New Blues Review 10/31/23
Joyann Parker – Roots (Hopeless Romantic Records) A powerful singer of blues, soul, Americana and more, Joyann Parker has released her 3rd album and has already reached the #10 on the Billboard Charts. Wisconsin-born singer-songwriter-musician has scored countless awards for her take on the Roots/Blues with accolades for #11 ALBUM BILLBOARD BLUES CHART, #1 ALBUM NACC CHART, 2021 BLUES BLAST AWARDS NOMINEE – BEST CONTEMPORARY BLUES ALBUM “OUT OF THE DARK”, 2019/2021 MIDWEST COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEE – BEST FEMALE VOCALIST AND TRIBUTE ACT, 2018 BLUES BLAST MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEE – SEAN COSTELLO RISING STAR AWARD. 2018 ROOTS MUSIC REPORT – #1 BLUES ALBUM, #1 SOUL BLUES ALBUM “HARD TO LOVE” , 2018 LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE TOP 50 ALBUMS “HARD TO LOVE”, 2016 INDEPENDENT BLUES AWARDS NOMINEE – BEST NEW ARTIST, 2016 MINNESOTA BLUES SOCIETY BEST SELF-PRODUCED ALBUM, 2015 INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE QUARTER-FINALIST to just name a few. From the cover I was expecting an acoustic singer songwriter melodic music, the first song, “Roots” is a a rocking Blues Song that really gets the album a great start. “Forsaken” is the other one that has this distorted slide guitar that sounds so great. Parker does have here share of ballads on this CD but the whole album is very diverse with some hints of Gospel, Country, Blues and Pop. The common connection is her great voice that can go from sweet to growly in the same song. I think my favorite on this CD is an island feel tune “Juxtaposition”, listen here. I will probably give this an 8 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Mathias Lattin – Up Next (Up Next) Mathias Lattin is an emerging young Texas guitarist and product of the acclaimed Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts. He’s heavily influenced by music legends B.B. King, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Albert Collins, and Wes Montgomery. Mathias’s love for music is reflected in the soulful blues, jazz-inflected chords, and funky bass lines. Trained as a jazz guitarist, he incorporates that knowledge in his playing and songwriting. The grandson of NBA Hall Of Fame legend and two-time NCAA All American, David “Big Daddy” Lattin, Mathias Lattin chose to bring his talent to the stage and not the basketball court. The decision has already paid off. At 20 years old, Mathias Lattin won 1st place at the 2023 International Blues Challenge in the band category and was awarded Best Guitarist by the judges. Mathias is a special musician and very refreshing to these ears. Reminds me of an early Robert Cray before he got so political at his concerts. Great voice, great lyrics and wonderful lead guitar all done by Mr. Lattin. Jazzy BB King type licks with story telling in every song, each note, each guitar riff, each phrasing seems to belong. I really like every song on this CD, but “Who’s Been Loving On You”, “Party” and “2nd Degree” stand out as superior tunes. I think my favorite on this CD is “After Party”, a very short Kenny Wayne Sheppard type instrumental, listen here. I will probably give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.
Bob Margolin – Thanks (Vizz Tone) What’s not to like about Bob Margolin, amazing musician that has paved his way in the hearts of many Blues Fans and celebrating 50 years since Muddy Waters’ asked him up on stage to play, Bob releases yet another CD of Blues for the Soul. Margolin started playing guitar in 1964, and his first appearance on record was with Boston psychedelic band The Freeborne, and their 1967 album Peak Impressions. Margolin was a backing musician for Muddy Waters from 1973 to 1980, performing with Waters and The Band in The Last Waltz. As a solo recording artist, he has recorded albums for Alligator Records, Blind Pig, Telarc and his own Steady Rollin’ record label. In 1977 he appeared on Johnny Winter’s album Nothin’ But The Blues along with Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, and others. In 1978, he made a guest appearance on Big Joe Duskin’s debut album, Cincinnati Stomp, on Arhoolie Records. In 1979, he made a guest appearance, along with Pinetop Perkins, on The Nighthawks album, Jacks & Kings. In 1994, he appeared with Jerry Portnoy as guest musicians on the album, Ice Cream Man by John Brim. It received a Blues Music Award (formerly W. C. Handy Award) nomination as the best ‘Traditional Blues Album of the Year’. “Thanks” is an album recorded by and played by Bob, every sound is made by Bob. I am not a big fan of his voice, but the instrumentation of this CD is top notch. Bob plays around with some big name songs like “Who” by Willie Dixon, “Hard Working Man” by Jimmy Rogers and “Shape” by Robbie Robertson. I think this was a remembrance recording of the work of Bob and who he has shared the stage with over the years. I think my favorite on this CD is “For You My Love”, listen here. I will probably give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Susan Tedeschi – Just Won’t Burn (Fantasy/Concord)
Tedeschi learned how to play blues guitar in Boston from musician Tim Gearan. She formed the Susan Tedeschi Band in 1993, with Adrienne Hayes, Jim Lamond and Mike Aiello. In December 1995, the band released Better Days to regional audiences. The 1997 recording sessions produced by Tom Hambridge were acquired by Richard Rosenblatt for his indie label Tone-Cool Records. The result is the first album released in February 1998 under the sole name of Susan Tedeschi; Just Won’t Burn, featuring young guitarist Sean Costello, received very positive reviews, particularly from critics and blues publications. Tedeschi was the first artist to play Michele Clark’s first Sunset Sessions in March 1998 at the Marriott Hotels & Resorts in the United States Virgin Islands. In 1999, Tedeschi played several dates in the all-woman traveling festival Lilith Fair organized by Sarah McLachlan. Throughout 1998 and 1999, she extensively toured the United States and drew larger crowds. In 2010, Tedeschi and Trucks announced a hiatus for their solo bands, and formed a new group called Tedeschi Trucks Band. The group performed at a number of festivals including Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, Fuji Rock Festival and others. Unlike their previous collaborative project – Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi’s Soul Stew Revival – the Tedeschi Trucks Band focuses on writing and performing original material and is the focus of both Trucks and Tedeschi for the foreseeable future. So this is a re-release, 25 years later after Susan’s incredible break through album. She does add 5 unreleased tunes that makes this an album to buy. “Looking For Answers”, “Waste of Time” and “Voodoo Woman” are Album Outtakes which is fun and seems more relaxed jamming. Then two live versions of “Looking For Answers” and “Just Won’t Burn” from the Beacon Theater from 2022. I think my favorite on this CD is “Friar’s Point”, listen here. I will probably give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.
Marcel Smith – From My Soul (Little Village) Combining soul, gospel and R&B, Smith’s voice is smooth and alluring, piquing interest with the anticipation that listeners just might find a secret and comforting message being sung expressly for them. It’s the believability factor, and Smith’s got it. You can really hear Marcel channel the great Soul Voices of years gone like Aaron Neville, Sam Cooke, Ben E. King, O.V. Wright and Tyrone Davis. If your looking for a straight up Blues Album, keep on moving. But if your looking for a great voice, amazing musicians and just a good feel this might be the one for you. There are a couple of Blues Tunes on this CD, “Freedom Blues” and “Drunk”. The songs mostly have Blues influences but falls somewhere between Gospel, Pop and Beach Music. Don’t get me wrong, Marcel can really sing. Such a great voice, his guitar playing is pretty good too but I can’t put this into a Blues Album. I think my favorite on this CD is a Bonus Track where Marcel talks about his Mother Passing and sings a Bee Gees tune, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart which I think blows the Bee Gees version out of the water, this is the live version listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.