New Blues News – 8/13/2019
Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers – No Good Deed (Pretty Good For A Girl): Sax player/singer songwriter Mindi Abair offers her fifth release with the Boneshakers and it may be their best yet. Abair is singing and playing in great form and the band rocks out! Band members are Randy Jacobs (guitar, vocal), Rodney Lee (B3, piano, synth, vocals), Third Richardson (drums, percussion, vocal) and Ben White (bass, vocal) have truly formed a solid group. Guests Lee Thornberg (trumpet, trombone) and Paulie Cerra (tenor sax) join the group on one song and Nick Lane (trombone) joins one song. Great rockin’ and sound to make you shake what you can! Rock & Roll at it’s best! A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Without Cracks”! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Vince Agwada – Light Of Day (Rocketnoodle): “Vince Agwada, ace guitarist, composer, producer, and recording artist got his start in music at the world-renown Blues havens Theresa’s and Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge, where he cut his teeth observing and backing journeymen players such as Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, Otis Rush, John Primer, and the late Lefty Dizz, who was the first to let the precocious teen sit in on his now legendary “Blue Monday” jam sessions where the best of Chicago’s Bluesmen as well as international rock stars, including the Rolling Stones, George Thorogood, Joe Perry of Aerosmith and others would frequently come to jam with these Bluesmen whose music was the root of rock ‘n’ roll.” (https://www.vinceagwada.com/vinceagwada/about/) Interestingly, Agwada does play with Rock at the center unlike many of the blues players he cut his teeth with. He certainly has great chops and interacts with the other players to create a more complex and versatile set. His backing musicians include Brian Jones, Billy Blaylock, Clyde Davis and Brady Williams (drums), Andre Howard and John C. Hall (bass), Roosevelt Purifoy and Tim Gant (keys) This is Agwada’s third release and he is most definitely the dazzler at the center. Click here and scroll down to listen to small samples of the songs on this disc.
Steve Cohen – Looking Back (Kanie): “Steve Cohen plays and teaches harmonica & guitar, and sings the blues in his own unmistakable style. He’s been performing and recording in the Milwaukee area since 1970.” (http://www.stevecohenblues.com/) All of the songs are originals. Cohen is accompanied by Bill Stone and Leroy Airmaster (guitar), Dave Kasik (bass), Greg Koch, Jim Liban (harmonica), Bob Mueller (drums) and Peter Roller (guitar), among others. This group is reminiscent of the best bar bands of the 70s and 80s swinging the blues and getting everybody enthused! What a gas! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Les Copeland – One More Foot In The Quicksand (Earwig): Considered one of British Columbia’s greatest folk blues performers, Les Copeland got the bug early and started playing before he was a teenager. He plays acoustic and electric guitar on this disc and is backed up by Cameron Ward (bass) and Scott Grant (drums) with Michel Frank adding harmonica on one song. Eleven of the eighteen songs are originals, while the remaining seven mostly cover folks like Bill Broonzy, Sleepy John Estes and even Ray Charles. This is a very fine folk blues offering. Click here to listen to Les Copeland perform “When I Been Drinking” from this disc.
Gracie Curran & Friends – Come Undone (VizzTone): Having received a great deal of praise for her first release, Gracie Curran offers eight new songs on this disc. She has a straight ahead soul singer’s voice, but relies on restrained tones. She has been compared to Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes for her softer side which is commanding, without complete reliance on shouting. The musicians on this disc are also a perfect match. They have range, but do not rely on power. The players are Damon Fowler (guitar), Matt Walker (guitar, bass, Wurlitzer), Justin Headley (drums), with guests Pat Harrington (guitar, 1 song), Victor Wainwright (keys, 2 songs), Jeremy Powell (keys, 2 songs), Doug Wolverton (trumpet), Mark Early (sax) and Reba Russell (backing vocals). This set draws you in with its subtlety and certainty. It gets in your head and your heart. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the opening song.
Jeff Dale & The South Woodlawners – Blues Power (self-produced): “After over 40 years of performing and writing original roots music, Jeff Dale delivers a batch of tunes that radiate his hard scrabble beginnings on the south side of Chicago, his resiliency through tough times and his well-earned sense of humor. “Blues Power” is Jeff Dale’s sixth commercial recording in the last nine years….” (https://www.jeffdaleblues.com/blues-power) The music is a blend of blues and country covering such topics as “Middle Class Moan”, “One Step From A Broken Man” and “Can I Boogie”. All the songs were written by Dale who identifies the music as Americana. Backing musicians include Derek Phillips and Sherry Pruitt (vocals), Pat Zicari (keys), Joe Monroe (piano), Charlie Love (guitar), Orlando Wright (bass) and Tim Austin and Steven Gillis (drums) with Lee Loughnane (horns) and Hunter Ackerman (harmonica). Click here and scroll down to listen to songs on this disc.
Ben Levin – Before Me (VizzTone): “BEFORE ME is the second album from brilliant young blues pianist/singer/songwriter BEN LEVIN, featuring performances by his musical friends and heroes Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, and (King Records drummer) Phillip Paul.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137729750-ben-levin-before-me-2019.html) Other players are Aron Levin (guitar), Chris Douglas (bass), Oscar Bernal (drums), Stan Ginn (percussion) and vocalists Chris Douglas, Mel Hatch Douglas and Kennedy McPherson (vocals). Levin is reminiscent of a blend of Fats Domino and Roosevelt Sykes – great piano and vocals that will simply capture any blues fan with ears. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men + Dana – Tall, Dark & Handsome (Hot Shot): “Delbert McClinton describes his latest album Tall, Dark & Handsome, out July 26th, as “kind of a salute to Texas blues, the music I grew up on.” With respect to the always-succinct McClinton, it’s much more than that. As with his 2017 effort Prick of the Litter, the singer/songwriter/harmonica wizard shifts deftly between styles, smoothly segueing from straight-up blues to swing, country and jazz with the confidence of a master. It’s not a stretch to say that McClinton, at age 78, is making the best music of his career. McClinton can attribute his current level of productivity to a couple of factors, namely his record label, Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers, along with his working band of stellar musicians, the Self Made Men + Dana. “We have no restraints in making the music we want to make,” McClinton says. “I can pretty much do anything I want to. That’s a key factor in being creative. You get to be soaked in what you’re doing. Nothing is off limits for me, and that’s the best feeling in the world.” (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/delbert-mcclinton-new-album-tall-dark-handsome-860115/#!) The band members are Bob Britt and James Pennebaker (guitars), Jack Bruno (drums), Mike Joyce (bass), Kevin McKendree and Dennis Wage (keys), Dana Robbins (sax) and Quentin Ware (trumpet). This is certainly one of the best discs McClinton has make! In fact, it’s a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Eliza Neals – Sweet Or Mean (Self-produced): Singer/shouter/Detroiter Eliza Neals has eight previous releases and the disc offers five new songs written by her. She has been compared to Janis Joplin and Etta James and really opens up on each song. Expect some scorch marks! Her band features Pop Chubby (guitar), Dave Keys (B3, piano, Wurlitzer), Chris Gambaro-Vega (bass) and John Medeiros Jr (drums). It’s a rocker in the best Detroit fashion! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.