New Blues News – 8/4/2015
New Blues News – 8/4/2015
Billy Iuso – Overstanding (Self-produced): New Orleans born and based vocalist / songwriter / guitarist / keyboardist Iuso is forging his own way with a strong foundation from his affiliation with the NOLA heritage. According to John Swenson of Offbeat, this disc shows “his growth as a musician that this much firepower could appear on an album that stays resolutely in service to the song.” The guests include Art and Ivan Neville, George Porter Jr, and Jimmy Carpenter (sax – remember when he lived in Cville?). Seven of the ten songs here are Iuso originals and all have a soulful core. Iuso’s sound is “big and easy” and keeps you frame of reference on the “chill” side, at least on the sound side – emotionally, the stretch is wider. Click here to listen to a sample from this disc.
Barry Levenson – The Visit (Rip Cat): Guitarist Levenson has been performing blues and jazz for a number years. He has backed up such performers as Big Mama Thornton, Percy Mayfield and JD Nicholson as well as leading his own groups and he has recorded several discs as a leader. This particular disc features eight original compositions and four classics. Levenson is supported by Hank Van Sickle (bass), Mike Sandberg (drums), Mike Thompson (keys), and Paul Krawzak (horns) with Jay Edward (harmonica on two cuts). Levenson and Billy Price handle vocals on half of the tracks. Levenson is a strong blues and jazzy blues guitarist and, in truth, these are the most effective tunes. Click here for a sample from this disc.
Bob Malone – Mojo Deluxe (Delta Moon): Veteran singer / songwriter / keyboard player Malone, having most recently served as John Fogerty’s keyboard player, is stepping out on his own playing his blues/rock with some selected blue soul for good measure. He wrote or co-wrote ten of the twelve songs here and the remaining tunes are from Muddy Waters and Ray Charles. His band includes Mike Baird on drums (with Rich Zukor or Kenny Aronoff subbing on one song each), Jeff Dean, Ritt Henn or Tim Lefebvre (bass), Bob DeMarco (guitar) and a few other guests. The sound is polished and tight supporting Malone’s slightly coarse, yet soulful voice with just the right amount of power. And the man does rock! Click here for a promo about this disc.
Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys – Live At The Big Bull (Nevermore): Live performances taken from three different gigs recorded between 2012 and 2015 and it is clear everybody was having a good time! The band features Reverend Raven (who wrote 3 of the ten songs) on guitar and vocals, PT Pedersen on bass, Danny Moore on keys, Benny Rickun and Westside Andy Linderman alternating on harmonica and a guest shot with Big Al Groth on sax. In addition to the original tunes, there are some classics like Elmore James’ “Hawaiian Boogie” and Sleepy John Estes’ “Diving Duck Blues” with the accent on “party”. They do a nice cover of Bobby Rush’s “Chicken Heads” as well. It’s a rockin’ good time! Click here to hear a live performance by the group. Note: this song is not on the above disc.
Westside Andy – Blues Just Happen (Self-produced): Journeyman harp player / vocalist Westside Andy Linderman is a stone solid blues player who clearly intends to keep the Chicago and jump styles alive and well! His big tone and really great technique will surely ring the bell for any fan of the amplified harp. Most of the songs included were written by the likes of Little Walter, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker or more recent players like Billy Flynn (guitar & vocals on this disc) and a pair of originals by the leader. In addition to Flynn, other band members include Barrelhouse Chuck (keys & vocals), Steve Dougherty (drums) and Dave Wood (bass) and everyone is in great form. On top of that, this is a live gig, recorded in September, 2014. Absolutely, check this out! Click here to listen to a pair of songs from this disc.