New Blues News – 9/15/2020

New Blues News – 9/15/2020

Colin Lake – Forces Of Nature (Splice): “Rarely does an artist in his prime withdraw seemingly at once from the work that defines him.  But when Colin Lake stepped away from performing at the end of 2017, that is exactly what the singer / songwriter had done.  After two albums, many hundreds of shows and nearly a decade of life in New Orleans, Lake and his wife decided to buy a sailboat, sell their house and pursue a completely different dream than the one they had been fortunate enough to share up to that point.  The pair were no strangers to leaps of faith – after meeting serendipitously at Louis Armstrong International Airport nine years earlier, they wasted little time shacking up and beginning a life together. In the years that followed, Lake plied his craft as a songwriter, performer and bandleader. The release of 2011’s The Ones I Love planted him firmly in the colorful ecosystem of New Orleans music, introducing him to an audience who welcomed his soulful delivery and refreshing approach to songwriting and lap-steel guitar. Lake’s knack for delivering well crafted original tunes with a deep groove translated nicely to the big stage and propelled he and his band to slots at festivals like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. But by 2017 a change in the national mood coincided with the unexpected end of a chapter in Lake’s story.  The year was marked by the death of his longtime keyboard player and friend Marc Adams.  It also saw the loss of Harris Rea, the man who signed him to his first record deal two years earlier.” Fast forward to the current release. “Forces of Nature – a high energy, blue-eyed soul number draped in shimmering electric guitar and melodic piano riffs and ladened with earthly metaphors for the cosmic connection shared by Lake and his wife for so many years.  And what could be more apropos than a nod to the very forces that had so literally impacted their lives over the past several years and those creating such drastic changes to the world they had been observing so viscerally.  At once timeless and timely, the album’s eight songs deliver a dose of prescriptive optimism for these uncertain times and the beaming exaltation of a love affair for the ages.” ( Mellow and heartfelt. Click here to listen to Alajuela from this release.

Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin Records): “Peter Parcek is an award-winning blues guitarist hailing from Boston. Parcek’s unique “soul guitar” style blends the very best of blues, both ancient & modern…. Peter Parcek’s daring, incendiary and soulful style is a distinctive hybrid. He weaves rock, gypsy-jazz, country, folk, and blues– especially blues– into a tapestry of melody, harmony and daredevil solos that push those styles to their limits without sacrificing the warmth of his own personality. Peter calls his approach “soul guitar,” an appellation that alludes to his playing’s depth of feeling and character, as well as its deepest roots in classic American music. But Peter’s sensibilities are equally attuned to the future.” ( This release offers several originals and Parcek’s remodeling songs ranging from Sleepy John Estes “Everybody Oughta Make A Change” and Pleasant Joseph’s “Life’s A One Way Ticket” to Dylan and Robert Hunter’s “Beyond Here Lies Nothin”, Peter Green’s “The Supernatural”, Lennon and McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby” and Lou Reed’s “Waiting For The Man” topped off with three of his own compositions. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to one or all of the songs on this disc.

Bette Smith – The Good The Bad And The Bette (Ruf): “Wild rock & soul singer Bette Smith traces elements of her life-affirming new album ‘The Good, The Bad and The Bette’ to her childhood in rough Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Musically, it connects to the gospel music she heard in church and the soul music on the corners…. This injection of soul music and gospel into rock & roll powered a breakout in 2017’s ‘Jetlagger,’… seems to be the base of the music, but the rock is clearly in the forefront on this release. ( Smith wrote three songs on this disc. I regret that I am not able to find a sample song from this release.

Sunnysiders – The Bridges (Dancing Bear): “Croatian blues duo is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a new, fourth album welcoming a number of Croatian and international guests. The winners of 2010 Croatian Blues Challenge and semifinalists of 2011 IBC, Sunnysiders once again demonstrate their unique style of songwriting, combining their original two-part singing with powerful sound of their guests as Manu Lanvin, Norman Beaker Trio and many others.” ( The duo, Roll and Hrepa, shares vocals  and Hrepa plays guitar, bass and harp with numerous others adding backup. Straightforward and solid singing from Rola. Their style is certainly bluesy with nice guitar and solid declarative singing by the duo. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this disc.

Various Artists – 2020 Blues Sampler (Alligator): This is a five song sampler that includes “I Believe I Got Off Cheap” (Chris Cain), “Living In A Burning House” (Selwyn Birchwood), “Uncivil War” (Shemekia Copeland), “The Longer That I Live” (Curtis Salgado) and “What The Hell” (Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite) all of which are being released this year. Each the players have been active for some time for Alligator. Click here to listen to samples for the first four songs.


Professor Bebop

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