New Blues Review 10-24-23
Blackburn Brothers – Soulfunkin’ Blues (Electro-Fi) – Canadian based Soul/Blues super group has just released their next CD “Soulfunkin’ Blues”. The Blackburn Brothers include artists Duane (lead vocals, organ, piano, vocoder), Brooke (guitar, bass, background vocals), Cory (drums percussion, background vocals), Robert (guitar, background vocals), and cousin Nathan (bass guitar). The band has already racked up awards such as the Maple Blues Award for BEST NEW BAND in 2010, and a JUNO nomination for BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR in 2016. This new album is a super funk Blues exploration, this band is the real deal. Their family legacy that began with Elias Earls, an enslaved man born in Kentucky in 1792 who escaped slave owners and found freedom in Canada. The Blackburn brothers’ music is authentic and always about a message of history, freedom, legacy, family, Black unity, and love. The whole CD gives the feeling of 70’s Soul music when the line between Soul and Blues was a bit smaller than it is now. Duane Blackburn’s voice is so smooth and silky, you could listen to him singing anything and making it great. “Bobby’s Blues” is just an example of the cool Funk, Blues and Jazziness that this group can put forward, the piano solo is so nice. “She’s a Heartbreaker”, “Won’t You Let Me Go” and “I Don’t Ever Want To Be Alone” are the straight ahead blues tunes on this album. I think my favorite on this CD is “Sister Rosa”, a Neville Brothers tune, here is the live version, listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.
The Dig 3 – Damn The Rent (Self Produced) – Dig 3 is a real Blues trio that keeps the original Blues alive and well. An elite trio featuring the vocals and guitar of Andrew Duncanson of Kilborn Alley Blues Band, harmonicist Ronnie Shellist, and all-round multi-instrumentalist and one-man-band Gerry Hundt, previously a vital cog for Nick Moss and Corey Dennison, to name a couple has released their next CD “Damn The Rent”. A real old school journey of Blues, Juke Joints, Whiskey and Cigarette Smoke. First song of the CD is this cool Bo Diddley Beat tune “Take a Ride”, vocals and harmonica play with a call response technique that really feels great. “Coconut Curry Dance” takes on a Caribbean feel but still staying very bluesy, Cajun feel. The album focuses on the Vocals and Harp leads, not much guitar which is just fine for genre of Blues. I think my favorite on this CD is “Red-Tailed Hawks”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Jason Ricci & The Bad Kind – Behind The Veil (Gulf Coast Records) This is another Musician that all true Blues Fans knows of, Jason Ricci. Harmonica Master with a checkered life that resembles the old Blues guys from the 40’s, a few problems with substances, jail time and major life breakups with depression. But the man can sure play a harmonica. Ricci has appeared as a guest harmonica player on albums with Johnny Winter, Ana Popovic, Joe Louis Walker, Cedric Burnside, Walter Trout, Mike Zito, JP Soars, Nick Moss, Peter Karp, Nick Curran, The Mannish Boys, Too Slim and The Tail Draggers, Walter Trout and many many more. Ricci has toured or professionally played shows with John Fohl, The Iguanas, Damon Fowler, Pappa Mali, Walter Trout, Nick Moss, JP Soars, Mike Zito, Eric Johanson, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Anders Osborne, Joe Krown and more. Jason Ricci is one of the most influential, recorded, celebrated, interviewed and famous harmonica players working in the world today. So this is a CD that really showcases Jason’s harmonica ability and the strength of his band but kind of loses its flow of a musical project. The first tune “Casco Bay” is this weird sea tune that is not Blues. The rest of the album has a pretty good blues feel with some strong tunes including “5-10-15”, “Shipwreck”, “Ain’t She Fine” and “Why Don’t We Sleep On It”. Jason’s voice is not the best to my ears, so luckily he does have some guests singing on this one. I think my favorite on this CD is “St. James Infirmary”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 7 on Music Content.
Dave Keller – It’s Time To Shine (Tastee Tone) – Dave Keller is a musician from Vermont that has taken the Blues by the Horn and has put out his 11th album, “Its Time To Shine”. He’s earned three Blues Music Award nominations for Best Soul Blues Album of the Year (2014, 2019, 2021). He won the International Blues Challenge’s Best Self-Produced Album Award (2012). He and his band tour constantly, performing at top festivals and venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. Dave has a great voice and wonderful guitar skills. “Waiting For The Sunrise” has a wonderful strong guitar riff that is the foundation for the tune. “I Wanna Go Back To Memphis” has that Delbert McClinton feel, Dave’s voice is so clean and strong. “The First Time With You” is a gospely song that again showcases Dave’s Voice. I think my favorite on this CD is “Full measure of Pleasure”, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Ghalia Volt – Shout Sister Shout (Ruf) – A fairly new name to me in the Blues Genre, Ghalia is the definition of a Blues Journeyman (Well Woman). Starting in her home land of Brussels as a Blues street musician, one woman band, to saving enough money to move to the US to explore the home of the Blues. First landing in New Orleans, then to Mississippi to record her first CD at Dickinson Brother’s recording studio. Ghalia shows an embrace of the Hill Country Sound and still putting her own spin on the music. Often playing a cigarbox guitar, she can lay it down like no other. No one woman approach this time for the new album as drummer Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Social Distortion), keyboardist Ben Alleman (Dr. John), and Catching himself (guitar) would lend their talents to Shout Sister Shout!’s production. I was really looking forward to it and really wanted to like it but it just didn’t work for me. I think there is a real disconnect between Ghalia’s voice and her music. I think with this genre of Blues you need some gravel to your voice or a scream in there from time to time. There are some good tunes that have a lot of promise like, “Dog Ya Around” or “Hop On A Ride” but overall it missing the mark for me. I hope others enjoy this CD better than I. I think my favorite on this CD is “Can’t Have It All”, listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and a 6 on Music Content.
This is an added bonus to this week’s Blues Review. I will add a new video or someone new to me or just a new song to be that is outstanding. If you want to suggest a new Blues Video then please send me your suggestion. This is Judith Hill and I think she is just wonderful and made my day when I discovered her.