New Blues Review – 6-6-23

Skyla Burrell – Broken 45s (Self Produced) – Skyla Burrell with her strong soulful voice and her strict work ethics has kept her in the Blues Fan’s view since 2004. This is Skyla’s 6th full album released with 15 originals. Band consists of Skyla on vocals and Lead guitar, Mark Tomlinson on Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Ezell Jones on Drums and Charlie Hilbert on Bass. The CD is filled with straight ahead blues with great song writing and nice stops and very rehearsed turn arounds. Kind of reminds me of early Lou Ann Barton. Title song, “Broken 45s” has a nice Ballad feel that I could hear on Blues radio or Pop. “Love Drug”, is a straight ahead Blues Shuffle with some great stops and chorus. Some great music on this CD, Skyla has turned down record company offers and remain self produced and I expect this is why she is not as a common name in the Blues Genre as she deserves. She has had some success in writing and recording songs for a few Canadian TV shows. I think my favorite is “Voodoo Love” but I can’t find a video of that so here is “Broken 45s”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 9 for Blues and a 9 for music content.

Hudspeth & Taylor – Ridin’ The Blinds (Hudrone) – Ok, I think this is a Gem and I think you will too if you like redos of Pre War Blues. This is the magic that happens when you bring two super talented musicians together that have been on different paths during their career and things just click. Brandon Hudspeth has been playing guitar and singing since he was 12 years old. His band Levee Town’s release “Takin and Givin” charted on the Roots Music Report (#9 on the contemporary blues album chart, #10 on the contemporary blues song chart, #20 on the contemporary blues song chart, and #22 on the top 50 blues Album chart.) Levee Town represented the Kansas City Blues Society in the International Blues Competition twice, placing in the top ten in Memphis in 2009. He has played with many top notched Blues Artists including Tommy Castro, Ana Popovic, Chuck Rainey, Mike Zito, Watermelon Slim,  Randy Mcallister,  Lazy Lester, Clark Terry, Dustin Arbuckle, RJ Mischo, Larry McCray, Louisiana Red, Lee McBee, Big Bill Morganfield, Mud Morganfield, Bob Margolin, Albert Lee,  Kenny Neal, and Gary Nicholson among others. Jaissón Taylor has had a different road where he was part of the entertainment division in the Army and toured all over the world singing to the troops. He further polished his craft through festival and concert appearances with many artists like Bill Withers, Al Green, Tina Turner, Freddy King, Santana, Jean Luc Ponty, The Staple Singers, Scatband, and others through the 70’s and 80’s. Jaissón has now devoted part of his life to teaching music, African Culture, percussion to the youth in his area and now pursuing a degree in Music therapy. The two have now come together to put out what I think is one of the most authentic cover albums of prewar Blues since Cory Harris came out with his first two CDs. I love all the songs on this one but “Poor Boy A Long Way from Home” and “I Can’t Be Satisfied” are probably my favorites. Another favorite is “Write Me A Few More Lines”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 10 for Blues and a 10 for music content.

Skylar Rogers – Among The Insanity (Blue Heart) – Skylar Rogers, The Hard Headed Woman” has an amazing voice a real sass in her cadence in her singing. With WG Snuffy Walden and Billy Watts on guitar, Terry Wilson on Bass, Bennett Salvay on Keys, Brannen Temple on Drums and Darrel Leonard on Horns, Skylar has created a very sophisticated Blues album with all original music written by Skylar and Terry. All 12 songs are top notch and touch on many different flavors of Blues and Soul. Opening tune, “Love In The Left Lane” is a in your face Blues/Rock song that really showcases Skylar’s Voice. In contrast, “One Last Kiss” is a super slow, very cut down soft almost gospel like in the feel. Really shows the range of Skylar’s voice. I think my favorite is “Femininity”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one an 8 for Blues and a 7 for music content.

Sister Lucille – Tell The World (Blue Heart) – Sister or Kimberly Dill is an amazing Blues/Soul voice that has centered on that Memphis sound of the Blues. Dill wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on “Tell The World” with band guitarist and vocalist Jamie Holdren and put them down in the studio with the snapping rhythm section of Kevin Lyons on drums and percussion and Reed Smith Herron on bass. Special guests Chris Stephenson and Al Gamble on keys, Peter Climie on sax, Will Paladino on trumpet, Freedman Steorts on trombone, and Reba Russell on backup vocals help expand the four at the core. Opening and title song ‘Tell The World” is a horn driven, in your face song with some great guitar licks throughout. Followed by the ballad “Everytime I leave” showing Dill’s smooth clear voice in perfect pitch. “Why Not You” is a great slide guitar tune with Reba Russell singing backup. I really like this one but I think my favorite is “My Name is Lucille”, Listen Here. I think I will give this one a 8 for Blues and a 8 for music content.

Hurricane Dave and the Storm Chasers -Blooze Blowdown (SmokeTone) – Well this album has motivated me to create a new category of music award, Coaster Worthy. This is what happens when you bring together some decent musicians for just hanging out and not any real energy behind the music. Hurricane plays harp and is almost trying to develop a spoken word category for Blues, with Wayne Hammerstadt on electric guitar; Dewey Steele on drums and percussion; Dwight Thompson on bass; and Bryant Jones on keyboards. I’m not spending a lot of time writing on this one as I could barely get through it, I think I will give this one a 2 for Blues and a 2 for music content. Good Luck Hurricane!!

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