New Blues News – 12/1/2020
Sam Barlow & His True Blue Band – Faith In The Blues (Montrose): “Sam Barlow is a 24 year old virtuoso guitarist, harmonicist, and vocalist based out of West Texas. His 12 year professional career as both a frontman and session player has spanned a wide array of genres. Including but not limited to, Blues, Rock, Pop, Funk, Jazz, Soul, Tejano, Hip Hop, Country, etc. He has opened for, both as a solo act as well as with other artists, Sublime with Rome, John Anderson, Robert Earl Keen, Cory Morrow, Johnny Rawls, and many more. Sam “cut his teeth” in Austin, Texas, playing popular Blues/ Rock styles and had the opportunity to sit in amongst legends such as Jimmie Vaughan and Elvin Bishop. In 2010, Sam’s electrifying performance style captured first place in the El Paso “King Of The Blues” guitar competition sponsored by Guitar Center. Sam then went on to represent El Paso in the state finals held in Houston where he finished in 2nd place. In 2013, he won the FM 92.3 The Fox Battle On the Border with Outlaw Country group, TrailerBand, and In 2015, Sam was a Top 4 Finalist in the PM 92.3 The Fox Battle On the Border with his own, Sam Barlow Band. As of 2016 he holds an Associates of Arts in Music (Jazz Guitar) at El Paso Community College. In his spare time, he is an avid blues historian, fried chicken lover, free thinker, hat guy, Star Wars memorabilia collector, and humorist.” (https://electricguitarblues.blogspot.com/2020/06/sam-barlow-faith-in-blues-2020.html) Click here to listen to the opening song on this release.
Andy Cohen – Tryin’ To Get Home (Earwig): “Troubador Andy Cohen, a stellar finger-picker on acoustic guitar and a fine piano player, does tasty versions of classic blues by Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, Reverend Gary Davis, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, folk-blues by Bob Dylan,Dave Van Ronk and others, and a few of his own tunes thrown in for good measure.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137838914-andy-cohen-tryin-to-get-home-2020.html) Or as Cohen explains: “Notes from Andy Cohen: Tryin’ To Get Home has been assembling itself in my head for several years. It’s a record for grownups. All these songs have meaning to me because they speak to what matters, righteous things big and small. I’m happy about how the pre-war (WW2) songs came out, and happy also that the ones I made up seem to fit with the older ones. A few songs by other folks, ones I thought were appropriate for the project, round it out. Mostly, I want to present material that I believe in, as clearly and intelligibly as I can.” I’d say he’s done just fine! Click here to listen to the title song.
Dennis Jones – Soft Hard & Loud (Blue Rock): “Dennis’s feet are rooted in the past, yet his heart and soul are connected to the present. He writes songs that seamlessly blend the best of both worlds! This is Dennis Jones’ first fully original album since “Both Sides of the Track” in 2016. The album ranges from Blues to Reggae, from Rock to R&B.” (https://electricguitarblues.blogspot.com/2020/10/dennis-jones-soft-hard-loud-2020.html) Interesting lyrics and solid modern guitar playing are highlights of this release. Jones has a warm declarative singing style and his lyrics are fresh. His backing is mostly in a trio with Cornelius Mims (bass, keys, percussion, backing vocal) and Raymond Johnson (drums). Nice variety and solid modern blues. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to “Like Sheep” from this release.
The McKee Brothers – A Time Like This (Self-produced): “A Time Like This, the 3rd release from The McKee Brothers, once again features fine LA and Michigan musicians and spotlights Denis McKee’s ongoing collaboration with prolific songwriter and amazing pianist Bobby West, this time creating 16 lyrically interesting and seriously funky originals. It is produced by multi-instrumentalist Denis McKee, who is also featured on lead vocals, backed by supremely soulful vocalist Maxayn Lewis (Ike & Tina Turner/Maxayn). The rhythm section includes A-list LA musicians Bobby Watson (Rufus/Billy Preston/Michael Jackson) on bass, with drummers Steve Stephens (Patti Austin/Glen Hughes) and Vincent Fosset Jr. (Kirk Fletcher/Janiva Magness). The songs feature great horn arrangements by Lee Thornburg (Supertramp/Etta James/TOP/Joe Bonamassa), with Lee on brass and Positone recording artist Doug Webb (Stanley Clark/Freddie Hubbard/Rod Stewart) on reeds. Veteran bluesmen Larry McCray and Joey Delgado add inspired guitar to several tracks, with Denis contributing dynamic guitar solos on Realize, The Rain, and A Scene From Sunday.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137832390-the-mckee-brothers-a-time-like-this-2020-cd-rip.html) Smoooooth and polished. Click here to listen to “Back To Love” from this release.
David Rotundo Band – So Much Trouble (Dreams We Share): “Toronto blues harpist David Rotundo heard James Cotton perform at the El Mocambo in 1991. “He blew one note on the harmonica that hypnotized me…” The next day, Rotundo went out and bought a harmonica. “…and I’ve been playing the blues ever since.” Obsession with the blues led on a diesel-fueled roots tour of blues epicentres of the United States including – New Orleans, Clarksdale, Austin, Memphis and Chicago with little more than his wits and a bag full of harmonicas. “I wanted to hear and experience the real thing.” He returned to Canada with a visceral perception of the blues and a deep knowledge of blues history. After making the stories his own, he earned the right to tell them. Rotundo has developed his own language of the blues, honing the technique that gives the voice power and authenticity.” (http://www.davidrotundo.com/about.html) All of the songs are originals. Rotundo sings and plays harmonica and guitar and is backed by a variety of guests including guitarists Milky Burgess, Skylar Mehal and Desmond Brown; Ron Weinstein (organ, piano), Ed Weber (piano), Andrew Cloutier (drums) and Dean Schmidt (bass) among others. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.