Anthony Rosano review….March 15, 2017…

ANTHONY ROSANO

AND THE CONQUEROOS

28 DAYS–GIVE ME STRENGTH–YOU DON’T KNOW ME–LONG ISLAND SOUND–WICKED GRIN–REVOLVE–LOVE GOT A HOLD ON ME–SHAKEN IN THE VEINS–BOUND TO YOU–BLACKBIRD–PROUD OF MY SINS

If you’ve ever been down where the black trees grow, then you know that Louisiana has its own unique musical styles and traditions.  Anthony Rosano And The Conqueroos are now a part of that mystique thru the excellent music found on their self-titled third album, set for release on April 11, 2017.  This eleven-cut juggernaut is all-original material, recorded at the legendary NOLA Studios, produced by Mike Zito, and engineered by Grammy-winner David Farrell.

This excellent blues-rock band consists of Anthony Rosano on vocals, guitar, and mandolin,  JB Bustillos on harp, sax, and vocals, Paul Warren on bass, and  Scott Smith on drums, and featuring a spate of fine special guests.  They come out of the gate swingin’ with the opening salvos of the slide-heavy “28 Days,” with guitar from Mike Zito.  Anders Osborne joins in on the fun with his slide driving the tale of misspent youths, their needles and spoons , and “Shakin’ In The Veins.”

Anthony and the fellows take a quiet, reverent look at his youth, growing up on “Long Island Sound,”this one with strong sax from JB, and guest Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone on accordion.  They close the set with our favorite, featuring, Anthony on mandolin and Michael Harvey on fiddle on a fine swig of country-blues, the story of a man who does the best he can by his family and “I ain’t no saint, but I’m damn sure Proud Of My Sins.”

Everybody knows about all the jujus and hoodoos, gris-gris and voodoos that permeate the music of NOLA.  Enjoy a long pull of a mighty fine brew, courtesy of Anthony Rosano And The Conqueroos!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough review…March 13, 2017…

.  BRIGITTE DEMEYER AND WILL KIMBROUGH

MOCKINGBIRD SOUL

EVERYTHING–BROKEN FENCES–THE JUKE–RUNNING ROUND–MOCKINGBIRD SOUL–RAINY DAY–LITTLE EASY–I CAN HEAR YOUR VOICE–HONEY BEE–CARPET BAGGER’S LULLABY–UNTIL THEN–OCTOBER SONG

Any time two good friends, who just happen to both be extremely talented, get together for some musical fun, great things are sure to happen.  Such is the case with long-time Nashville pals Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough, and their first co-billed album, “Mockingbird Soul.”

Will has been a Nashville staple for years, while Brigitte was a California girl until moving here in 2010.  They met onstage in 2009 on a Music City Roots show, and collaborated on two other albums before putting both their names on this one.

Their chemistry, harmonies, and songwriting skills are as good as it gets over the course of these twelve cuts, and their passions for all things Southern—music, language, literature and various other aspects of life in these parts–is on full display.  Will is on guitar throughout, and Brigitte is on ukulele on one cut.

True love leads off, as both proclaim “all you are to me is Everything.”  “Broken Fences, shall I mend,” teaches the power and importance of forgiveness, while dealing with the impending loss of an aging parent brings back memories and means “I Can Hear Your Voice in everything I’ve known.”

Another cool thing Brigitte and Will bring to the table on this set is that feeling of sittin’ on your front porch with them and just letting the groove flow.  That’s the vibe that drives Brigitte’s honey-drippin’ vocal over Will’s harp on “The Juke,” as well as the ode to  an endless summer, “Running Round,” and their poignant “love letter” of sorts to Will’s sister and mother thru their love for the city of Mobile, lovingly referred to herein as “Little Easy.”

We had two favorites, too.  Brigitte uses her sultry, sexy vocal skills to coo a request to a potential lover to “let me be your little Honey Bee,” and “you can pour yourself a cup of me!”  And, Will defiantly pulls the strings of his vintage Gibson J-45 as he spits in the face of Time in the set-closing “October Song.”

With predominantly spare, sparse arrangements, the music on “Mockingbird Soul” is meant for its performers, Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough, to allow their natural talents to shine.  This set is full of their unique chemistry that will ultimately move you while you have a little fun along the way!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Corky Siegel review…March 11, 2017….

CORKY SIEGEL’S CHAMBER BLUES

DIFFERENT VOICES

DAWNSERLY RECORDS  4301

MISSING PERSONS BLUES OP. 26–ONE–TIME WILL TELL OVERTURE OP. 25–LAY DOWN SALLY–ANGEL FOOD CAKE–SHADOWS IN THE SHOE BOX–I’LL FLY AWAY–ITALIAN SHUFFLE/FLIP FLOP AND FLY–GALLOPING HORSES–COUNTER INTUITIVE OP. 24 PART 1–COUNTER INTUITIVE OP. 24 PART 2–THE SKY WILL FALL

Long-time blues fans may remember The Siegel-Schwall Band, led by harp ace Corky Siegel and guitarist Jim Schwall.  They were originally based in Chicago in the mid-Sixties, holding down a regular gig at the legendary Pepper’s Lounge.  After releasing their first album in 1966 for Vanguard, they headed west to San Francisco, continuing to record until the early Seventies before going on an extended hiatus.

During that time, Corky Siegel had a unique vision–one that would incorporate the blues of Muddy and the Wolf with classical chamber music.   Corky recorded three albums of this “chamber blues,” two for Alligator and one for Gadfly Records.  His latest set “Different Voices,” continues his path toward melding traditional blues with classical themes.  He employs some dazzling special guests throughout this one, too.

One can get a firm grasp on what the concept of “chamber blues” is by listening to the opening instrumental track, “Missing Persons Blues Op. 26.”  Corky’s harp spars with the sax of two-time Grammy winner Ernie Watts as the strings pull it all together.  Corky takes the lead vocal as pizzicato strings set the tone on a Siegel-Schwall fan favorite, “Angel Food Cake,” while Marcy Levy easily hits the upper-register notes on a fine read of her iconic “Lay Down Sally,” which was co-written by Marcy, Clapton and George Terry.

We had two favorites, too.  One of Chicago’s favorite folk trios is The Sons Of The Never Wrong, and they breathe new life into Albert Brumley, Sr.’s traditional “I’ll Fly Away.”  Consisting of Bruce Roper, Deb Lader, and Sue Demel, Sue adds a new verse to this Sunday-morning staple.  And, what begins as “The Italian Shuffle” with Corky’s harp over the strings, gives way to the mighty Sam Lay’s vocal on a clever segue’ into “Flip Flop And Fly.”

Corky Siegel has composed and performed works for the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.  And, thru the fusion of the music of the legends of Chicago blues he grew up listening to with the textures and sounds of classical music, he is, indeed “the father of chamber blues.”  Give a listen to his latest, “Different Voices,” for a truly unique musical journey!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

The Gage Brothers review…March 10, 2017…

THE GAGE BROTHERS

SELF-TITLED

ALL YOU ARE–WHERE CAN I GO–TEACHING MYSELF THE BLUES–MY BABY–GONE–ME AND MYSELF–CAGED–KNOW ME–I’M SO LONESOME–I’LL BE THE ONE–COME HOME–THIRD SEASON–AUCTION BLOCK

Akron-based brothers Zach and Ben Cage took their love of traditional folk sounds and intricate harmonies and released their highly-acclaimed debut in 2015, “Take It Back.”  Fast-forward some two years and the fellows are back, and the harmonies are still intact for their latest effort, the self-titled “Gage Brothers.”  On this set, the brothers reflect upon changes not only in their lives, but society and the ever-evolving musical landscape as well.  And, on this record, they employ two close friends, their “honorary siblings,” Brendan O’ Malley on mandolin, and Chris Volpe on banjo, adding to the overall authenticity of this collection of twelve originals and one traditional cover.

The fun starts with some of those fine harmonies on the request of a lover to “feed my desires with All You Are,” while “Where Can I Go” features some sweet gospel overtones as our hero comes to grips with his demons, and climaxes with the voices blending into some sublime Sunday-morning splendor.

There are some great examples of  what many fans of traditional bluegrass will enjoy.  The instrumental interplay mixed with the harmony of “Caged” is pure joy, as is the set-closer, “no more Auction Block for me,” which also features some well-played country-blues harp within the mix.

The set had some light-hearted moments, and one downright bluesy cut, all of which served as our favorites.  In the tradition of the Dillards, the band hits an old-time stride with the lively “My Baby, she don’t love me any more,” and do it again a bit later with the good-time fun of a man who “practices drinking every day just to make sure I do it right,” the humorous “Me And Myself.”  And, the set’s bluesiest cut has everything you need—drinkin’, cheatin’, and gamblin’ “down at the Cincinnati track with a life’s savings I’ll never get back,” as our hero does a sho’ nuff good job of “Teaching Myself The Blues!”

With their expanded lineup, the Gage Brothers take their traditional roots and Americana sounds to a new level, and capture precisely what the band was looking for—a set that everyone will enjoy!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Guy Davis and Fabrizio Poggi review….March 9, 2017…

GUY DAVIS AND FABRIZIO POGGI

SONNY AND BROWNIE’S LAST TRAIN

A LOOK BACK AT BROWNIE MCGHEE AND SONNY TERRY

SONNY AND BROWNIE’S LAST TRAIN–LOUISE LOUISE–HOORAY HOORAY THESE WOMEN IS KILLING ME–SHORTNIN BREAD–BABY PLEASE DON’T GO BACK TO NEW ORLEANS–TAKE THIS HAMMER–GOIN’ DOWN SLOW–FREIGHT TRAIN–EVIL HEARTED ME–STEP IT UP AND GO–WALK ON–MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Even the most casual of blues fans would likely recognize the unmistakable works of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, along with the fact that they were one of the most important blues duos of the 20th century.  Sonny Terry was a harmonica genius who grew up in the Raleigh-Durham, NC, area, while Walter Brown McGhee, from Knoxville, TN, began to get recognition following the death of Blind Boy Fuller.  He had a deep, resonant vocal tone, and his finger-picking skills were uniquely his own.  Sonny and Brownie made some beautiful sounds together, often traveling with Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie.  Their recorded works will never be surpassed, but, in their honor, two of the most well-respected players on the contemporary scene, Guy Davis and Fabrizio Poggi, offer up a “love letter” of sorts, which is “Sonny And Brownie’s Last Train: A Look Back At Brownie McGhee And Sonny Terry.,” to be released on M. C. Records on March 24, 2017.

One could not have found a better pair of musicians to present the sounds, feelings, and traditions of this great duo, and they offer up a collection of twelve songs–one original from Guy, and the rest a mix of Sonny and Brownie originals and covers that they were known to perform over their illustrious career.  These cuts were recorded in June, 2016, in Milan, Italy, and were produced by Fabrizio.

This set is raw, primitive, and powerful–just the way Sonny and Brownie did it back in the day.  And, Guy and Fab do their utmost to present it in that fashion.  The fun starts with Guy’s original, a mythical interpretation of “Sonny And Brownie’s Last Train,” with Fab’s country-styled harp licks picking up speed as the song climaxes.  It is also interspersed with whoops and hollers in the tradition of Sonny and Brownie.  “Shortnin’ Bread” is presented here in a somewhat darker arrangement, while Leadbelly’s “Take This Hammer” comes out as a brilliant civil rights anthem.

We had two favorites, too.  Guy’s picking is in top form on the spirited, light-hearted take on Elizabeth Cotten’s “Freight Train.”  They close the set  with a fine read of that traditional tale of bein’ “penitentiary bound,” the iconic “Midnight Special.”

Both Guy Davis and Fabrizio Poggi are accomplished harp players, and Guy especially credits Sonny Terry for his own harp techniques.  Both pay their deep respects to the legendary duo of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee with the reverential “Sonny And Brownie’s Last Train,” and this is one not to be missed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Elam McKnight Band review…March 8, 201…

ELAM MCKNIGHT BAND

RADIO

BBH MEDIA

I FEEL LIKE ROCKING–BROKEN EYE–RADIO–MOMMA TAKE ME–WELL I’M BAD–GONNA FIND ME A HOLE–HARD TIMES THEY IS–HOLD ME (JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER)–SO WEEP THE SKY–LOVE ME–NIGHT WANDERER–OH MY BABY–LET ME BE YOUR SIDEMAN–RICH MAN GET RICHER (POOR MAN GET THE JAIL)

We’ve been fans of Elam McKnight ever since he busted on the scene straight outta West Tennessee with “Braid My Hair” in 2003.  He’s released three other albums, all firmly rooted in a Beale Street groove while continuing to push the envelope within the sounds of the genre.’  For his latest album, “Radio,” Elam is on vocals and guitar, with Dudley Harris on vocals, guitar, and bass, and Eddie Phillips on drums.

The party starts off on the good foot  with the echo-laden “I Feel Like Rocking,” then takes a philosophical turn with an Allman-esque cut, “Broken Eye.”  Dudley takes a couple of cool vocal turns, with the acoustic tale of that ol’ “nother mule kickin’ in my stall” entitled “Gonna Find Me A Hole.”  He keeps that vibe going with “Hard Times They Is,” featuring  Bob Bogdal on harp.

The poignant title cut is Elam’s ode to youthful lust and how to recapture those feelings, while a more mature Elam realizes that nobody’s perfect, and forgiveness is often the best medicine.  It’s spelled out perfectly in “Hold Me (Just A Little Longer).”  Just like a Mason jar of good ole West Tennessee ‘shine, the blues on this album get a little stouter the farther along in this album you go.  That fore-day creepin’ “Night Wanderer” is set over a strong blues-rock groove, while Elam closes the set with a  shot of acoustic blues that is just how this ol’ world works–“Rich Man Get Richer, Poor Man Get The Jail!”

We had two favorites, too, both on the rockin’ side of the fence.  Elam gets his Muddy groove on with a killer stop-time take on “Well I’m Bad,” while Jim Gambino’s piano fuels the rapid-fire boogie of “Let Me Be Your Sideman, sugar, like you never had before!”

We’ve always believed that we live in the most-musically-diverse place on the planet.  Hop in our car and head west for  an hour and we can pick up Elam, Dudley, and Eddie, and drive another hour or so and we’re all rockin’ the blues down on Beale with the Elam McKnight Band’s “Radio” blastin’ outta the speakers!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

Strongman review…March 6, 2017…

STRONGMAN

NO TIME LIKE NOW

SONIC UNYON RECORDS

NO TIME LIKE NOW–BRING THE HAMMER DOWN–MONEY IN THE BANK–YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET (FEATURING RANDY BACHMAN)–LOVE LOVE LOVE–I’M A MAN–OLD SCHOOL–GOOD TIMES–SOMETIMES–THE DAY THEY CARRY ME AWAY

Blues-rock guitarist Steve Strongman hails from north of the border up Ontario way, and has just released a mighty fine set of blues in all shades, “No Time Like Now,” on the Sonic Unyon imprint.  Steve has always been one of Canada’s most fiery performers, and on these cuts, nine originals written by Steve and bassist/producer Rob Szabo, and one lone cover, Steve lets loose and gets down on a set that’s not only emotional and energetic, but sho’ nuff a helluva lot of fun!

Another thing you’ll notice as you listen to Steve is the huge, fat tones he coaxes out of his guitars.  Recorded in his basement, he opted for smaller, vintage amps cranked up to 11 to achieve the desired sounds, rather than seek a larger studio.

His hard work paid off, and you can hear it throughout these songs.  We all know that the blues is based on primal urges,  and the title cut spells it out, as Steve tells a lover, “there’s no use denyin’–there’s No Time Like Now.”  Another good gal s just like “Money In The Bank,” and this one follows a modified stop-time , slide-heavy groove to get its message across, while “I’m A Man” is a struttin’ slab of funk that features falsetto vocals from Steve and has a definite Prince Rogers Nelson vibe.  Steve closes the set on a somber note, with the sparsely-arranged ode to true love, “Until The Day They Come To Carry Me Away.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Old School” is just that—a yearning for “digging in the roots” to find the true meaning of the blues.  He’s all over the slide guitar on this one, grabbing an extended solo.  And, he and his friend, Randy Bachman, turn in a slowed-down version of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,: with Steve on vocals, and the whole thing taking on a T. Rex-ish vibe.

Steve Strongman has always wanted to make a record of the music that got him started in wanting to play guitar in the first place.  Raw, powerful, straight-up blues is the order of the day in “No Time Like Now!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.