Professor Louie And The Crowmatix review…August 11, 2019….

PROFESSOR LOUIE AND THE CROWMATIX

MILES OF BLUES

WOODSTOCK RECORDS  WR 61

L-50 BLUES–FUNKY STEAMPUNK BLUES–LOVE BOUND–PASSION IN MY LIFE–RAIN 40 DAYS–EXIT ZERO–PLEASE SEND SOMEONE TO LOVE–ORANGE JUICE BLUES–OH MY LADY–BULL FROG JAM BLUES (LIVE)

Professor Louie, whose real name is Aaron L. Hurwitz, got his nom de plume from Rick Danko when the Professor was working with The Band on their induction ceremony into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  He and The Crowmatix are based outta Woodstock, NY, and their latest release, the band’s fifteenth, is “Miles Of Blues,” eight band originals and two cool covers that show this band’s versatility and passion for blues and roots music in all forms.

Louie’s on vocals and keys, Miss Marie is the female vocalist and pianist, while John Platania is on guitar, with Gary Burke on drums, and Frank Campbell on bass.

The function at the junction starts with the Delta-meets-rock “L-50 Blues,” a shout-out to the vintage Gibson archtop acoustic that has been a mainstay in blues and rock.  Up next is the stone-cold grunge of the “Funky Steampunk Blues.”  A second-line pattern drives a tune with a rather somber subject matter, as Miss Marie is on lead vocal on a story dealing with the spate of hurricanes and floods across this country, the poignant, “Rain 40 Days, rain 40 nights.”  The set closes with a ten-minute good-time jam, featuring Miss Marie a’ whistling, a live “Bull Frog Jam Blues.”

We had two favorites, too.  The Professor sho’ nuff loves Miss Marie, and he tells the whole round world about his “passion in the light, passion in the dark,” on the stop-time “Passion In My Life.”  Miss Marie takes the lead vocal on a sanctified read of a song that is as viable and relevant as when Percy Mayfield wanted to “show the world how to get along” in the beautiful “Please Send Me Someone To Love.”

Professor Louie And The Crowmatix have been nominated for a Grammy, and the actual title of this album shows their love for all forms of music.  Enjoy “Miles Of Blues–From L-50 To Steampunk And Miles Of Blues In Between”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Annika Chambers review…August 10, 2019….

ANNIKA CHAMBERS

KISS MY SASS

VIZZTONE RECORDS VT-AC-01

LET THAT SASS OUT–THAT’S WHAT YOU MADE ME–YOU CAN’T WIN–WHAT’S YOUR THING–BRAND NEW DAY–WORLD OF HURT–STAY–TWO BIT TEXAS TOWN–IN THE BASEMENT–I FEEL THE SAME

Annika Chambers is sho’ nuff ridin’ the wave after her win at the Blues Awards back in May for Soul Blues Female Artist Of The Year.  She’s bent on keeping that streak going with the release of her third overall album, “Kiss My Sass,” for Vizztone.  The Lone Star native has a Texas-sized voice that leads the way, and the triad of producers–Larry Fulcher, Richard Cagle, and Tony Braunagel–bring out the best in this young singer, and the whole thing snaps, crackles, and pops with enough energy to light up Titans Stadium!

The set opens with a bang!  Our girl is a good girl at heart, but, when the work day is done, she can’t wait to “Let That Sass Out!”  Sparkling percussion from Brannon McLeod holds things steady as our heroine calls out a useless lover after “slippin’ out and sneakin’ in” for five years, and kicks him to the curb with “That’s What You Made Me.”  She preaches a positive message of “love, freedom, and peace,” in the socially-conscious duet with Ruthie Foster, “What’s Your Thing.”  The seemingly-endless daily accounts of murder in the streets of our society prompts Annika to hope for a “Brand New Day” where “do unto others” once again becomes the rule, featuring the Mighty Orq on guitar.  These were two of our favorites.  Our third favorite was a good, old-school shout-out to soul queen Sugar Pie De Santo with the funk of “where can you dance to any music you choose,” “down In The Basement!”

It has been a banner year for this Texas tornado, and Annika Chambers has no intention of slowing down.  Enjoy some down-home blues from a stone award-winner with “Kiss My Sass!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Pascal Bokar review…August 9, 2019….

PASCAL BOKAR

AMERICAN TRAILS

THE BLUES DON’T LIKE NOBODY–I WANNA  SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS–I CAN TELL–YOU SMILE INSIDE MY NIGHTS–LET IT GROOVE ALL NIGHT LONG–EVERY TIME I SEE YOU THERE

Pascal Bokar is an incredible blues/jazz guitarist who hails originally from the Mali/Senegal region of West Africa.  He has been awarded the ultra-prestigious Jim Hall Jazz Master Award For Guitar from the Berklee School Of Music, as well as the Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award.  For his latest EP, he has incorporated the sounds of his homeland with both traditional and Delta blues, with the unusual addition of fiddle and banjo all stirred together in the melting pot that is “American Trails.”  It is five originals and one cover, and one of the coolest features of the whole shootin’ match is the way Pascal tunes his guitar in sync with his singing voice.  With his penchant for scat-singing throughout these cuts, his style is reminiscent of late-Seventies George Benson.

He leads off with the set’s lone cover, Otis Spann’s “The Blues Don’t Like Nobody,” showing exactly how the banjo and fiddle adapt so easily within this material, courtesy of Avram Siegel and Jim Purat, respectively.  He taps into that Benson-ish, sweet-and-soulful groove with “I Wanna See You In My Dreams,” then does it Hill Country-style with the stone stomp of “Let It Groove All Night Long.”  The set closes with our favorite, a chooglin, all-out blues hoedown throwdown with the whole band blastin’ the straight-outta-Clarksdale boogie of “Every Time I See You There.”

A dazzling, fiery combination of traditional, Delta, and West African roots music, award-winning guitarist Pascal Bokar offers a captivating and unique foray into contemporary blues with “American Trails.”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

Polly O’Keary review…August 8, 2019….

POLLY O’KEARY

AND THE RHYTHM METHOD

AS LIVE AS IT GETS

RED LIGHT–A MAN WHO CAN STAND–I WISH YOU COULD SEE ME NOW–IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE–HARD ACT TO FOLLOW–BLACK CROW CALLIN–IT’S MY SOUL–STOP TRAIN–GATHER ‘ROUND ME ANGELS–I DON’T UNDERSTAND–OLD LOVE–SUGAR DADDY–WHO NEEDS THE BLUES

Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method have been on our radar ever since their 2017 set, “Black Crow Callin,” was a finalist in the IBC category of Best Self-Produced CD.  That success has propelled them to fulfill a long-time dream of releasing a live set, and, as such, have just put out “As Live As It Gets.”  There are thirteen cuts, a clever mix of their own works with some cool covers, done at three venues–The Village Taphouse And Grill, Peabo’s Sports Bar, and the Kamiah Hotel Bar And Grill.

Polly is an excellent bassist, and, as a vocalist, she is unparalleled, having won the Washington Blues Society’s Best Female Vocalist a whopping six times.  Her husband is the drummer, Tommy Cook, and guitarist David “The Revelation” Miller, rounds out the trio.

Polly calls out to any potential lovers that she’s “lookin’ for A Man Who Can Stand on his own,” and also “stand by me!”  She takes us all down to Blues Church with a stirring, sanctifyin’ take of Eric Bibb’s, “no matter what you’ve done, you’ll always find shelter in My Father’s House.”  David’s guitar work here utilizes some unique sound effects for good measure, also.  He continues in that fired-up vein for a blistering, ten-minute take on the Clapton/Cray classic, “Old Love,” with some sweet, extended jamming.  Plus, he is also on the lead vocal!

Polly closes the set with two of our favorites.  She’s the girl who’s not into material things–“if you wanna be my Sugar Daddy, be sweet to me!”  David’s guitar lines give this one a solid, jump-blues flavor.  In closing, the funk hits the fan as Polly gives new meaning to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” because “with friends like you, Who Needs The Blues?”

A monstrous, energetic vocalist backed by an equally-impressive backing core is one thing, but add in a crowd that’s into every song, and it shows why Polly O’Keary And The Rhythm Method’s “As Live As It Gets,” is such a sweet listen!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

David G. Smith review…August 7, 2019…..

DAVID G SMITH

WHO CARES

HEY DAVE MUSIC  007

WHERE IS THE MEDICINE–I WON’T REMEMBER YOU–JESSE JAMES–RIGHT AMOUNT OF WRONG–MI FAMILIA–MARY ALICE–SAY DIE–SHINE (FEAT. MARY GAUTHIER)–STRAW HOUSES–JUST TO FEEL THE WIND–WITHOUT WATER–WHO CARES

David G Smith is a brilliant singer/songwriter/guitarist now calls Music City home.  He writes songs from the heart, and that speak the truth.  He learned that lesson in his songwriting career thru his general disdain for “the music industry” as a whole, with its “hit machine” tendencies.  On his latest set for Hey Dave Music, “Who Cares,” the twelve originals herein were either written in whole or part by David and some of this town’s finest fellow writers.  These originals speak for those who have no voice.

The set was produced by Blue Miller, who is also on guitars and percussion.  Sadly, he has since passed away, and this album is dedicated to his memory.  There are numerous highlights.  The opening cut tackles dealing with depression, as David ponders “Where Is The Medicine for that kind of pain?”  “Mi Familia” is a true story based on missionary work at the U. S./Mexico border, and the current administration’s apparent disdain for humanitarian aid.  Flint, Michigan, and other cities suffering from the lack of clean water is the theme of “what leaks into the water seeps into our souls,” entitled, “Without Water.”  The title cut shouts-out to the plight of the hungry, homeless, and abused, with “Who Cares, as long as somebody does.”

Our favorite recalled the classic Curtis Mayfield tune, “People Get Ready, there’s a train a’ comin.”  It is entitled “Shine,” and is done as a duet with Mary Gauthier.  Herein, we are all encouraged to let our own lights shine, and be a beacon unto others, to spread a message of hope and peace.

Marcus Hummon pretty much summed up the career of David G Smith earlier today upon his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  He urged all writers to “find your own voice,” and write what you feel.  David G. Smith has done just that, with the most excellent “Who Cares.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Battle of the Blues review…August 5, 2019…..

VARIOUS ARTISTS

BATTLE OF THE BLUES

CHICAGO VS. OAKLAND

DELTA ROOTS RECORDS  DR 1002

BROKE ASS MAN–MZ SUMAC  FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY–ALDWIN LONDON  TAKE IT EASY and RED TIDE–FREDDIE ROULETTE  GOOD MORNING MR. BLUES–NAT BOLDEN  HIT AND RUN LOVER and ME AND MY GUITAR–JAMES NEWMAN  HURTIN’ ON YOU and MAMA DON’T WEEP–EMERY WILLIAMS, JR.  NOW THAT I’VE GONE and TIME SLIPPIN AWAY–MR. EXCITEMENT DEL BROWN  COLD IN THE STREETS–GERALD MCCLENDON  HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAMA–COUNTRY PETE MCGILL

When one thinks of cities associated with the blues, of course Chicago comes to mind, and we are only a few hours from Memphis.  However, Oakland, CA, out in the Bay Area, has long been a blues hotbed, now boasting the highest per capita of blues artists in the entire USA!!  Drummer and long-time bluesman Twist Turner spent time in both Chi-Town and Oakland, and realized there was a plethora of under-recorded yet well-deserving blues men and women who just needed a break in both camps.  He’s spent the last six years or so completing “Battle Of The Blues–Chicago VS. Oakland,” for Delta Roots Records, its sole purpose to give back to those deserving players needing an opportunity to show their stuff!

The talents herein are simply amazing, and how they all stayed so far under the blues radar is anyone’s guess.  Leading off, Sacramento-area blues woman MZ Sumac bemoans her “Broke Ass Man,” preferring one with “money,” and that absolute must-have, “Cadillac car!”  Aldwin London is a native of Oakland, and his ultra-smooth read of Willie’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” is made even sweeter thru Boom Brumbach’s sax.  Representing Chicago, Freddie Roulette offered up three unique cuts.  A lap steel master who jammed with Earl Hooker, he fires off two outstanding instrumentals, “Red Tide,” and “Take It Easy,” and backs the late Country Pete McGill in a fun, stop-time romp of “Hoochie Coochie Mama,”  Hey–she carries a pistol in her purse, and if you mess with her, you go home in a hearse!”

Another gent who identifies with the Chicago players, “Mr. Excitement” Del Brown was our favorite vocalist, as his style, tone, and delivery were reminiscent of another great singer and our good friend, the late former Metro Nashville Councilman and Excello artist, Roscoe Shelton.  Brown’s plaintive, upper-register vocals fit perfectly on his two ballads herein, “Now That I’ve Gone,” and his ode to coming to grips with aging, “Time Slippin’ Away.”

Twist Turner purposely left his name off the credits of “Battle Of The Blues–Chicago VS. Oakland,” preferring to allow the accolades to fall on those who deserved them most–the unsung heroes of two great blues Meccas!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

Moonshine Society review…August 4, 2019

MOONSHINE SOCIETY

SWEET THING

SWEET THING–SHAKE–MAMA, HE TREATS YOUR DAUGHTER MEAN–COME ON HOME–SOUTHERN ROAD–BISCUITS, BACON, AND THE BLUES–USE ME/ON GILDED SPLINTERS–I’D RATHER GO BLIND–DEAL THE DEVIL MADE–THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY (BONUS TRACK)

Moonshine Society is the offspring of three multi-talented Berklee music scholars.  Al three had a passion for blues and vintage R & B, and lead singer Black Betty is one part Bettie Page and one part Memphis Minnie.  Joe Poppen, on guitar, is a master of that vintage sound, and harpoon man Charlie Sayles rounded out the trio.

Their sophomore release is entitled “Sweet Thing,” and it is full of Betty’s big-voiced looks at love thru both lusty rockers and plaintive ballads.  The party opens with the title cut, as our girl doesn’t mind a good time, but this “Sweet Thing” sho’ nuff don’t take no mess, either!  Hellhound harp man Jason Ricci adds the spice to this bump-and-grinder.  Joe’s guitar gets into a Chi-town groove on “Shake, shimmy, and sway, like a willow tree,” featuring sax from Ron Holloway and Ken Wenzel.  “Come On Home” is a soulful, original ballad from Betty, and she follows it up a bit later with a scintillating read of Etta’s iconic “I’d Rather Go Blind,” showing why this song blurred the lines between blues and R & B.

We had two favorites, too. Ruth Brown’s “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” is presented here as a stone, New Orleans-styled second-line party jam, with Benjie Porecki all over the 88’s.  Our other favorite is one of Betty’s originals, as she tells us the only three things she desires the morning after a lustful night–“Biscuits, Bacon, And The Blues,” a succulent menu request, indeed!

It’s easy to see why Moonshine Society is always in the mix for the Washington Area Blues Society’s WAMMIE Awards!  A red-hot mama on vocals who writes the blues the way we like to hear ’em, with Hall Of Fame musicianship, “Sweet Thing” has all the goods!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.