New Blues Review 5-11-2024

Corey Harris – Chicken Man (Bloos Records) 

Bio – “Corey Harris is one of blues’ most faithful contemporary griots. Tracing the music back to its African roots, he has trekked all over the world to share these stories in song and in 2007 was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship Genius grant for unearthing and sharing that rich, connected history. Harris got his start as a street musician in New Orleans; he’s lived in Cameroon, West Africa, for a year and has toured extensively in North America, Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean, East and West Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In the 1990s Corey Harris became one of the leading lights of the acoustic blues revival. Along with Keb’ Mo’ and Guy Davis, he discovered his muse in pre-war, acoustic blues, listening to artists like Son House and Reverend Gary Davis. “I see tradition as something that isn’t back there,” he told Steven Rosen in the Denver Post, “but is with us. It’s something you have to nurture—it’s something you wear on your heart.” Despite his identification as a blues artist, Harris has refused to be confined to a single category. With each new album, he adds fresh ingredients, drawing from New Orleans jazz and African drum circles. “Corey Harris has earned substantial critical acclaim,” noted Steve Huey in All Music Guide, “as one of the few contemporary bluesmen able to channel the raw, direct emotion of acoustic Delta blues without coming off as an authenticity-obsessed historian. ”

Review – I always get hopeful when Corey puts out a new album. His first two CDs (Between Midnight And Day and Fish Ain’t Bitin) are some of the best contemporary Blues with a nod to the greats that I have seen in many years. His guitar chops are lesson or window into Son House, Muddy Waters, and other legends of the blues. But Corey is not one dimension at all, he can cover African Music, Reggae and everything in-between. This CD kind of sums up his career in music, there are some traditional approached songs, some banjo but also some reggae/African music and just music that Corey can create. CD starts off with a New Orleans feel tune, “Chicken Man”. Corey’s band is so talented with Cvilles own Chris Peanut Whitley on Keys, Teresa Jones on Bass, Paul Dudley on Drums, and Gordon Saxman Jones on tenor Sax. The the band goes into the second song on the Album, “Ain’t Going Back No More”. Great contemporary tune that with some great lyrics that looks at injustices like many of Corey’s songs. Other notables for me are “Jahtigui”, “Jim Crow Joe” and “Blues Came To Texas” but I think my favorite on this CD is “Money Hungry”,  listen here. I will give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+++ on Music Content.”

Toronzo Cannon – Shut Up & Play (Alligator) 

Bio – “Toronzo Cannon was born in Chicago on February 14, 1968, and grew up in the shadows of the notoriously tough Robert Taylor Homes. Theresa’s Lounge, one of the city’s most famous South Side blues clubs, was close by. As a child, Cannon would stand on the sidewalk outside the club’s door, soaking up the live blues pouring out, while trying to sneak a glance inside at larger-than-life bluesmen like Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. He also heard plenty of blues records growing up in his grandfather’s home, and listened to soul, R&B and contemporary rock on the radio.  Cannon’s sister gifted him his first guitar at age 22, and his natural talent enabled him to quickly master the instrument. Although his initial focus was reggae, he found himself increasingly drawn to the blues. “It was dormant in me. But when I started playing the blues, I found my voice and the blues came pouring out.” He absorbed sounds, styles and licks from Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Hound Dog Taylor, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, J.B. Hutto, Lil’ Ed Williams and others. Although influenced by many, Cannon’s biting, stinging guitar sound is all his own.  From 1996 through 2002, Cannon played as a sideman for Tommy McCracken, Wayne Baker Brooks, L.V. Banks and Joanna Connor. But he was determined to prove himself. In 2001, while continuing to work as a hired-gun guitarist, he formed his own band, The Cannonball Express. By 2003, he was working exclusively as a band leader. His first three albums—2007’s My Woman (self-released), 2011’s Leaving Mood (Delmark) and 2013’s Blues Music Award-nominated John The Conqueror Root (Delmark)—document his rise from new kid on the block to promising up-and-comer. ”

Review – Toronzo is the real deal, really reminds me of Buddy Guy in his early career. Incredible voice, screaming guitar and real skill on the 6 string. Band consist of Brian Quinn on Bass, Cole DeGenova on Keys, Jason Edwards on Drums and Mathew Skoller on Harmonica (My Woman Loves me Too Much). Incredible lyrics all written by Toronzo. Most of this album is running at 110 mph, big energy and I bet would be amazing in person. Notables for me are “had To Go Through It To Get It” (a gospel feeling song), “Guilty”, “My Woman Loves me Too Much” and “Shut Up An Play”. I think my favorite on this CD is “Got Me By The Short Hairs” a whitty song about fatherhood,  listen here. I will give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.

Gerald McClendon – Down At The Juke Joint (Delta Roots Records) 

Bio – “Gerald, known in Chicago as the “Soulkeeper.” One of the most reminiscent and versatile soul, R&B, singer/songwriter/performer in the recording industry. Gerald McClendon has graced the stage to sellout crowds to practically all the major entertainment venues throughout the Midwest area. In addition, his unique performance has allowed him to captivate audiences internationally in locations such as Asia and Sidney, Australia. If you love R&B Soul music, you’ll truly fall in love with Gerald McClendon and his extraordinary style of performing R&B standards such as classic soul music and sounds of Motown, Stax and Atlantic records. He draws from the everlasting era of artist such as Ottis Redding, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Chi-Lites, Stevie Wonder and even songs of the Frank Sinatra jazz era. Gerald McClendon’s love for music screams out loud with his passion and love of entertaining his audiences.”

Review – Wow what a voice!! Gerald might not be what I would call a full out Bluesman, but he can certainly belt out the blues. This CD is kind of a mixture of Blues, Soul and Beach Music. His vocals are magic through out the album. Band is big, so I won’t list them all but they are so tight and really lay down the blanket for Gerald’s voice. Notables for me are “Back Where You Belong”, “Talking Smack” and “I’ll Be In Your Corner”. I think my favorite on this CD is “House Ain’t A Home” probably the strongest Blues tune on this CD,  listen here. I will give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.

Derrick Dove And The Peacekeepers – Rough Time (Blue Voodoo) 

Bio – “Southern rock is the order of the day with Rough Time by Derreck Dove and The Peacekeepers. Following up their inaugural 2018 album with this southern fried set of new tunes, Dove and his band have been road warriors promoting themselves for the past five-plus years.He’s from Tifton, GA, and at 10 years of age was drumming in his dad’s oldies band.  A love of the blues became his passion and he acted on that and formed this band. Dove is lead singer and guitarist and it’s Jamie Richardson on drums, Don Hill III on bass, and Jonathan “JT” Thomas on keys. Guests are Shane Cannon on harp, La’Chelsea King on backing vocals, Harry King on sax and Chuck Hutcheson on trumpet and baritone sax.”

Review – If you like Blues/Rock with a Little Punk thrown in, this is your CD. Derrick has that monster, road worn voice and big power chords on the guitar. Derrick even has a Country side as shown with his song “Farm In Tennessee. The CD is journey of Derrick through Rock, Blues, Country, Ballets, it’s got it all. Really love his voice but also the flow of the CD is genius. Notables are “Blindsided”, “Sweet Sadie Mae”, “Sunday Coming Down” and “When Did I Get Old” but I think my favorite on this CD is “Rough Time” a tribute to people that he has lost over Covid,  listen here. I will give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.

Reverend Freakchild – Bare Bones (Treated And Released) 

Bio – “In the tradition of such Holy Blues Reverends as Reverend Gary Davis – such is the irreverent Reverend Freakchild.  The Rev. primarily performs solo acoustic these days but has also recently recorded with some amazing musicians including Chris Parker, Hugh Pool, Mark Karan, Melvin Seals, Jay Collins and Grammy nominated G. Love, and The Reverend Shawn Amos. Check out the latest album of the finest Rev originals, “Songs of Beauty for Ashes of Realization”  The Rev. has served as a member and featured soloist of the Metro Mass Gospel Choir performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall and the Town Hall Theater. The Rev. also spent 3 years off-off-off Broadway singing blues and spirituals on Sundays at Tobacco Road, the now defunct NYC hippie hangout replete with drug addicts, hookers and music freaks. The Rev has played in many bands in the past including the psychedelic jam band Bananafish, the experimental A-tonal Rock Band ‘Jim’, The Neptune Ensemble, The Soul Miners (w/ guitar virtuoso Matt Rae), The Lucky Devils, The Davenport, The Lost Get Back Boogie Band, and The Cosmic All-Stars touring internationally.  The Rev’s music has been featured in many TV programs and commercials, and also national radio advertising campaigns.  He grew up in Hawaii, holds a degree in philosophy and religion from Northeastern University in Boston and now currently resides in Colorado as an ordained Dharmacharya with a Master of Divinity Degree from Naropa University.  He continues to perform and preach proclaiming, “Music is my religion. Through song I seek transcendence!”

Review – This is a nice Acoustic Album with a Great Voice and a Resonator Guitar! Great whitty lyrics, persusive guitar makes this a very fun Sunday Afternoon album around the house. Nice having this simplified album to review this week, really enjoyed the change of pace. In the CD pack, there is a bonus CD of the Reverend talking about the blues and live performances on the radio stations across the south. Notables on this CD for me are “Dial It In”, “Skyflower” and “Keep On Trucking” but I think my favorite on this CD is “Hippy Bluesman Blues”,  listen here. I will give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.



Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program