New Blues News – 1/7/2019
Brandi & The Alexanders – How Do You Like It? (Red Parlor): “Like fusing the Jackie Brown soundtrack, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, and Sticky Fingers together; Brandi & the Alexanders have a sound that is slick, big, and instantly classic.” (https://www.brandiandthealexanders.com/) The band is straight-forward and tight, featuring Ethan Simon (piano, keys); Eric Gottlieb (drums, percussion); Eric Wendell ((bass) and Nick Fokas (guitar) with guests Quinn McCarthy (guitar, electronics, keys, vibes, percussion); Cherette White (backing vocals); Greg Blair (sax); and John Lake (trumpet). The centerpiece is Brandi Thompson, who sings with power and beauty. The music, written by Brandi often in collaboration with Wendell, Fokas, and/or Gottlieb, is precise and rocking. Thompson has great control which matches the straight-ahead approach of the players. Very nice! Click here and then click “Media” to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Kevin Burt – Heartland & Soul (Little Village): Iowa’s Kevin Burt (vocals, guitar, harmonica, songwriter) has been around for several years and recently received terrific recognition in the 2018 International Blues Challenge. Following that he landed a recording opportunity with The Little Village Foundation, a label run by Jim Pugh (Robert Cray Band) with support from Kid Andersen and other established blues musicians. This disc features eleven Burt compositions and a blues cover of “Eleanor Rigby”. Burt has a wonderfully supple and soulful vocal style and he is an accomplished guitarist and harmonica player. His sound is more urban than traditional, but he can be quite captivating. Burt is supported by Jerry Jemmott (bass), Derrick “D’Mar” Martin (drums), Jon Otis (percussion), Jim Pugh (keys) and Kid Andersen (guitar, melodica on one song) and Lisa Leuschner Andersen (backing vocals). Burt’s great voice and expression demand our listening. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Randy Casey – I Got Lucky (Self-produced): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Randy Casey offers what appears to be his third release featuring twelve original songs centered in the blues rock vein with the blues being the center of this set while his playing has strong rock sensibilities, sometimes recalling the Rolling Stones and at others a country rock style. His singing is mostly in a declarative style. Backing musicians include drummers David J. Russ, Noah Levy, and RC; bass players Aaron “Al” Bergstrom, Martin Rush, and Steve Price; John “Peachtree” Paynich (harmonica); Steve Thorp and Peter J. Sands (organ); and John Eller (piano). The overall feeling is blues centered music with a taste of rock and/or country. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Diane Durrett & Soul Suga – Live (Self-produced): Singer/guitarist/songwriter Diane Durrett offers what appears to be her ninth or tenth release. It is a live performance featuring original songs and a cover or so. Durrett sings with a lot of control. She can be quite mellow or rattle the windows. Soul Suga includes Melissa Junebug (drums, percussion), Yoel B’nai Yehuda (keys), Gregg Shapiro (bass), Markham White (guitar), Adam McKnight and Deborah Reese (backing vocals), Wes Funderburke (trombone) and Kerren Berz (violin). This is a polished set, performed in a warm and ofter mellow fashion. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Wild (Sony): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor “is a British blues rock guitarist and singer who was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics at the age of 16.” (wikipedia) She has released seven discs to date and has a new release coming early this year. This disc is a hard core rocker recorded in Nashville and released in 2016 . Her upcoming release will be released in March. Taylor co-wrote all but two of the songs on this release. She is also an awesome guitarist as amply evidenced by this disc. She backup musicians are Rob McNelly (rhythm guitar), Greg Morrow (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass), Steve Nathan (keys) and Paul Cerra (sax). The program is full bore blues rock, well polished with great vocals. There are also some “uptown” songs with horns and soulful style. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.