New Blues News – 7/14/2020
Grant Dermody – My Dony (Self-produced): “The new album is pretty much, straight-up Chicago blues,” Dermody says. “There’s some gospel and zydeco, but I consider this the first full record I’ve done with amplified harmonica. It gave (guitarist Dirk Powell) the chance to play electric guitar the way he wants to play electric guitar. This was about bringing the music into a form that encapsulates the essence of the real blues that influenced us so significantly, and I think that’s what we accomplished.” (http://www.grantdermody.com/bio/) The other players include Jason Sypher (bass), Jamie Dick (drums), Corey Ledet (accordion), Kelli Jones (harmony vocals), and special guests, Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah. Dermody definitely has his own style, but would also fit wonderfully on the stage or even the sidewalk. His singing is natural with no pretensions and everything fits together very well! Definitely a disc for straight blues without any blown up rock guitar. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this disc.
Eddie 9 Volt – Way Down The Alley: Live At Blind Willies (Echo Decco): “Way Down The Alley (Live at Blind Willie’s)’, the new album from young blues prodigy, Eddie 9V (pronounced Eddie 9-volt), was recorded live at the legendary club, a New Orleans-style joint in the heart of Atlanta where Muddy Waters’ son still performs today. With a raucous, energetic audience, Eddie and the band give a performance that likens the sounds of Muddy Waters ‘Live at Mr. Kelly’s’ or Junior Wells ‘Live at Theresa’s 1975.’ It’s raw. You can hear the clings of beer glasses, forks digging into jambalaya, and Eddie’s ever stinging guitar. Featuring Eddie’s instantly classic original blues tunes plus a taste of blues classics, and with harmonica ace Jackson Allen and pianist Chad Mason, ‘Way Down The Alley’ is a mood that puts you front row to some of the most happening retro soul of the new generation.” (https://eddie9v.bandcamp.com/album/way-down-the-alley-live-at-blind-willies) The man can certainly play and sing and stir things up. He’s over the top at times, but his commitment and fire seem mostly genuine and his showmanship honors the blues. The cat can sing and burn up the guitar! Guests harmonica ace Jackson Allen and pianist Chad Mason add great support throughout. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Eric Hughes Band – Postcard From Beale Street (Endless Blues): “Eric Hughes exemplifies Beale Street today: steeped in blues but representing so much more; he has played over 4,000 shows on that famed avenue. Hughes sees his role of Beale Street mainstay as a profound honor and sacred responsibility. Eric is a musician, storyteller, historian, tour guide and a rock-solid songwriter. Through Postcard From Beale Street he lets you hear what Memphis sounds like today, and what it sounded like yesterday. Eric’s songs here range in style from soul, indie, jug-band, ballad, rock, and – of course – blues. Eric and his band of skilled musicians (who toured and recorded with music legends such as Albert and BB King, Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jeff Beck, Buddy Miles and many more) are augmented by solid Memphis session players (with musical resumes that rival anyone). Postcard From Beale Street represents the diverse influences that make Memphis music more than a thing of the past. Like Memphis, Eric’s music can’t be “pigeon-holed”; he’s not merely a blues artist. This is a songwriting album: ear candy from some fine musicians. Each of these songs tell a story through lyrical imagery and crafty songwriting. All of these songs are ABOUT something, not just words to accompany music.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137793417-eric-hughes-band-postcard-from-beale-street-2020.html) The backing musicians are Walter Hughes (guitar, backing vocal), Leo Goff (bass), Brian Aylor (drums, percussion), Rick Steff (keys), Marc Franklin (trumpet), Kirk Smothers (Sax) and Mick Kolassa (spoons, etc). Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this release.
Bridget Kelly Band – Dark Spaces (Alpha Sun): The Bridget Kelly Band is back with a new set of topical messages ranging from dark times and the need for support from friends to encouragement (Sometimes You Gotta Dance) and encouragement, but with always with the need to overcome frustration and a warning that “Your Days Are Numbered”. It’s like a sermon. Kelly sings with emphasis on the themes of the songs and she is backed up ably by Tim Fik on guitar and some bass and trading off with Mark Armbrecht and drums handled by Alex Klausner, Sonny Rock and Boss Jones. The themes are clearly focused on the hard times and holding together and strong. The emotional aspects recognize the earnest endeavor and difficulty of living a good life, but also stress the effort of trying. It’s well performed and a unique set. Click here to listen to samples of the songs from this disc.
Mark May Band – Deep Dark Demon (Gold Coast): ““Mark is one of the best blues-rock artists to come along in years. With great singing/songwriting and guitar playing, he reminds me of everyone from Albert Collins to Stevie Ray to Carlos Santana. Hell, I even heard a couple of my licks in there!” — Dickey Betts (https://www.bluestownmusic.nl/mark-may-band-deep-dark-demon/) This would appear to be his sixth release and unless he just decided to really play guitar, I can’t believe I haven’t heard him until now! May’s singing is on the talky side but quite expressive. He also plays the guitar with style and slash and when Billy Wells joins in on the proceedings, be prepared to scream with joy! Backing players are Darrell Lacy (bass, backing vocal), Brandon Jackson and Geronimo Calderon alternate on bass), Barry Seelen and Shawn Allen trade off on B3 and Seelen adds piano on one, Al Pagliuso adds percussion and Eric Demmer adds sax on one song while Mike Zito adds guitar on one. Only one more thing to add: “Slay me right now because I can’t go another further”! and understand that this disc IS a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks” ! Click here to listen to the opening song, “Harvey’s Dirty Side”.