New Blues Review 5-22-24

Billy Price – Person Of Interest (Little Village) 

Bio – “2016 Blues Music Award (BMA) Winner and frequent BMA nominee Billy Price first attracted national attention during his three-year association with guitarist Roy Buchanan. Price is the vocalist on two of Buchanan’s LPs, That’s What I’m Here For and Live Stock. Since then, with the Keystone Rhythm Band, the Billy Price Band, and solo projects, Billy Price has recorded and released a total of 20 albums, CDs, and DVDs. Price’s album This Time for Real, with the late Chicago soul singer Otis Clay, received a 2016 Blues Music Award in the category of best soul blues album. He received BMA nominations in 2019 (Reckoning) and 2020 (Dog Eat Dog) for best soul blues album, and in 2020, 2022, 2023, and 2024 for best male soul blues artist. He has also been nominated in 2024 for a BMA for Instrumentalist – Vocals. The Billy Price Band, based in Billy’s hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa., consists of Dave Dodd (drums), Tom Valentine (bass), Lenny Smith (guitar), Jim Britton (keyboards), Eric Spaulding (sax), and Joe Herndon (trumpet). They won the Pittsburgh City Paper Reader’s Poll in 2021 and 2022 as the top blues band in the city.”

Review – This is a great album with some Funk, Soul and Blues through out. Great vocals and the band i super solid and the writing is fabulous. Band consists Billy on vocals, Keys is Jim Pugh, Drums Tony Braunagel with many other players horns and percussion. Guitar is either Josh Sklair or Shane Theriot, and the song “Change Your Mind” with Joe Bonamassa playing. “She Checks All The Boxes”, is great lyrics with almost Beach feel to it, but really well done. “Mercy” is a slow ballad with some amazing guitar leads, other notables are “The Gift” and “Crying At The Stoplights” I my favorite by far on this CD is “Change your Mind” a song in tribute to Roy Buchanan with Joe doing a fabulous job,  listen here. I will give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.

Johnny Burgin – Ramblin’ From Coast To Coast (Straight Shooter) 

Bio – “Johnny had a bang-up year in ’23, earning a BMA Nomination for Best Traditional Blues Artist and playing 200 dates across the US, Mexico, Japan and Europe.  But if you’d told him this would be his career when he was in High School,  he wouldn’t have belived you.  Johnny grew up in Misssissippi and South Carolina and went to University of Chicago with the intention of becoming a writer.  When a friend took him out to a West Side ghetto club to hear the blues singer Tail Dragger, it was a conversion moment.  The blues came to life for Johnny and he fell headfirst into the vibrant Chicago blues scene.  Choosing the blues clubs over the library, Johnny eagerly absorbed the lessons from the blues masters who practiced their craft nightly.  By persistence and practice, Johnny gained a spot in Tail Dragger, and started gigging and recording with  traditional blues veterans like Sam Lay, Billy Boy Arnold, and Pinetop Perkins.   By the late 90s, Johnny was working regularly in Chicagoland blues clubs under his own name.  Johnny started a Monday night residency at The Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park, featuring vocalist Jimmy Burns.  The band featured other future blues notables who were also at beginning of their careers, such as Kenny Smith on drums and Martin Lang on harp, and they created quite a buzz.  They packed the club every Monday with a younger, hip crowd, as well as blues veterans stopping by to sit in such as Dave Meyers, Jesse Fortune, Barkin’ Bill, etc.  Their success led to a record deal with Delmark and the first of several European tours.”

Review – Solid Blues album, nice up tempo music and Johnny’s voice is very believable and his writing is superb for the Blues Genre. Johnny is also a triple threat, playing Guitar, Harmonica and Singing! Way too many musicians on this one to list but some special guests are John Blue Boyd on Vocals, Rae Gordon on Vocals , Dylan Bishop on Guitar , Hanna PK on Piano , Ben Levin on Piano and Jad Tariq on Guitar. Other great songs “Stepladder Blues”, ” I’m Playing Straight” and ” “I Was Right The First Time”. I think my favorite on this CD is “I Need Something Sweet”,  listen here. I will give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.

Sugaray Rayford – Human Decency (Forty Below Records) 

Bio – “Sugaray Rayford is a man with a message, a larger-than-life personality, and a voice to deliver it. Working with producer and songwriter Eric Corne, the soul-blues powerhouse has crafted an incendiary sound and narrative, contributing to an exciting new chapter in American soul music.  It’s a sound that combines classic soul melodies and funky R&B grooves with raw blues power. The pair’s first collaboration, Somebody Save Me, earned Rayford a 2020 Grammy nomination. Later that year, he won Blues Music Awards for ‘Soul Blues Male Artist’ and ‘B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.’ Rayford’s follow-up, 2022’s In Too Deep, won many awards, including the Blues Music Award for ‘Soul Blues Album of the Year’.”

Review – I was looking forward to this album as I have heard Sugaray doing vocals on another album, I was not disappointed. Not really a Blues Album to me, more Soul and Funk but it sure is good. Some of my favorites here is the very Bluesy song “Aha”, and the two funky songs “Hanky Panky Time” and I think my favorite on this CD is “Ain’t That A Man”,  listen here. I will give this an 8 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.”Review – I was looking forward to this album as I have heard Sugaray doing vocals on another album, I was not disappointed. Not really a Blues Album to me, more Soul and Funk but it sure is good. Some of my favorites here is the very Bluesy song “Aha”, and the two funky songs “Hanky Panky Time” and “Run For Cover” but I think my favorite on this CD is “Ain’t That A Man”,  listen here. I will give this an 8 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.

Celso Salim & Darryl Carriere – About Time (Wide Tracks Recordings) 

Bio – “Brazilian guitarist Celso Salim and California harmonica player Darryl Carriere have been collaborating for over two decades and are releasing their first record together. The Album features all original compositions and was produced by Mike Hightower and Celso himself. With high energy performances, Celso & Darryl deliver a powerful show that captivates audiences everywhere. Known for having great musical chemistry, they alternate on lead vocals, sing in harmony and present inspired performances featuring a soulful blend of guitar & harmonica sounds.  Celso has 6 solo albums and won five Independent Music Awards. He toured with Larry McCray, performed with Magic Slim, opened for B.B. King, Deep Purple, Canned Heat, John Hammond and most recently collaborated with guitarists Johnny Stachela (Allman Betts Band) and Artur Menezes. Celso became one of the most respected guitarists in Southern California and in 2019 won 3rd place at the IBC. Winner of the 2019 IBC’s Lee Oskar harmonica award, Darryl was recently featured at the 2nd Harp Fest along with Mitch Kashmar & RJ Micho. He performed with Corey Stevens, Preston Smith and Robbie Krieger (The Doors) and worked with drummer Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison & Steve Miller Band).”

Review – This is my favorite this week, band includes Celso Salim on Guitar and Vocals, Darryl Carriere on Harmonica and Vocals, Mike Hightower on Bass and Vocals and David Kida on Drums. Celso and Darryl are so in sync with with Guitar and Harmonica, Darryl is an amazing Harmonica Player with such amazing tone as in “Please Stop”, “Sadie” and “With My Friends”. I think my favorite on this CD is “Love On A Shelf”,  listen here. I will give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.

Chris Badnews Barnes – Badnews Travels Fast (Gulf Coast) 

Bio – “Recent Nashville transplant, Chris BadNews Barnes is a humorist, both by design and circumstance, an astonishingly accomplished artist and resurrector of the long-lost and witty genre known as Hokum Blues*. American Blues Scene hails Barnes as “a former Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, & Carol Burnett Show performer that has made his mark in the blues community.” Dubbed the “King Of Hokum Blues” this dynamic, high-energy performer has spent the better part of his life marrying his love of blues and humor, developing a truly unique sound. “skillful musicianship, well-written lyrics, sense of humor and captivating stage presence. Barnes’ ability to connect with the crowd and create a memorable experience for fans was truly extraordinary.” (Whit Hubner/Nashville Blues and Roots) In 2017 Barnes – under the moniker CHRIS ‘BADNEWS’ BARNES and backed by musicians featured on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien – he released his full-length 14 track masterpiece Hokum Blues. Two years later in 2019, Barnes collaborated with Grammy winning producer Tony Braunagel on his album LIVE which landed at #8 on the Billboard charts & #5 on Amazon. In 2021, Barnes released BadNews Rising produced by Nashville’s Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy..). Barnes has re-united with Hambridge for his forthcoming release, True Blues featuring special guests Jimmy Hall, Sugaray Rayford and Walter Trout.”

Review – Super strong Blues/Rock album. Guitar is strong through out with Kenny Greenberg shredding, the other band members includes Tom Hambridge on Drums, Tommy MacDonald on Bass, Mike Rojas on Keys, Max Abrams onn Sax, Steve Patrick on Trumpet and Tabitha Fair on Background Vocals. Guests musicians include Jimmy Hall on Harmonica on “Badnews Travels Fast” and ” A Bluesman Can’t Cry”, Sugaray Rayford on ‘You Right Baby” and Walter Trout on “True Blues”. A couple of the songs really fell short for me but the title song, “Badnew Travels Fast”, “His Majesty The Baby” and “Ambushed By The Blues” were some of my go to’s but I think my favorite on this CD is “Do The Houdini”,  listen here. I will give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.

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