New Blues News – 9/22/2020
Eric Johanson – Below Sea Level (Nola Blue): “Louisiana native, guitarist, singer and songwriter Eric Johanson makes his solo Nola Blue Records debut with ‘Below Sea Level’ out September 18, 2020. A long time blues protégé of Tab Benoit, he released his first album, ‘Burn It Down’ on Whiskey Bayou Records in 2017. A growing force in the blues and roots/rock scene, Eric also toured worldwide as the lead guitarist for Cyril Neville, Grammy winner Terrance Simien and has also been featured with JJ Grey and Mofro, Eric Lindell, Mike Zito, The Neville Brothers and Anders Osbourne. For Below Sea Level, Eric teamed up with Luther and Cody Dickinson and recorded the album at the famed Zebra Ranch Studios in North Mississippi Hill Country. A better match could not have been made. Johanson’s music is distinct—it’s moody, sometimes haunting and dark, blessed with groove. Visual storytelling, mind blowing guitar, and soulful, strong vocals abound on Below Sea Level. Whatever transpired in that studio with this artist’s songs and musical talents, Cody Dickinson on drums, Terrence Grayson on bass (Victor Wainwright) and Luther Dickinson’s production, summoned some kind of magic.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137822933-eric-johanson-below-sea-level-2020-hi-res.html) All of the songs are originals and stone tough music. Click here to listen to “Never Tomorrow” from this release.
Lisa Mann – Old Girl (JayRay): “Lisa Mann’s Old Girl takes you on a journey through human emotion, from the humorous to the sublime, with a tasty blend of Contemporary Blues and Americana.” (https://lisamann.bandcamp.com/album/old-girl) Her singing, music and songs are a blend of country, gospel, blues and Americana. This short set includes four original compositions and a cover of Rosetta Tharpe’s “That’s All”. And – just to keep things straight – “It’s the Monkeys or Me” is based on a true story, inspired by and dedicated to Joanne Broh and Robert Schultz.” I don’t know who they are, but Mann obviously does! The musicians are Lisa Mann (bass, vocals), Jason Thomas (guitars), with Michael Ballash and Dave Melyan alternating on drums and special guests Louis Pain (organ on two songs) and Sonny Hess, Brian Foxworth, LaRhonda Steele & Arietta Ward adding backup vocals on “Around Here”. Down to earth and solidly with a listen! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
John Nemeth – Stronger Than Strong (Nola Blue): “Nearly two decades after his debut album, The Jack of Harps, Németh returns to his roots with some low-down blues and fresh rocking tunes all delivered with his unmistakable vocal style and range for his tenth career release. Joined in the studio by his touring band, The Blue Dreamers, 19 year-old guitar prodigy Jon Hay, Matthew Wilson on bass and drummer Danny Banks all share backing vocal duties as well…. Born and raised in Boise, Idaho in 1975, Németh moved to San Francisco in 2004. He spent the next nine years working with Anson Funderburgh, Junior Watson, Elvin Bishop and more. Relocating to Memphis, Tennessee in 2013, Németh both honors and continues the rich legacy of the music scene in his adopted hometown.” (https://www.prlog.org/12832325-nola-blue-records-signs-john-nmeth.html) This is the REAL deal! The straight up rockin’ BLUES! In fact, this is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to two songs on this disc.
Bobby Rush – Rawer Than Raw (Deep Rush): “86 years old and Mississippi blues legend Bobby Rush is still trucking along. While most men his age have long since retired, Rush doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Forget Grammy Awards (he has one, nominated for four more) or Blues Music Awards (won thirteen, nominated for thirty-eight more), Rush is all about looking forward and working towards the future…. Rawer Than Raw is the follow up to Rush’s Grammy-nominated 2019 album Sitting on Top of the Blues. Featuring acoustic tributes to some of the legendary artists from his adopted home state of Mississippi such as Skip James and Robert Johnson. In addition, Rush pays tribute to Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Muddy Waters as he covers some of their best-known songs in his own inimitable style. Rawer Than Raw also boasts five Rush originals — “Down in Mississippi,” “Let Me in Your House,” “Sometimes I Wonder,” “Let’s Make Love Again,” and “Garbage Man,” all credited under his given name, Emmett Ellis, Jr.” (https://americansongwriter.com/rawer-than-raw-bobby-rush-album-interview/?fbclid=IwAR2aOqJDph7QZmHxjS8Xn58bhqKn3v9fBMLh4UoJ8-7ttt24Krj1-mtHnrQ) The music is acoustic with Rush playing guitar, harmonica and singing his heart out in the old style the is as compelling as you can find anywhere. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here to listen to “Down In Mississippi”, “Shake It For Me” and “Dust My Broom”, all of which are from this new recording.
Laura Tate – Live From El Paso (811 Gold Records): The is a live performance by singer/songwriter Laura Tate who offers her first live release and fifth release altogether. She is a straight away singer with a talky and straight ahead style. Most of the songs are covers centered on love and its pitfalls. She is accompanied by Terry Wilson (bass guitar, vocals), Teresa James (vocal), Doug Hamblin (guitar), Jeff Paris (piano, vocals),Tony Braunagel (drums), Lee Thornberg (trombone), Joe Sublett (sax) and Darrell Leonard (trumpet). Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.