New Blues Review – 5-9-23

Nic Clark – Everybody’s Buddy (Little Village) – Nic Clark, now at a still very young age, has been on the radar of most Blues enthusiasts because his amazing mastery of the Harmonica and his gentle vocals. With this new release, “Everybody’s Buddy”, you can add song writing to his resume. Starting to play the harmonica at the age of 12, this musical prodigy got his first endorsement from Horner Harmonicas by the age of 14!! With Nic writing most of the songs on this album and Charlie Hunter on Guitar and Bass, George Sluppick on Drums, DaShawn Hickman on Pedal Steel and Wendy Hickman on background vocal, this newest CD has been getting some great reviews. Nic starts the album out with a great Jimmy Reed lick on “Laughing At The Rain” with some great vocals. “Hurricane” is a Keb Mo type tune with some great harmonica and a perfect drum beat to keep the song on edge. This Album is a mix of Country, Country Blues, Contemporary Blues and some Old Time Music. Nic’s smooth singing and mastery of the harmonica creates a great flowing album with a familiarity. I think my favorite on this one is the only cover on the CD of JB Lenoir’s “Good Advice” (which I couldn’t find, but here is a taste of Nic live that I hope you like), Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 9 for Blues and a 9 for music content.

Deuce ‘n a Quarter – keep Moving On (225 Entertainment) – Deuce ‘n a Quarter feels like a west coast Blues Band but is actually ,located on the east coast. Just returning from a stellar run at the International Blues Competition in Memphis where they made it to the finals where the Front man Brian Peters was awarded the Lee Oskar Best Harmonica Player award. The core players on this CD is Brian peters on Vocals/Harmonica, Keith Colbert on Rhythm/lead guitar, Adre Scott on Drums, Marting Brown on Bass and Time Dvorkin on keyboard. CD starts off with a jump swing blues tune “Swinging at the Blues” with some great harmonica and guitar, followed by a funky Blues “I’m Not Alone”. “Keep Moving On” is a slow Blues Ballad with some great harmonica through out, the song before that “Same Old Blue” seems misplaced on this album. “Sun Kissed Wheat” is a great acoustic song with resonator and harmonica and vocals, a great winner for this album. Another song that seems misplaced on this album is “Why”, but understood why it’s here. Brian lost his teenage daughter and this song was written for her, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 6 for Blues and a 6 for music content.

Jennifer Lyn & The Groove Revival – Gypsy Soul (J & R Collective) – First off if your going to the efforts of putting out a CD, please put more than 5 songs on the Album, total of 18 mins of music, REALLY? With that said, the music that is there is actually really good, Jennifer has a great voice, can play some mean guitar and the band is very tight and musically diverse. Definitely Blues/Rock with a 70’s feel with Jennifer Lyn on guitar/Vocals/Backing Vocals, Richard Torrance on Guitar/Backing Vocals, Barb Jiskra on Keys, Chris Addison on Bass and Jim Anderson on Drums. This will be an easy write up since there are only 5 songs!!! The CD starts off with the title song “Gypsy Soul” a true call and response tune with some great guitar and vocals. 2nd song on this huge library of music on this CD is “Low Down Dirty Shame” followed by “Going Round in Circles”, great tunes with nice guitar and songwriting. By the way Jennifer Lyn and Richard Torrance wrote all of the songs, yes all of the songs on this CD. Hard to believe that someone could write all of these songs, yes all 5 of them!! I actually like all the songs on this album, all five!! If you can make it all the way through this CD in one sitting (sarcasm), you will find my favorite “You Can Take It All”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 7 for Blues and a 7 for music content.

Backtrack Blues Band – A Day By The Bay (Self Produced) – Backtrack Blues Band has been playing as a group since 1980!! A great upbeat electric blues band with 5 very seasonal players has been a Tampa Bay favorite winning many local awards and sharing the stage with legends like  B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Gregg Allman, Robert Cray, Johnny Winter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and others. Sonny Charles on harp and vocals, Kid Royal on lead guitar, Wayne Sharp on B3 organ, Joe Bencomo on drums, and Stick Davis on bass creates a very tight and energetic blues band for sure. This latest CD is recorded live at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival last year with most songs written by Sonny or Kid Royal. There is some nice moments on this CD that you usually can only get on a live setting such as when Kid Royal stretches out his leads on “Make My Home in Florida”. I am not a huge fan of Sonny’s vocals but his overdriven harmonica is very tasteful as can be enjoyed on “Help Me Just This Time” and “Dixie Grill”. Lots of good stuff on this one, but if I have to pick a favorite, it would be “Times is Hard” with Kid Royal singing and killing it on guitar , Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 9 for Blues and a 9 for music content.

Savoy Brown – Blues All Around (Quatro Valley) – Savoy Brown was an English born blues band back in 1965, yes 1965 and still going. They started out as the Savoy Brown Band right in the middle of the 1960’s Blues Rock movement with Kim Simmons being the only constant member of the band throughout the tenure. Kim was the guitarist and songwriter of the band. Unfortunately, shortly after finishing this newest CD, Kim lost his battle with Cancer and you can hear the pain in much of the songs on this album. Kim has released too many albums to count over the years staying very consistent with his releases starting in 1967 to this last one in 2023. Much of the music here reminds me of that 60’s blues scene, gravely voice, strong overdriven guitar and straight up blues backing band. “Gypsy Healer” is a great standard blues from the 70’s, with great authentic song writing. “Texas Love” has that feeling that many Texas Blues guitarist over the years have produced. I think my favorite is that slide tune, “Hurting Spell”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 10 for Blues and an 8 for music content.

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