New Blues News – 3/14/2016

New Blues News – 3/14/2016

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue – Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue (Electro-Fi): Here is a terrific gathering of blues musicians who have dedicated their lives to honoring the traditions  while adding their own considerable embellishments along the way: singer/harmonica player Mark Hummel, guitarists Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty, bassist R.W. Grigsby and drummer Wes Starr.  Add special guests Jim Pugh (keys) and Eric Spaulding and Jack Sanford (saxes) and you have a terrific recipe for a blues winner, whether covering classics by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Billy Boy Anold, Lowell Fulson, Mose Allison, Jimmy McCracklin or Lee Allen or originals by Mark Hummel or R.W. Grigsby.  Click here for a short sample from the opening cut.   Want more?  Click here to catch a full performance from last month!   

Janiva Magness – Love Wins Again (Blue Elan): Magness describes her new disc as “celebrating happy”. She points out that the way we understand the force of love depends upon the way one thinks about it — there are many sad songs about the loss or failure of love, but one can also look at it as a force that continually moves to renew itself. Her deep commitment to these songs is quite evident. All but one song on this disc are originals, written or co-written by Magness or band mates Dave Darling (guitar, bass, backing vocals) and Gary Pinto (backing vocals). Other contributors are Matt Laug (drums), Gary Davenport (bass), Arlan Schierbaum (keys), Phil Parlipiano (piano), Alfredo Ballesteros (sax, backing vocals), Zach Zunis and Garret Deloian (guitar), Ismael Pineda (percussion), and backing vocals by Brie Darling, Gary Pinto and TJ Norton. The sound is truly infectious!  Click here to listen to the title song.   

Blind Lemon Pledge – Pledge Drive (Self-produced): At one time, my friends and TJU compatriots Harry Sleeper (founder of “Nothin’ But The Blues”) and Pat Bauley (Doc Sludge of “Slime Theatre” fame) used to refer to Blind Lemon Pledge as a tongue-in-cheek bluesman (a take-off on Blind Lemon Jefferson, for instance). Who would have thought that there actually would be one? He gained his first critical attention with “Blessed Be the Lord,” credited in TIME as the first use of hard rock music in a liturgical setting. Under the aegis of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Byfield toured with his Rock Mass across Northern California, gaining press coverage, a certain notoriety and a love of new and unusual directions in music. In 2008, Byfield was able to devote all his time to his music and launched a recording and performance career under the stage name Blind Lemon Pledge (trademarked in 2015). The disc at hand is his fifth. All of the songs are originals. Byfield sings and plays a variety of instruments. Other contributors are Jenny Reed (harmonica) and Rick LeCompte (sax). There is a wide range of performance styles here and if you click on the link you can listen to samples. 

The Jon Spear Band – Live At The Southern (Self-produced): This Central Virginia blues band hits the nail right on the head both in the title of their last song and the actuality of their sound with their new disc. Performed and recorded at The Southern right here in Cville, this set emphasizes the unified sound of the band, the frequent “good time” attitude of the songs and the performers, and the strength of Spear’s and Dara James’ best songwriting.  The band includes Jon Spear on guitar and vocals, Andy Burdetsky on bass, Dara James on guitar, harmonica, and vocals and John Stubblefield on drums,  with guests Adrian Duke (B-3 and piano) and Haywood Giles (sax). Spear commented in the notes that live music inevitably is better than studio work (often the studio can make the musicians stiff or too tight) and he adds that there are no second chances to correct mistakes. You also hear the greatest successes. Click here and scroll down looking to the right to sample the songs on this disc.     


Professor Bebop


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