New Blues News – 3/29/2016
Debbie Bond – Enjoy The Ride (Blues Root Productions): Debbie Bond is frequently referred to as a major force in Alabama blues. She co-founded the Alabama Blues Project and refined it to become a truly successful and sustainable non-profit. She has backed up such traditional blues greats as Johnny Shines, Eddie Kirkland, Jerry “Boogie” McCain and Willie King. She has also released two previous discs in her own name. This disc is a combination of standard blues and soul and features Bond on electric guitar and vocals. She is a solid guitarist and sings with good expression, but her voice is not her greatest strength. Her band features Rick Asherson (keyboards, keyboard bass, harmonica), Dave Crenshaw (drums), Rachel and Carla Edwards (background vocals), guest Will McFarland (guitar) throughout the set and Spooner Oldham (organ on one song). Six of the songs are originals and the covers were written by Ann Peebles, Eddie Kirkland, Jody Williams, Willie King and Colin Linden. Click here to listen to the opening song on this disc.
Mark Cameron – Playing Rough (Cop): Veteran Minnesota blues singer/guitarist with a dozen original compositions. He is backed up by Sheri Cameron on flute and percussion,Dan Schroeder on drums, Scott “Thunder” Lundberg on bass and Bill “the Killer” Keyes on Harmonica. This is journeyman blues – a blend of the spirit of the blues with the personal expression and experience of the musicians. The songs are obviously heart-felt and the style represents that of the band. “The range of Cameron’s material stretches the Blues beyond safe limits with a focus on “foot stompin, butt shakin” music that is built for a live audience” (website). When they are successful, it is solid. Click here to listen to the opening track.
Daddy Mack Blues Band – Pay The Piper (Inside Sounds): The Daddy Mack Blues Band is straight up electric blues in the Memphis tradition of the 60’s and 70’s. All of the players were at one time members of the the city/country funky Fieldstones whose music grooved without the rock sound and this iteration honors the electric blues tradition in the same spirit. The Daddy Mack Blues Band has been the house band at the Center For Southern Folklore on Beale Street since 1998. The band features Daddy Mack Orr on vocals and lead guitar, James Bonner (rhythm guitar, vocals), Harold Bonner (bass), and Brian Wells (drums) with occasional support from Joe Boogie (B3), Carl EJ Dyce (trumpet, trombone), Billy Gibson (harmonica), Matt Isbell (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Gary Rosenberg, Sandy Carroll, and Eddie Dattel (backing vocals). This is the real deal stripped-down electric blues. The music here is filtered through the blues, rather than through the rock lens. BTW, this disc was apparently released in 2012, but it still stands strong today. Click here to listen to the opening track on this disc.
John D’Amato – Born Blue: The Sun Sessions (Self-produced): John D’Amato is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Memphis. This is his second release with his own band, with D’Amato on guitar and vocals, Lauren D’Amato (keys, backing vocals), Joe Zito (rhythm guitar), Dan Nadasdi (keyboards), alternating bass players Jeff OffIatt, Phil Hart, and Gregg Germony, and drummers John P D’Amato, Don Ray, and Carl Brenner. D’Amato’s voice can be plain or gravelly and is most effective when the gruff is on. His guitar playing is often melodic and covers several styles. He does have some flash, but in addition to that, he also can play for feeling. He also played with Joe Louis Walker on the latter’s “Hellfire” disc (2012). This success of this disc is somewhat variable, but there are some very good cuts here. Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc (first 14 on the list).
Steve Dawson – Solid States & Loose Ends (Black Hen Music): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Dawson has been a fixture in the Canadian music community for some time both for his own musical skills and his work as a producer and sitting in with other musicians. This disc is reminiscent of the best of Ry Cooder, perhaps mixed with a dash of Arlo Guthrie. He has a declarative, sometimes plaintive singing style and enough guitar skill (acoustic and electric) to drop your jaw – not overly busy but just exactly what the song needs. Dawson’s repertoire draws on traditional folk songs and originals. There is a revolving set of backing musicians including Gary Craig (drums), John Dymond and Mike Bub (bass), Kevin McKendree (organ), Jim Hoke (sax), Steve Herrman (trumpet), Fats Kaplan (viola, fiddle), and the McCrary Sisters and Keri Latimer (background vocals). Highly recommended! Click here and scroll down to listen to some samples from this disc.
Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul (Provogue): Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey took the blues rock / jazz rock scene by storm in 1988 with his super hot playing and lots of hype about his having lost his sight to a rare form of ocular cancer less than two years after he was born. Healey’s immediate stardom launched several years of touring. Eventually, his frustration over his lack of control of his touring and the scant freedom his record company allowed for experimentation and variety with his music wore him down. The band began to fall apart. Healey shifted his interest to jazz rock though still performing with his blues band as well. He died of cancer in 2008 leaving behind a large set of unpublished performances. This disc has been released by Healey’s family and estate. It contains a wide range of music and some amazing examples of Healey’s talent. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Guy King – Truth (Delmark): Guy King fell in love with blues, r&b and jazz as a teenager and previous to going out on his own, served as the lead guitarist for Willie Kent’s solid Chicago blues band. Guy, however, has branched out in his performances as a leader by playing a mix of blues, jazz, or uptown blues and r&b, with a heavy influence from Ray Charles’ early recordings and a decided love for Percy Mayfield. King has a declarative, almost talking, singing style and his guitar styles range from swing to blues and are a true strength. This is mostly an uptown tour. Click here to sample the songs on this disc.
Shari Puorto – My Obsession (Self-produced, Little Lightning): Puorto is typically described as an Americana singer with a strong voice and some attitude. She wrote or co-wrote all but one song on this disc and has a noteworthy cast of musicians working with her, including Tony Braunagel (drums, producer); Johnny Lee Schell, Jimmy Vivino, Steve Fister, and Johnny Hawthorn (taking turns on various tracks); Mike Finningan, Barry Goldberg, and Jim Pugh (trading off on keys); and Bob Glaub (bass). The performance is professional and tight and Puorto can sing well. Click here for an introduction and a sample.
The Rides – Pierced Arrow (429): Veteran rockers Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (vocals, guitar), and Barry Goldberg (keyboards) decided to grab a rhythm section – Chris Layton (drums) and Kevin McCormick (bass) – and play some old style rock & roll, on this, their second release. The sound is pretty immediately recognizable and all three of the leads are sounding quite good. With exception of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe”, all of the songs here were written by one of more of the leaders. Click here to listen to the opening track.
Curtis Salgado – The Beautiful Lowdown (Alligator): Veteran singer and harmonica player Salgado has an interesting career story: He began his career leading The Nighthawks, a band based in Eugene, Oregon. He then joined forces with Robert Cray and sang and played harmonica in The Robert Cray Band for six years, including singing on Cray’s debut album, released in 1980. Salgado went on to front Roomful of Blues, singing and touring with them from 1984 through 1986. Returning to Oregon, he formed Curtis Salgado & The Stilettos in 1991 on the JRS label. The band opened for The Steve Miller Band during the summer of 1992. In 1995, Curtis spent a short stint as the lead singer with the band Santana. Salgado met John Belushi while the latter was filming “Animal House” and they became friends. He was the inspiration behind John Belushi’s creation of the Blues Brothers characters in the late 1970s. The Blues Brother’s debut album “Briefcase Full of Blues” is dedicated to Salgado. Even at 62, he has a commanding voice and remains adept on the harmonica. He wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs on this disc. The musical cast on this disc includes alternating guitarists Johnny Lee Schell, Vyasa Dodson, Marlon McClain, Chris Hayes, Igor Prado; keyboard players Mike Finnigan, Jim Pugh, Brian Harris, and Larry Fulcher; bass players Larry Fulcher, James “Hutch” Hutcherson, and Tracy Arrington; drummers Tony Braunagel and Brian Foxworth; and guest vocalists Tippa Lee and Danielle Schnebelen (one song each). There is also a brass section on several cuts: Lewis Livermore and Dave Mills (trumpet); Gary Harris (tenor sax); Lars campbell (trombone); and Tim Bryson (bari sax). A big list, a great big sound like Salgado’s voice and some serious soul blues. You’ve just got to hear it to know. Click here to sample the songs on this disc. If you don’t want to do the whole disc, scroll down to the video of “I’m Not Made That Way” and check it out. If you love soul, you’ll be glad you did!