New Blues Review 10-10-23
The Groove Drew – Blues From The Bayou (Sound Business Services) – The Groove Krewe is a Louisiana based recording group led by Rex Pearce, Nelson Blanchard, and Dale Murray. They play and write mostly Blues and Soul Music and typically work with a different featured artist on each project. Jonathon Boogie Long is the feat. artist for this newest album, a great blues singer and guitarist that has shared the stage with BB King, Joe Bonamassa, Gregg Allman, ZZ Top, etc. He is in the LA Music Hall of Fame. I love this band, very New Orleans feel and such a tight group of musicians. Jonathon has an amazing voice and can really play the guitar also. Some of the songs are very typical blues structure like, “Lightnin’ Done Struck Again” and “Empty Pocket Blues“. But then they can make the song structure a little more complicated like “Eclipsed by Love” and “Dangerous Curves”. The Horn section really makes this album cohesive. I think my favorite on this CD is “Ain’t No If About It”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
E G Kight – Sticks & Strings (Blue South) – Kight released her 10th blues album, STICKS & STRINGS which again features the EG Kight Trio in a simple, acoustic setting. EG and her “boys,” as she affectionately calls them – Gary Porter and Ken Wynn – offer a wide variety of blues/roots music with these songs, nine of which were written or co-written by Kight. Kight has an amazing voice and I love they way she approached this album with a very simplistic backing tracks. She could have gone the big band route but this album seems more intimate. But with that, the songs seem a little too slow over all, lots of ballads. I like the song “Changes Coming Down”, has some nice slide accents in the song. The first song on the CD, “Talk To Me”, is a strong blues song with harmonica and harmonies that sound so rich. I think my favorite on this CD is “My Baby’s Hiding Something”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Chad Rupp & The Sugar Roots – The Devil Won’t Get You (Lightning in a Bottle) – Based out of Portland Oregon, Chad Rupp has put together a great group of musicians for his second CD, “The Devil Won’t Get You. Aside from Rupp on vocals and guitar, the rest of the musicians are made up of Brady T. Goss on piano, Rhodes, and Wurlitzer; Louis Pain on organ; Timmer Blakely on bass; Jimi Bott on drums and percussion; Scott Franklin on sax; Joe-Mack McCarthy on trumpet; Peter Dammon on guitar for Red Heads, Hair Dressers, And Chicks Named Tiffany; Lloyd Jones on vocals for the same title; Valyria Arnold on vocals for I’ve Been Thinking, The Devil Won’t Get You, and You’re Not My Baby; Johnny Wheels on vocals and harmonica on Blues Men In Black, and vocals on Don’t Bite The Hand – Rule #3; and Andrew Matthew, Paula Bunion, TJ Wong, and Jimi Bott on vocals for Tighten It Up. A very high energy CD except for the slow tunes, “You’re Not My Baby” and “I’ve Been Thinking Of You”. I am not crazy about Chad’s voice, it’s not bad, but not at the level of the instrumentation. There are a few tunes that I really liked, but I think my favorite song on this CD is “Don’t Bite That Hand”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 7 on Music Content.
Popa Chubby – Live A G Bluey’s Juke Joint (Gulf Coast Records) – Veteran blues guitar slinger Popa Chubby is set to release Live at G. Bluey’s Juke Joint NYC on September 8 via Gulf Coast Records. This live double CD was captured over two nights in October of 2022, at G. Bluey’s Juke Joint in Long Island City, New York. Acclaimed guitarist, singer, songwriter Popa Chubby is backed by his stellar “Beast Band,” which consists of Mike Merritt on bass (Conan O’Brien, Billy Gibbons); Mike Dimeo on keyboards (Johnny Winter, Tommy James); and Stefano Giudici on drums. Chubby has always been a character and a killer guitar player and this CD is not an exception. His tone is way over the top in a good way like on his take on “Hey Joe”. His ability to take on tunes like “Over The Rainbow” and “Halleluiah” shows what a talent he actually is. I think my favorite song on this CD is “69 Dollars”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Chris Beard – Pass It On Down (Blue Heart) – This is another artist that I am not crazy about his voice, but Chris is known for his musical pedigree. Chris Beard, the son of blues luminary Joe Beard, released his seventh studio album, Pass It On Down via Blues Heart Records on September 15th. This album not only channels the blues legacy that courses through his veins but also showcases Beard’s distinctive fusion of blues and modern R&B, often infused with infectious funk rhythms. Pass It On Down boasts a formidable lineup, featuring Chris Beard’s soulful guitar work, impassioned vocals, and an exceptional rhythm section comprised of Brother Wilson on guitar, Marvin Parker on bass, Carlton Campbell on drums, and John Tucker and Jonathan Curry on keyboards. Notable guest appearances include Johnny Rawls, Mary Ellen Haden, Richard Rodolph, Kenny Neal and his band, and, of course, Chris’s father, Joe Beard. The album’s ten tracks were produced by Chris Beard and his talented ensemble. The best songs on the album are the Funkier ones like “Who Do You think You Foolin”, “Let The Chips Fall” and “When Love Comes A Knocking”. I think my favorite and the most Bluesy song on this CD is “Bitter Baby”, listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and a 6 on Music Content.