence Day.”  Young Mr. Wolf is all over the B-3 here, as is Matt on a brilliant solo.  She continues that theme of heartbreak with the “two steps forward, but I fall right back down” of “Feelin’ :Lonesome And Lowdown.”  You gotta love the roadhouse rocker that gives our heroine the last word on a no-good lover, the audience call-and-response boogie of “Go To Hell (Treat Me Right),  Our favorite of this portion of the program had to be the eight-minute, testifyin’ read of Cooke’s immortal “Bring It On Home to me,” done in a slowed tempo that really takes advantage of her voice range.

There are two other cuts on the set from other shows, and they are just as good.  Her original, “All Gassed Up,” is a booming rocker that details a mythical trip from Knoxville to Nashville to Memphis, and the cool thing about this one is that Susan is singing over the flute of one Ian Anderson.  That’s right–ol’ Tull himself is all over this one!  The set closes with a killer version of Big Mama’s “Hound Dog,” as Susan and guitarist John Sheldon and harpmeister Stewart James lettin’ it all loose!  This one features one of Susan’s students, then-thirteen-year-old Sonya Kitchfield being called onstage to add backing vocals.  At the climax, Susan shows her passion for Howlin’ Wolf in a shout-out to this legendary bluesman!

A Connecticut native who grew up in Southampton, MA, Susan gives an inspiring and fun-filled performance while opening for B. B.  The crowd was sho’ nuff into it, and “Live—99 1/2 Won’t Do” is an excellent opener for this Sunday night series!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

 

 

Scott Sharrard review…September 8, 2018….

SCOTT SHARRARD

SAVING GRACE

WE SAVE MUSIC  WSM 001

HIGH COST OF LOVING YOU–FAITH TO ARISE–SAVING GRACE–EVERYTHING A GOOD MAN NEEDS–ANGELINE–WORDS CAN’T SAY–SHE CAN’T WAIT–SWEET COMPROMISE–TELL THE TRUTH–KEEP ME IN YOUR HEART–SENTIMENTAL FOOL

Scott Sharrard, a brilliant guitarist, singer, and composer,  served as the Musical Director for the Gregg Allman Band for nearly ten years, and continues the legacy of successful bands formed by members of the Allman Brothers Band and its many incarnations.  His fifth solo album, tho, entitled “Saving Grace,” takes his band one giant step forward, as this set teams Scott with the Hi Rhythm Section, the ol’ Muscle Shoals Swampers, Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn, with Chad Gamble.  The last extra special added attraction finds Taj Mahal himself guesting on vocals on Gregg Allman’s last written original.

This set has Scott’s incredible guitars and soul-drenched vocals at the fore, and the rhythm and horns take his Southern Rock background to a new level, with elements of blues, gospel, and classic soul.  We’re off and running with the opening “High Cost Of Loving You,” which is  way more than our lovable “mixed-up fool” is prepared to pay, while “Faith To Arise” features Scott’s searing slide on a tale of a road-weary musician ready “to get back home.”  You can hear Scott’s Allman influence all over this one.  “Angeline” is a cool, Fifties-inspired song about a love affair long-broken thru infidelity, but our hero still longs for “the girl of my dreams.”

We had two favorites, too.  Speaking of infidelities, Scott visits the theme of tryin’ to love two in “She Can’t Wait,” where, in the end, our philandering Romeo ends up losing not only his solid lover, but his side pony, too, from the “greed and lust that blinded me.”  And, Scott’s slide is in perfect step with Taj Mahal’s vocal on what turned out to be Gregg Allman’s last written original.  “Everything A Good Man Needs” details that special ,lover who can “soothe me in the morning and rock me thru the night!”

The traditions began by the Allman Brothers Band and carried on by players such as Warren Haynes, Great Southern, Tedeschi-Trucks, and many, many others, are in good hands with Scott Sharrard.  “Saving Grace” brings together all his many influences in one sweet package!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Ray Bonneville review…September 7, 2018….

RAY BONNEVILLE

AT KING ELECTRIC

STONEFLY RECORDS

WAITING ON THE NIGHT–NEXT CARD TO FALL–TENDER HEART–SOUTH OF THE BLUES–IT’LL MAKE A HOLE IN YOU–CODEINE–UNTIL SUCH A DAY–PAPACHULALAY–THE DAY THEY LET ME OUT–FOREVER GONE–RIVERSIDE DRIVE

Austin-based Ray Bonneville’s life is the very definition of “traveling troubadour.”  Born in Quebec, his family moved to Boston when he was twelve, where young Ray learned English and guitar.  He pulled a stint in Vietnam, and later lived in several places that included, Alaska, New Orleans, and Paris, France.  He never had any children of his own, and considers those he has met and written about over the course of his career as his extended musical family.  His is a life full of unforgettable characters, many of whom inhabit the lyrics of his latest album, the eleven originals of “At King Electric.”  Ray is on vocals, guitar, and harp, and the songs deal with the ups and downs of everyday life, and how folks cope.  The songs are stripped-down to their bare essence, and convey a roots-blues-themed vibe.

Opening the program is “Waiting On The Night,” as our hero laments a broken love affair, complete with that “suitcase under the bed, full of things left unsaid.”  “The Next Card To Fall” is full of those down-on-their-luck characters who believe that “next card” will be their big break.  “Codeine,” and its dark-hued guitar lines, deals with battling addictions, while a life on the road full of one-night stands is spelled out in vivid detail on “It’ll Put A Hole In You,” and your soul, too.

Our favorite was another poignant song about a man down to his last hope.  Imprisoned with a pending release date on the horizon, we learn that “the old man” has already been “put in the ground,” so he appeals to his estranged brother, asking “will you come for me The Day They Let Me Out.”  Richie Lawrence’s stark piano adds to the darkness of this cut, also.

Ray Bonneville continues to draw from a deep wellspring of personal experience to create songs to which we can all relate.  Take a cool journey down Life’s Highway that’ll end up “At King Electric!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Keith Stone review…September 6, 2018….

KEITH STONE with RED GRAVY

BLUES WITH A TOUCH OF NEW ORLEANS

AIN’T THAT THE BLUES–LOVE DONE PUT ME DOWN–YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHING–RED GRAVY–CRAZY IN LOVE WITH YOU–DON’T COUNT ME OUT–BLUE EYED ANGEL–TIME TO MOVE ON–HARD TO HAVE THE BLUES–SOMETHING IN THE WATER

For Keith Stone, it’s always been about layin’ down some great grooves.  His second release finds him teamed up with three of New Orleans’ finest players, who collectively bill themselves as one of that city’s most delectable edibles, Red Gravy.  They bring it all to a nice simmer with “Blues With A Touch Of New Orleans.”  Keith is on vocals and guitar, and Red Gravy is cookin’ with gas featuring Tom Worrell on keys, Eddie Christmas on drums, and Kennan Shaw on the bass.  Brent Johnson guests on slide guitar, as does Jimmy Carpenter on sax.

The good times commence to rollin’ with the tale of a man so far under that bad sign that even God Himself tells him, “son, you’re outta luck,” and ev’body knows, “Ain’t That The Blues.”  A shot of Meter-riffic funk follows, with Tom all over that stuttering keys work in “Love Done Put Me Down.”  Keith gets into a torchy mood with the last-call anthems, “Crazy In Love With You,” and the slow-and-steady “Hard To Have The Blues,” both bubbling with deep-rooted soul.

We enjoyed him best, tho, thru his dancin’ grooves.  One such is “Time To Move On,” with an ultra-funky backbeat and some ice-cold, Collins-mixed guitars The other, which served as our favorite, is the title cut, built around that “special dish,” from the “city that loves to eat,” that good ole N’Awlins “Red Gravy,” riding an irresistible second-line pattern.

With “Blues With A Touch Of New Orleans” Keith Stone makes sure that the best blues comes blastin’ outta the Crescent City, and adding that Red Gravy gives it that extra-special touch!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.