New Blues Review 5-29-24

Curtis Salgado – Fine By Me (Little Village) 

Bio – “Salgado began his career leading The Nighthawks, based in Eugene, Oregon. He then joined forces with Robert Cray and sang and played harmonica in The Robert Cray Band for six years, including singing on Cray’s debut album, released in 1980. Salgado and Cray parted ways in 1982. Salgado went on to front Roomful of Blues, singing and touring with them from 1984 through 1986. Returning to Oregon, he formed Curtis Salgado & The Stilettos in 1991 on the JRS label. The band opened for The Steve Miller Band during the summer of 1992. In 1995, Curtis spent a short stint as the lead singer with the band Santana. In 1997, he and Portland guitarist Terry Robb toured with Miller to promote their album Hit It ‘n Quit It, including an appearance with Miller on the NBC television show Late Night with Conan O’Brien where Salgado and Robb performed their original composition “Bitter Tears.” He signed with Shanachie Records in 1999 and released four albums on that label, before signing with Chicago’s Alligator Records in 2012. Salgado was the inspiration behind John Belushi’s creation of the Blues Brothers characters in the late 1970s. They met and became friends while Belushi was in Eugene, Oregon filming the movie Animal House. The Blues Brother’s debut album Briefcase Full of Blues is dedicated to Salgado, and Cab Calloway’s character in The Blues Brothers film is named after Curtis.”

Review – Amazing album, I am surprised on how much I like this one. The more I listen to it the more I like it. All the originals are witty and well written like the first song, “My Girl’s A Nut” and “Under New Management”. Some great musicians guesting also on this album including Kid Anderson, Robert Cray on “I’m Gonna Forget About You”, the Morgan Brothers, Billy Watts, Anson Funderburgh, Jim Pugh and Fred Truijilo to name a few. Some other highlights are “You Give The Blues A Bad Name” and “Fine By Me”. I my favorite by far on this CD is “Hear The Lonely Hearts” with The Morgan Brothers on vocals, so good but could not find this online so here is a live performance by Curtis with “Fine By Me”,  listen here. I will give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.

Cass Clayton Band – Midnight In A Bottle (Self Produced) 

Bio – “Cass Clayton Band is a 6-piece, female-fronted band blending influences of funk, soul, jazz and contemporary influences. She was recently voted Colorado’s Favorite Female Vocalist of 2024 (Colorado Blues Society Members’ Choice Awards) and is known for her musical versatility. Cass and co-writer/producer, Taylor Scott, have a modern approach to songwriting, and they aim to continually innovate and provide unexpected twists for the audience. No two shows are ever the same, with the band effortlessly moving from funk, to rock to R&B, building the energy and dynamics. Their tight chemistry and high-energy stage presence has led to their evolution into one of the top female-led bands in the state.”

Review – Even though Cass has a great voice, the music just seemed unexciting to me. Everything is well written but the music is a little too poppy for me. I my favorite on this CD is “Catch The First Thing Smoking”,  listen here. I will give this an 8 on Blues Content and an 8 on Music Content.

Alastair Greene – Standing Out Loud (Ruf) 

Bio – “He was born in Santa Barbara, California, United States, and grew up intrigued by a combination of his mother’s piano playing, plus the diverse record collection owned by both of his parents. However, it was his grandfather, Alfred “Chico” Alvarez, once of Stan Kenton’s band in the 1940s and 1950s, who inspired Greene to pursue a musical career.  In his youth, Greene took piano and saxophone lessons, but found that learning to play the guitar allowed him to partly emulate the type of heavy rock music he was listening to at the time, and to play with other like-minded students. His path towards the blues was assisted by his father’s friend, who loaned Greene a few seminal blues recordings including B.B. King’s Live at the Regal, Buddy Guy’s A Man and the Blues, Johnny Winter’s Second Winter, The Allman Brothers Band’s At Fillmore East and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather. He formed a band and, a year later, relocated trying to obtain openings for their hard rock ensemble in the clubs in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Greene also played in a high school jazz band who undertook a competition in Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. He impressed a college representative sufficiently to obtain a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music. After a year studying at Santa Barbara City College, Greene was a pupil for two years at Berklee, although he did not graduate. Again through his father’s connections he managed to join a blues rock outfit, and then another one, where he took up singing as well as playing the guitar. By 1997, Greene compiled a band under his own name who opened for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, John Mayall, Lonnie Brooks, and Robin Trower. Work was sporadic and Greene had to obtain various day jobs to stay solvent. The experiences led Greene to recording his self-released debut album, A Little Wiser, which was issued in 2001. The collection comprised mainly Greene’s own compositions, but included his versions of the Muddy Waters song “Ramblin’ Mind” and Albert King’s “Love Too Strong”. A review for A Little Wiser stated that “Greene displays a monstrous ability for full-on blues-rock anthems. While some blues purists will no doubt chafe at his distorted Gibson bombast, those who prefer their blues amped up should be deafeningly pleased”. Greene followed this with a live album, before a chance encounter led him to meet Alan Parsons, who invited Greene to play on the album, A Valid Path (2004). In 2009, when Parson’s then guitarist, Godfrey Townsend, had scheduling conflicts, Greene played in Parson’s band on a tour of the West Coast, and the following year Greene became a full-time band member. After a European tour with Parsons, Greene accepted an invite to fill in with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas for several live commitments. The second concert Greene undertook with them was opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd in Florida.”

Review – Another great album from a guy I have never heard of but is definitely on my playlist. Trio with Alastair Green on guitar and vocals and either Todd Bolden or Mark Epstein on bass and either Adam Abrashoff or Kevin Hall on Drums. Over all I get a Kenny Wayne Shepard feel from Alastair in his singing and guitar work. All the songs are great and are worth a listen to but I my favorite even though I love them all is “Only Do” ,  listen here. I will give this a 10+ on Blues Content and a 10+ on Music Content.

Jeff Pitchell – Brown Eyed Blues (Deguello) 

Bio – “Blues Hall of Fame award winning guitarist Jeff Pitchell’s style blends B.B. King and Duane Allman, which was endorsed by Gregg Allman. His diverse songwriting catalog recalls the variety of Eric Clapton’s classics and his vocal delivery, which ranges from smooth tenderness to Billy Gibbons ZZ Top-like power, received high praise from J. Geils. His songwriting award winning “An Eye for an Eye” was recorded by British blues legend John Mayall. Pitchell’s Anthology collection covers decades of work including “Alone,” dedicated to his late friend who planned on opening up a blues club with him, being heartfelt blues with tasteful guitar accents. “Beautifully Broken” is a touching piano ballad. “American Way,” written for the James Woods film An American Girl, is a patriotic soldier tribute, perfect for Memorial Day and Veterans Day airplay. The guitar and organ blend on Pitchell’s version of “Soulshine” captures The Allman Brothers Band’s foundation on this Warren Haynes composition, with Michael Allman as guest vocalist. He turns a pair of 1970s Top 40 hits into logical blues songs, The Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “So into You” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” joined by saxophonist Charles Neville. A half-dozen songs from Pitchell’s Billboard Top 10 blues album Heavy Hitter are also included. “

Review – A nice Blues Mix in this album with almost a Charlie Sexton feel about the whole thing, some Rock Blues, but also some Piano Blues and some early Rock feel. Another album with a great list of guest musicians including Duane Betts, Charles Neville, Rick Derringer, Dave Mason, James Cotton, Michael Allman, Reese Wynans and Tome Hambridge! Some of my favorites are “Every Day with Reese Wynans on piano and organ, “Do Right Girl”, “Stay While The Night Is Young” and “Whiskey River” with James Cotton. I my favorite on this CD is “Now You Know”,  listen here. I will give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 10 on Music Content.”

Kid Andersen and Lisa Andersen – Spirits – Soul (Little Village) 

Bio – “By age 11, Andersen had gained the attention of Norwegian blues guitar teacher, Morten Omlid, who steered him towards traditional blues music. In 2001, at age 21, Andersen moved to the United States, joined blues frontman Terry Hanck’s band, and quickly became a figure on the West Coast blues scene. Andersen later played in Charlie Musselwhite’s band and got a Blues Music Award (formerly W.C. Handy Award) for best contemporary blues album for Charlie Musselwhite’s Delta Hardware. Then, when Little Charlie Baty retired from touring, Andersen took his place as guitarist in the Nightcats, and the new name of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats was formed. Andersen has also done extensive touring with Elvin Bishop on the Red Dog Speaks Tour. He is married to American Idol contestant Lisa Leuschner. They currently reside in San Jose, California where Andersen is CEO of Greaseland Studios. In 2013, Andersen was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the ‘Gibson Guitar’ category.  In 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2023 he was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the ‘Best Instrumentalist – Guitar’ category. In recent years, Andersen has gained a reputation of record producer using his own recording facility “Greaseland”. He produced the last two albums of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats: One Wrong Turn (2012) and Groovin’ in Greaseland (2017). In 2017, he also produced several albums including Stompin’ Ground from Tommy Castro. In 2019, he co-produced Junior Watson’s, album, Nothin’ to it But to Do It (which featured Andersen’s wife, Lisa, on lead vocals). Lisa Auschner Andersen is a singer, vocal coach, dancer and unconditional fan of Michael Jackson. She made her presence known nationally as a singer on “American Idol” and “Showtime at the Apollo” TV shows, which brought her a record contract and the release of two albums. After marrying Kid, both founded Greaseland Sudios and Lisa became the voice of the label, appearing as vocalist and backing vocalist on more than fifty albums recorded in the studio,  in addition to advising many of the artists who come through the studio on singing. Both have formed the perfect team for Greaseland to become the best prepared and most demanded recording studio for labels and blues musicians in the country.”

Review – Interesting album with on CD with Kid singing and producing most of the CD, then the Second CD had Lisa heading it all up. Lisa has an amazing voice, but the whole CD is not really Blues to me. Kid’s CD in this mix is more Blues Based but still not as much as he is recognized for. I think this was a reach for each of the artists. There is not much online yet as I think the album is not out for sale until August, but here is some live Kid Anderson that show’s his guitar skills in the blues,  listen here. I will give this an 8 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.



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