New Blues News – 7/6/2017
Jim Allchin – Decisions (Sandy Key Music): Singer/guitarist Jim Allchin offers his third release of mostly original compositions spanning blues rock to straight rock or pop. The music itself is very polished with a strong sound, the polished work of producer Tom Hambridge. The guitar work is the most outstanding aspect of the disc. Supporting musicians include Bill Bergman (tenor, bari sax), Lee Thornberg (trumpet, trombone), Michael Rhodes (bass), Reese Wymans (B3, piano), Pat Buchanan and Rob McNelley (guitar), Tom Hambridge (drums) and Keb’ Mo’ (guest vocalist on one song). High polish across the board. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Hot Roux – Hometown Blues (Hi Hat): Hot Roux is based in Ventura, CA and this is their second offering of “Louisiana Blues & Swampy Rock’n’Roll”. The sound is laid back, but not as funky as the music of NOLA. These guys are more countrified even when they do stir up some funk in their rock’n’roll. At The same time, they can be quite entertaining. The band includes Jerry McWorter (drums, vocals), Brent Harding (bass, vocals), with Franck Goldwasser, Ed Berghoff, Kyle Jester, Johnny Main and Jon Lawton sharing and trading off on guitars. The sound is a brew of old rock’n’roll with some bayou and country, and a touch blues. Click here and scroll down to listen to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Karen Lovely – Fish Outta Water (Self-produced): There’s a special quality to the older style blue soul that is based upon musical simplicity and raw energy, while often being laid back and basic. It’s direct and may or may not be “in-your-face”, but it’s always to the point. Karen Lovely and her backing group have that down. Lovely’s vocals are direct, though she’s not really a screamer, and the musical backing is simple – just enough to focus your attention where it should be. This disc has that just right. Nothing ornate about Lovely’s vocals, just enough. Her backing players begin with guitarists Rick Holmstrom and Doug Pettibone, Taras Prodaniuk (bass), Matt Tecu (drums), and a couple of guests to add just the right spice: Ben Rice (guitar, dobro); Al Bonhomme (guitar, mandolin); Sasha Smith (piano, wurlitzer); Skip Edwards (B3, farfisa); Phil Parlapiano (piano, organ); David Rahlicke (Bari sax, cornet); DJ Bonebrake (marimba); Alan Mark Lightner (various percussion); Eric Gorfain (violin); Richard Dodd (cello); and Eric Corne (backing vocals, harmonica, guitar, and he wrote or co-wrote nine of the twelve songs here). A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Gordon Meier Blues Experience – Magic Kingdom (Self-produced): Guitarist/singer Gordon Meier identifies his two main influences as Freddie King and Magic Slim. He was fortunate enough to meet Slim and become good friends. Meier’s performance certainly reflects Slim’s cut to the bone playing style and the flow of King’s playing, tempered with Slim’s edge. The production on this disc emphasizes the edginess of Meier’s legacy as well. The material on this disc includes two originals from Meier, two covers of Freddie King, one from John Primer, Slim’s lead guitarist for some time, and covers of several Chicago standards. The sound resembles that of Meier’s heroes. Other players include Lester Veith (drums, one vocal), Mark Freidman (bass, backing vocals), Joe Taino (slide on two tracks), Dean Shot (rhythm guitar), Dennis Gruenling (harmonica) and Tom Hammer (keys). A solid old style blues performance! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Willa & Company – Better Days (Building): Willa Vincitore has been singing for a couple of decades in and around NY and she’s now stepping out on her own. She has a very large and versatile vocal technique and she’s not a screamer. She just seems to turn up the fullness of singing. She sings with terrific confidence as well. Her style is also rather varied: soul, blues, funk and even some pop. On this disc, she focuses on soul and blues but she also sings a variety of styles in those genres. Her basic musical support is provided by Chris Vitarello (guitar), Scott Milici (keys, vocals), Brandon Morrison (bass, vocals), Lee Falco (drums, vocals), Jay Collins (sax, horn arrangements), and Reggie Pittman (trumpet, flugelhorn), with guest appearances by Pete Hop (acoustic guitar) and Chris O’Leary (harmonica, vocal) on one song each. This is a super fine disc – variety, power, tight playing, and wonderful, super fine vocals by Ms Willa herself! Definitely, one to catch and watch out for! Click here to listen to four of the finest on this disc.