New Blues News – 7/4/2016

New Blues News – 7/4/2016

Allen-Lamun Band – Maybe It’s A Good Thing (Self-produced): Husband and wife singing and songwriting duo, Laura Lamun and Dave Allen create a soul blues sound that focuses on the singing. Their most effective and infectious vocals are when they are singing as a duo on their uptempo songs. The songs feature danceable, mid-tempo rhythms and tight, straight-forward instrumental support, provided by Allen (drums, harp), Jake Hill (keys), Steve Boynton and/or Kenne Cramer (guitar), and Randy Coleman (bass). Guests Larry van Loon (keys), Miqui Gutierrez (sax) and Donnie Miller (guitar) add in on individual songs. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.   

Chris Thomas King – Les Bleus Made In New Orleans (21st Century Blues): Chris Thomas King has dedicated his career to the blues in many of its interpretations or styles. From the acoustic styling of Tommy Johnson to straight electric blues and even his merger of hip hop as a form of blues, he has been both a star and an enigma. King has lived in New Orleans for quite some time now and it does seem the right environment for his art. He disappointed many blues fans  after his initial stripped down electric recordings and his appearance in “O Brother, Where Art Thou”, as they hoped for him to be the next great folk blues singer. That role was simply too confining for him. He formed the “21st Century Blues” label so he could control his output and his next release, “Dirty South Hip-Hop Blues”, confounded many of his fans. By now he has played practically every style of blues and continues to be dedicated to the validity of all of its forms. This four song EP celebrates that. The opener is classic old time NOLA, followed by his own modern blues-based declaration that “I hate to hear people tell me what I can’t do. I can fly through the air. I might even scoop down and rescue you.” Next, he performs Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues” (yes, an acoustic version) and closes with a modern blues rock song: “Rolling In The Deep”. Click here to listen to the title song.   

McDowell Brothers – Tribute To Inspiration (Even If): Sixteen year old Carlton and thirteen year old Peyton McDowell created this disc in tribute to the people who inspired them to play and to keep refining their musicianship. They love many styles and shift from one to others as the disc progresses. Each song was selected in dedication to someone, (relative, teacher, or musician), who inspired them to learn and grow. Carlton plays guitar, organ and other keyboards and Peyton plays bass, while vocals are handled by Brother Jack Schultz, PJ Willis, and by the “Seeds of Reed”, the children of the late Jimmy Reed who composed two songs covered on this disc. Drums are handled by Jerome Sullivan, Sam Jones, and Jam iah Rodgers (who also plays a guitar solo on one song). Fernando Jones adds harmonica on one song. The music is sometimes funky, mostly blues or soul oriented, and often infectious. Click here to listen to some songs on this disc.  

Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat – Live At The Kessler (Self-produced): Veteran blues/roots rock guitarist/singer/songwriter Jim Suhler in live performance with his current band Chris Alexander (bass), Shawn Phares (keys) and Beau Chadwell (drums) recorded about a year ago. The performance covers a lot of ground or sound, but it’s all roots or hot blues. The band kicks into high gear on the latter when Phares gets to really smack those elephant’s teeth and Suhler picks up his slide. This group is no doubt fun live and when they catch fire, they can certainly ignite the crowd. I regret I am unable to find a sample of this performance to share.

Billie Williams – 2016 (Self-produced): Singer/songwriter Billie Williams is a soul blues-inflected singer who wrote or co-wrote everything on this disc. The delivery is a melange of soul, blues, and club style rock-blues. That means that the music is performed in a very precise manner at the potential cost of a deeper emotional electricity. At the same time, the performance is very professional all around. The band includes Stew Cutler (guitar), Jeremy Mage (keys), Double-Z (bass), and Tony Allen (drums, percussion) with guests Danny Blume (guitar), Marco Benevento and Kenny Harris (keys) on selected songs. Horns are a part of the performance as well and are provided by Steven Bernstein and Marty Bound (trumpets), Erik Lawrence and Charlie Lagond (sax), and Alan Ferber and Birch Johnson (trombone). Click here to sample songs on this disc.   


Professor Bebop


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