New Blues Review 5-2-23

Ivan Neville – Touch My Soul (Funk Garage Mascot) – From the New Orleans Musical Genius Family of the Nevilles, Ivan is the son of the Great Aaron Neville and has been rooted into the music of New Orleans. This new release is Ivan’s first solo project in over 20 years. Ivan composed and recorded the piano and created the drum tracks then brought in some of his talented friends to add their magic to this project including Aaron Neville, Cyril Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Trombone Shorty, Dave Shaw, Ben Jaffe, Charlie Gabriel, and Doyle Bramhall. “Greatest Place On Earth” is a cool funky tune about New Orleans with Trombone Shorty, Ben Jaffe, and Charlie Gabriel. Ivan has such a great voice and the song writing is entertaining and meaningful for our times. “Touch My Soul” is another Funky song including vocals from Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Trombone Shorty, and Dave Shaw about the racial divisions in our country. “Blessed” is a gospel type song that is slow with very nice keys through out. I am not a great fan of this one, it sounds very digital and multi tracked without a life, but if I have to pick a favorite, it would be “Dance Music Love” with Doyle Bramhall II on guitar. Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 1 for Blues and an 5 for music content.

Jaye Hammer – Be Happy (ECKO) – Jeremy “Jay’e Hammer” George was born in Friars Point, Mississippi (the oldest town on the Mississippi River). Jaye Hammer has been around the music industry since he was 14 years old and this is his 9th album as what he self describes as Southern Soul music. Very remising of 90’s soul/beach music, good feeling tunes that will get you swaying. Jaye’s got that wide range voice that one would expect from a church singer. Voice is great, backing vocals are great, lyrics are funny at times, but not a big fan of genre, so it’s hard to find a favorite so just picking “It’s Friday”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 1 for Blues and a 5 for music content.

Rudy De Anda – Closet Botanist (Karma Chief) – From Rudy’s Bandcamp webpage: Rudy’s previous releases have grown synonymous with California sunshine. He was born in Los Angeles and spent most of his formative years in Long Beach. “People often tell me my music reminds them of the beach and the sun,” Rudy said of his older songs. Closet Botanist isn’t a total departure from Rudy’s beachy, psych-rock roots, but it does sound more mature. “These songs are personal to me. More than ever before, I was able to get to the point and get some things off my chest. It’s about lost love and lost friendships – it’s more visceral than any music I’ve made before.” Another CD that I am at a loss of words trying to describe or even listen to, so here is a sampling of Rudy’s music on this CD, “June Gloom”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 0 for Blues and a 2 for music content.

The Ironsides – Changing Light (Colemine) – Cinematic Soul, not sure how to even define this. Inspired by the soundtracks and library music of European composers during the 60’s and 70’s, the Ironsides set out to create a collection of lush songs that evoke a diverse range of feelings, emotions, and memories. I find it instrumental music that could be found on the soundtracks of 60’s foreign films somewhere in between classical music, soundscapes and surf music. I am having trouble just reviewing this, so this is from a review online, “The Changing Light evokes strong imagery of an open road, a breathtaking view, and scenes of a vast landscape begging to be explored. Cruise up the coast, where sweeping orchestral arrangements rise and fall with the tide. As you head North, the countryside opens to an undeniable groove. Tremolo-soaked guitar tones grow on the vines, and timeless, soulful bass lines flow like wine. In higher altitudes, French horns and trumpets soar like eagles. A river below carries bellowing cello tones through a mountain pass into an expansive canyon. Down in the desert, fuzzed-out electric guitar cuts through the dry heat and leaves the listener thirsty for more”. I don’t get it. I am sure many love this music, but it is hard to find a favorite as it is hard to listen to, but here is the title song, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a -2 for Blues and a 3 for music content.

Bobby Harden – Bridge of Love (BQE Records) – Bobby Harden, a seasoned soul/blues singer has just released his newest CD “Bridge Of Love” with an all new band and record company. Bobby Harden was part of the star-studded Blues Brothers Band, being one of two singers who was featured in support of Stax legend, Eddie Floyd. In addition to Floyd, Harden has shared the stage with bonafide legends of Soul including Solomon Burke, Ben E. King, Robert Cray and Delbert McClinton. His voice reminds me of a young Joe Louis Walker. “One Tribe” sounds right out of the 70’s crime TV like Shaft or Baretta. “One Night of the Week” is another with a 70’s feel with some great horns and of course Bobby’s amazing voice. If you like a great voice with music from the 70’s Soul Feel, then there is lots of great stuff here but I think my favorite is “Bridge of Love”. Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 1 for Blues and a 7 for music content.

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