New Blues News – 11/7/2016

New Blues News – 11/7/2016

Devon Allman – Ride Or Die (Ruf): Devon Allman brings forth his new disc, sporting ten songs he wrote or co-wrote and one by drummer Tom Hambridge, who also plays on the disc. Other musicians are Tyler Stokes (guitar, bass), Steve Duerst (bass), Ron Holloway (sax), Bobby Yang (violin) and Kevin McKendree (keys). Like many Ruf releases, this is first and foremost full bore rock. There are a few acoustic songs here as well. The over-arching question printed on the sleeve is “When galaxies collide will you ride or die?” In Allman’s words: “This album is really about mixing all of my influences…soul, rock, blues and more. It’s about making an artistic statement, not about fitting into any category. I produced this album to be an eargasm of emotion.” (web page) Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.  

Big Head Blues Club – Way Down Inside: Songs Of Willie Dixon (Big): That is except for JB Lenoir’s “Good Advice”. Big Head Todd and The Monsters rounded up Mud Morganfield and Billy Branch (vocals), Ronnie Baker Brooks (guitar, vocals), and the powerfully stunning Erica Brown (vocals), to tribute to the classics written by Willie Dixon. Using the next generation of blues players works well and avoids any slavish imitation of the originals. The texture is smoothed out and somewhat stylized making this set seem more on the soul blues side than Dixon’s classic declarations were. It’s a bit surprising at first, but it does grow on you and ultimately makes this a really interesting and entertaining disc. Click here to listen to samples of several songs on this disc.   

Doyle Bramhall II – Rich Man (Concord): This is Bramhall’s first recording as the leader in fifteen years. His unique sound and style has graced numerous other recordings including extended time with Tedeschi-Trucks Band, but this disc is distinctly different. “I feel like the stars finally aligned to allow me to be completely myself as an artist for the first time—singer, guitar player, songwriter,  producer- and take things that were happening in my life and put them into music… Basically, all the songs are steps on a personal journey back to my truth, which comes around full circle from beginning to end on this album . It’s a very personal record for me.” This music itself is multi-layered and influenced, with elements of blues, rock, R&B, Indian music and Arabic music. Supporting musicians include KZ Jones (cowriter), Cian Riordan (organ), Woody Jackson & Chris Bruce (electric guitar), Tim Lefebvre, Sebastian Steinberg and Ted Pecchio (bass), James Gadson, Carla Azar, Abe Rounds, Anthony Cole, Sean Dixon (drums), Davey Chegwidden (percussion), Christina Courtin (strings), Glenn Patscha, (Hammond B3, chord organ), Adam Minkoff (vibraphone), Michael Eaton (tenor sax, flute), David Luther (alto sax), Dan Brantigan (trumpet), Miranda Sielaff (viola), Caitlin Sullivan (cello), Adam Minkoff (chorus moog bass), Devdutt Joshi, (harmonium), Ustad Surjeet Singh (sarangi), Jon Cowherd (pump organ), Keefus Ciancia (keyboards), Woody Jackson (bass, L’outer), Yuval Ron (oud, percussion, co-arrangement), and special guests Norah Jones (vocals), Kofi Burbridge (Hammond B3), and Binky Griptite and Joe Crispiano of the Dap-Kings (electric guitars). Click here to listen to songs on this disc. 

Colin James – Blue Highways (True North): Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Colin James has picked out thirteen of his favorite blues classics and and created a really nice tribute to the originals. There are no affectations in James’ singing or playing – just rockin’ blues. There is a variety of backing musicians on the recording who step up nicely on the songs they do: Craig Northey (rhythm guitar), Jesse O’Brien (organ, piano), Simon Kendall (organ), Steve Marriner (harmonica), Norm Fisher and Steve Pelletier (bass), and Pat Steward and Jeff Hicks (drums). A solid set throughout. Click here to listen to a representative track on this disc.   

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers – Spare Keys (White River): Jimmy Thackery is back and playing the guitar as well if not better than ever. His voice shows a good bit of road wear, but it does find on the songs he can be mostly talky on. He also composed all of the songs on this disc. Whether is closer to straight blues or rockin’ blues, the man has it going strong. Thackeray is supported by Rick Knapp (bass), while George Sheppard and Chris Reddan switch off on the drums. A strong release!  Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   


Professor Bebop


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