Blues Review – 9-19-23
Tom Buenger – Blues From Caucasia (Self Produced) – West Coast solo musician Tom Buenger’s 2nd album. Tom Buenger plays acoustic guitar, bass, harmonica, and handles the lead vocals. I really like this guys voice and his blend between Gospel and Blues. The first song has a great Church feel, “Above the Sun”, then he goes right into “Start A Fire”, a great poppy song with some wonderful vocals and lead guitar. When Tom pushes his voice is really where he shines as a great vocalist. The whole CD is done really well, some songs are bluesy but most are contemporary Pop to me. I think my favorite and the most Blues song on this CD is “Talk To Me”, listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and an 8 on Music Content.
Chris Yakopcic – Live At The Hidden Gem (Yako records) – Chris Yakopcic is a fingerstyle acoustic blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter inspired by pre-war delta and Piedmont players. His guitar playing builds on the rhythmic and often high energy thumb-bass picking patterns innovated by Robert Johnson, Bill Broonzy, and Blind Blake to name a few. In January 2015, Chris was a finalist in the 31st International Blues Challenge (top 8 of 100 competing solo/duo acts) in Memphis, TN. He has qualified for the IBC four times after winning various regional completions. Chris has a great attack on the guitar and his fingerstyle is very impressive as shown by the first song, “Gotta Get Goodbye Somehow”. His voice is kind of on the high register, but works very well for his music with his covers like Blind Blake’s “Chump Man Blues”. This CD alternates between original music and covers of the great like “Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues”. The CD was recorded live but has a studio feel in the quality, works well for this acoustic sound that Chris gets. I think my favorite on this CD is “Preachin’ Blues”, listen here. I will probably give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Tom Hambridge – Blu Ja Vu (Quarto Valley) – Well now, we are in the company of a legend!! Tom Hambridge is a Four-time Grammy™- winning producer, songwriter, & drummer for his production work on three of blues legend Buddy Guy’s most critically acclaimed albums: ‘Living Proof’ (2011) , “Born to Play Guitar’ (2016), ‘The Blues is Alive and Well’ (2018), and for his work on Christone “Kingfish” Ingram’s Album ‘662’ (2022). Tom has also produced 9 other Grammy nominated albums. He has won numerous Blues Music Awards and W.C. Handy Awards, eight Boston Music Awards and several ASCAP Country Music Awards. He’s the recipient of the prestigious KBA (Keeping the Blues Alive) Award in Memphis and has been inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. The list of artist collaborators includes: Gary Clark Jr., Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Kid Rock, Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter, George Thorogood and Susan Tedeschi, among many others. So what does a drummer do?? Brings together many of his favorite musicians that he has worked with like, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, Kingfish, James Cotton and Josh Smith to put out a great rocking blues album. Tom has a pretty good voice and melds well with Buddy Guy on the first song ‘Ain’t It Just Like Love”, alternating vocals with blues legend Buddy!! All the songs are written by Tom and all of the songs rock super hard!! “Blues don’t Care” really shines with Kingfish on vocals and screaming guitar. I think my favorite on this CD is “Johnny Winter” just because of song meaning, listen here. I will probably give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.
Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps – Rose-Colored Glasses (Blue Heart) – Teresa James’ persuasive pipes slathered in honey and soaked in Texas-bred sass, keyboardist Teresa James and her band, the Rhythm Tramps, have long reigned as one of Los Angeles’ leading contemporary blues outfits, even though their uncommonly imaginative repertoire, much of it supplied by Terry Wilson, James’ husband, producer, and bassist, is by no means strictly limited to the 12-bar form. Her last CD (That we reviewed) was a cover of Beatles Tunes that was done so well. Their 2019 CD, Here in Babylon, was nominated for a Grammy in the Contemporary Blues Album category. This CD is a bit more Blues and she and the band do a crack up job. Guitar riffs are so tasteful and compliments her wonderful voice. “I’d Do It For You” is a really nice rocking Blues tune that shows how tight the band is and well produced. She does throw in some slow ballads that I do not think work well with her voice or the CD like “The Idea Of You”. It’s a definitely a mix bag of music genre and quality for me, but I think my favorite on this CD is “Second Chances”, listen here. I will probably give this a 6 on Blues Content and a 7 on Music Content.
Judith Point – Out Of The Blue (Self Produced) – This band is from Farmville, VA (Not that guy!!) Judith Point is a talented group of singer songwriters take you on an unforgettable ride that revives memories long forgotten and to a place and time when music had real meaning and rocked your very soul. From Soulful ballads to heart pounding rock N Roll to thigh slapping rockabilly, their original songs are reminiscent of the powerful sound of the 60’s and 70’s. Point Judith is the vocal super group you have never heard of. You will enjoy this group! Not sure if a super group or a Blues Band, but they are fairly good as a band. I think they are probably better live than this CD represents. Some Blues songs like “You’ve Changed” are great to listen to. Not much about them on the internet but thinking this is their first CD. Was expecting a female voice (Judith Point, but I guess that is a place rather than a person) , but it is mostly a male singing most of the songs. It’s ok as an album but you can really feel that it is Self Produced and their first CD. I think my favorite on this CD is “Fort Worth Twister” just because of the opening guitar riff, listen here. I will probably give this a 6 on Blues Content and a 5 on Music Content.